2020-2021 Attendance Accounting as per CDE Instructions
  • 06 Oct 2020
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2020-2021 Attendance Accounting as per CDE Instructions

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Article Summary

2020-2021 Attendance Accounting as per CDE Instructions

On August 24, 2020 the School Fiscal Services Division of the California Department of Education (CDE) conducted a webinar concerning attendance accounting for the 2020-2021 school year.  The SchoolWise implementation of these changes is described in this document and is based on a PDF file released by CDE entitled “Weekly Engagement Template.pdf”.  The instructions in the template read:


Each LEA shall ensure that a weekly engagement record is completed for each student documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning, verifying daily participation, and tracking assignments (EC Section 43504(e)).


Weekly Assignments 

The chart below is presented as an example of the weekly assignments record: 


Schools may maintain these weekly logs in a spreadsheet or use the following implementation provided by SchoolWise.  


We are suggesting using our web-based Standards Grading system as a vehicle allowing data input for the weekly log which will be printed as a report. For details on setting this up in the system please refer to School Year 2020-2021 Distance Attendance Accounting Technical Setup.  The form below gives an overview of how teachers would enter data for the weekly log: 



This is a weekly log of daily work assigned for a particular class.   This example is only showing Monday and Tuesday but it scrolls to the right displaying columns for Monday through Friday. In elementary schools this could be for just one self-contained class.   In middle and high schools this could be for each separate subject.


Instruction Methods: 

  • In-Person Instruction means that the instruction occurred at the school site.  Don't fill this in for distance learning - ONLY if the student is physically at school.
  • Video or Online Synchronous Instruction/Assignment means two-way (synchronous) communication between the teachers and the students.  Typically this means a Zoom meeting although some teachers speak to parents of young children on the telephone daily.
  • Asynchronous Instruction means independent work performed by the student.  Typically this would be completing an assignment independently and submitting it either on line (Google Classroom or some other method) or somehow presenting evidence of completion to the teacher.


These methods of instruction can be full day or partial day.  To indicate a full day utilizing one of the instruction methods listed above the teacher enters a value of 2 in the score box.  A partial day would be entered as a value of 1.  In elementary schools the day might begin with a Zoom meeting and then assignments might be given to the students.  In this case values of 1 Partial Day would be entered in both Video or Online Synchronous Instruction/Assignment and Asynchronous Instruction.  The values of 1 or 2 must be used.  Letters or any other codes will not work.


Setting Up the Weekly Logs 

The good news is that his only has to be done once a week.  When teachers log into the online gradebook they see a list of all of their classes: 


Standards based gradebooks are accessed by clicking on the building blocks.  In this example the log has been set up for the Grade 4 attendance class.


Once Standards Based Gradebook opens, click on the Assessments button and then Add New Class Assessment


The following form opens:


Name the assessment.  Suggestion for each recurring week (Name should end with 'Engagement Log):  

  • Week 01 Engagement Log,
  • Week 02 Engagement Log, 
  • Week 03 Engagement Log, etc.


The assessment date must fall within the week of the engagement log. It should be a Monday (or if a holiday falls on Monday, use a Tuesday date).  The report will produce weird results if you enter a date that doesn't fall within the week that applies to the assessment.


Check Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (scroll down to check Thursday and Friday.



Click Save. The form opens to fill in the values for each day.


More good news:  You only have to fill in the values for one student (unless CDE changes the rules again).   This form is good for the entire class for the entire week so we only need one student.  Typically for elementary schools you would have partial day (1) in Video or Online Synchronous Instruction/Assignment and partial day (1) in Asynchronous Instruction.


Entering Notes 

Notes can be entered by clicking on the icons shown below.  


Below is an example of notes provided by CDE.  Keep the notes short as in the example  A maximum of 7 lines will display in each day's box. 


When done click Close


Printing the Weekly Engagement Log

In the Standards gradebook click on the Class Printer button and then More Class Reports. 

Expand Roster Reports and then click on Weekly Engagement Learning Log.

Click View Report at the top of the page.

Set the parameter to the correct class.

Then click Submit.

Recording Daily Attendance

Distance learning has shifted the bulk of attendance recording (including assigning reasons) to teachers since they have contact with the students and know what the assignments are. Teachers access attendance in the same way as before by logging into their SchoolWise Online Portal and clicking on the Attend clipboard for their homeroom (Day) ADA class as shown below: 


This opens up the teacher attendance form.


Teacher Attendance Web Interface

The attendance form interface is based on how the school calendar was established in SchoolWise Desktop (see separate administrative setup document). 

Distance Learning

Engaged or Unengaged are the two attendance choices for Distance Learning. The attendance choice selection is indicated on screen by Engaged or Unengaged. 

  1. By default Not Set Yet means the teacher hasn't taken attendance yet.
  2. Engaged - means the student is considered Present for the day, participating in the lessons.
  3. Unengaged means the student did not participate in the day's lessons.  There are excused and unexcused reasons.


New Distance Learning Attendance Features

This is very different from how it was before.  Previously teachers only marked students Absent or Tardy and then the office managers were responsible for assigning reasons which they received from parents.  With distance learning students are no longer Absent or Present; they are Engaged or Unengaged.


Please note: In distance learning every student must be marked Engaged or Unengaged every day.  Failure to do this could result in audit exceptions.



