Let me explain. The kids play tackle football and their team won so many games, including 5 playoff games from teams in 3 states, that they won the right to represent the West in the Pop Warner ESPN-national championships held at Disneyworld the first week of Dec. So, still in November, we frantically sent email absence requests, following as best we could, the provisions on the Jordan Middle School attendance page, with the picture of Jennifer Schindler at top. I should add, that under the types of absences that would not be approved, there was nothing about sports-team achievement related requests. One week goes by: no response.
So, we sent a second request, this time to the attendance office, under the management of Karla Valenzuela. This time, we carefully placed "personal business absence request" to the subject line, and tried our best to follow the webpage instructions again. We added an attachment from the league's scholar's program, asking that the school's please assist the students and parents with getting homework assignments as there were mandatory computer lab time and curfews, etc., every day, under threat of team disqualification. Again, however no response.
Unfortunately, this was the pattern all year with Karla Valenzuela who made repeated attendance and absence mistakes for my son--accusing him of being absent from school when he wasn't. When we replied that he was there, perhaps only tardy for one class, etc., she only responded once with she would 'investigate'. When we asked to receive the results of her investigation, she never responded, so we assumed that she had silently corrected her mistakes.
Well, on the second day in Florida, THEN, we finally received a response from Ms. Valenzuela, along the lines of 'your student is absent, if this is a chronic problem...and so forth.' When we reminded her of our two requests one and two weeks prior, and her non-response, she replied only with 'I'm sure it's exciting to you, but the California Education board indicates that this trip is unexcused.' We emailed back again our questions for the reasons, then, our other son also in California schools, had been so easily approved for the same thing, etc., and received no response. However, the robo-templated absence emails stopped (despite Ms. Valenzuela's threat that they would not since they were automatic). So, again, without any other explanation or response, we assumed that as before (we resent the old emails back to her), she had silently self-corrected her mistakes.
Ahead now, to the Christmas break, and we received threatening truancy letters. So, we complain to Principle Royaltey-Quandt, retelling our problems receiving communications from Ms. Valenzuela. Although sounding very nice, she ended up sending us a one paragraph response right as school was resuming in January, that she fully supports all the work of Ms. Valenzuela, and the unexcused determination is automatically enforced by the California Education Code. She did not answer any of our questions, either.
So, we next consulted Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks, who would be, she told us, assisted by Chief Academic Officer of Secondary Education Sharon Ofek. This is interesting to me, because this site had a very nice discussion of Ms. Ofek earlier, especially the comments by PAUSD Parent and On Balance. The theme: she is a 'company woman' who will always support the mainstream status-quo, and by contrast, she will never seek to stand up for distressed individuals or help out with unique problems involving conflicts with parents, bullies, or other administrators.
So, with no surprise, going on 6 weeks after our Florida trip, we receive a 2-paragraph non-response from Principal Royaltey-Quandt, essentially just affirming the prior determination, that the California Education Code directs unexcused absences for us. She did at least belatedly congratulate my kids on their football success (on a team out of Palo Alto) and assure that my kids would not be punished. However, again, none of our questions were answered.
So...since we have come to a dead end, if anyone knows the answers to these questions, please respond.
1. Where in the California Education code does it direct that sports-team achievement based requests off, must be unexcused ?
2. Where on the Jordan Attendance Office webpage with the picture of Jennifer Schindler at the top, does it specify that sports-team achievement based requests off, cannot be considered as "personal business" requests?
3. Why wasn't the chronic problem with communication, including non-responses to parent emails about errors made by Jordan Middle School attendance office person Karla Valenzuela, considered worthy of response from the Principle of Jordan, or the Interim Superintendent, Ms. Hendricks? Must they by policy sweep such repeated errors under the rug and shout parents down for pointing them out, and if so, who is telling them to do that? The Union? PAUSD?
thanks for response.
p.s. of course, now I worry about the football team winning as many games next year and the same thing happening all over again...