Walk Through For Distance Learning Attendance Recording 

1. If a student is on task and is to receive credit for the day click Engaged



 2. Click in the main Reason/Activity drop down menu. Choose a reason why the student is Engaged and optionally you can use the minutes and notes fields for additional details. Keep in mind the notes field is for short notes, not paragraphs. Minutes and notes are optional. 


The most common reason will be  Contact and Work Submitted as it accounts for both a Zoom meeting and each student completing one or more independent assignments


3. If a student is UnEngaged the list of reasons changes: 



On Monday, August 24, 2020 the School Fiscal Services Division of the California Department of Education (CDE) conducted a webinar concerning attendance accounting for the 2020-2021 school year.  In that meeting they changed some of the reporting codes.  Below is a screen shot of what they want the Daily Participation log to look like: 



Below is their legend:

  • 100 – No Participation/Absent; 
  • 200 – In-Person Instruction; 
  • 300 – Student or Parent/Guardian Contact; 
  • 400 – Assigned Work Submitted / Assessment Completed; 
  • 500 – Other


100 – No Participation/Absent is what we call (based on previous input from auditors) Unengaged (for distance learning) or Absent (for students expected to be physically on campus).  Truancy tracking is still required.  The chart below shows the Excused and Unexcused reasons for unengaged/absent.  Important: Each of the reasons is prefaced with DU (Distance Unengaged) or DE (Distance Engaged).  DU (Distance Unengaged) reasons are excused or unexcused.






Covid related w/student or Family




No Device, No Internet, Device Broken




Social/Home/Behavior support needed




Student confirmed sick




Doctor Appt, Admin Excused, Personal




No Contact / No Response




Parent/Student refuses to participate




No participation / no work turned in



200 – In-Person Instruction will be determined by mixed attendance or regular on campus attendance.  If you are currently only doing distance learning, you can ignore this for now. If a student is physically present the report will have the 200 box checked. If no attendance is entered, it is calculated as a 'Present'.


300 – Student or Parent/Guardian Contact  This typically would be a Zoom meeting or a telephone contact with a parent/guardian.   If the teacher chooses the following, the report will have the 300 box checked.






Video Conference/Meeting




Telephone Call




Contact & Work Submitted

300 & 400


400 – Assigned Work Submitted / Assessment Completed  This means that the student completed an assignment verified by the teacher.






Submitted Assignment




Demonstrated Progress




Google Classroom Work




Contact & Work Submitted

300 & 400


500 – Other  No explanation given from CDE. This will be checked if no reason is given for Unengaged attendance.









The instructions from CDE indicate that multiple boxes can be checked. Not all the combinations make sense i.e. absent/unengaged (100) cannot be used with any of the others. The most common combination by far will be 300 (Zoom meeting) & 400 (independent assignment turned in).  When the reason DE-Cont&Work is selected, the report will have both the 300 and 400 boxes checked.

Mixed Learning 

Mixed Learning occurs when some students are on campus and some students are distance learning. In that case attendance is a mixture of Present, Absent, Tardy, Engaged or Unengaged depending on if the student is on campus or at home. There are four possible attendance choices when using the Mixed Learning Calendar Day Type is used. 

The attendance choice selection is indicated on screen in a Bold White font. In the chart below, the Notes column describes each attendance choice available: 


Regular Day 

Below is an example of the possible attendance choices when the calendar is set to Regular Day when students can only be physically on campus (post Covid). The attendance choice selection is indicated on screen by Abs (Absent) or Pres (Present). The following chart describes each attendance choice available: 

Locking Attendance Records 

After teachers complete their attendance for the day they need to indicate that fact by toggling the Attendance Not Taken button to Attendance Taken.  Clicking the button reverses its status. https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.freshdesk.com/data/helpdesk/attachments/production/48055259624/original/JRbBkFZTVVhE-cTe-TSe9DnSPKhr4Drh1A.png?1598053017




This flags the attendance system in the office as to the status of teacher attendance.




School office personnel can click on the Taken button and toggle it four ways:


When it is set to Complete or Needs Review in the office it locks the teachers' attendance form. 


It can be unlocked by having office personnel set the status back to Not Taken


Your School Policy determines the conditions that attendance should be locked. You should consider such questions as: 

  • When should it be locked?  Auditors will insist on locking at some point.
  • How long do students have to complete assignments?
  • When are uncompleted assignments considered Unengaged/Unexcused?
  • Since three Unengaged/Unexcused days in one week constitute truancy when is the cut off for determining Engaged,  Unengaged/Excused or Unengaged/Unexcused?


Recording Attendance in the Office 

The office PC can still record attendance as in the past: 





Some school do not have the teacher web interface and will need to record attendance this way.  The office can edit attendance and is ultimately responsible for locking and unlocking the attendance forms for the teachers.

We have the Weekly Engagement Daily Participation report in place.  The following is an explanation of how to print or view it:


In SchoolWise Desktop open the Report Explorer. 


Open the Attendance Category. 


Scroll to the bottom of the Attendance category and choose Weekly Engagement Daily Participation Sec C NoExc (exceptions and cuts for Period 0H are not calculated). 


Set the date to a Monday and run the report: 


The following is an example of the report.

 We will be updating these articles frequently.