top of page
Young actor



Attendance & Dismissal Policies

Attendance Policy

Ellington’s classes begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:55 p.m. In addition, all after-school rehearsals and performances are mandatory. Students are expected to be in their classes on time. Students are expected to attend all daily classes when school is in session, as attendance is taken each period. Regular school attendance is critical for academic success. We aim to ensure that every student attends school regularly and on time. Daily presence in school greatly impacts a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families can play a key role in ensuring students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life. We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But we also know that when students miss too much school—excused or unexcused—they can fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days in a school year.

Please remember if you are absent from school, to be excused parents/guardians must email;

The following reasons are classified as excused:


  •  Illness of the student (a doctor’s note is required for a student absent five or more cumulative days in a term);

  • Illness of a child, for parenting students (a doctor’s note for the student’s child is required when the student is absent five or more cumulative days in a term); 

  • Medical or dental appointments for the student;

  • Death in the student’s immediate family;

  • Exclusion by direction of the authorities of the District of Columbia, due to quarantine, contagious disease, infection, infestation, or other condition requiring separation from other students for medical or health reasons; 

  • Necessity for a student to attend a judicial or administrative proceeding, or court-ordered activity, as a party to the action or under subpoena;

  • Observance of a religious holiday.

  • Religious event celebration outside of a religious holiday (up to five cumulative days); ● Absences to allow students to visit their parent/guardian who is in the military, immediately before, during, or after deployment. 

  • College visits for students in grades 9-12 (up to three cumulative days); 

  • School visits for students in kindergarten through 8th grade (one day); 

  • Absences of expectant or parenting students for a time period specified by their doctor and any accommodations mandated by law; 

  • Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day; and 

  • An emergency or other circumstance approved by DCPS.

Dismissal Policies

Students must exit Ellington’s property promptly after school if not participating in any after-school activity, including tutoring or rehearsals with an instructor who is supervising the activity and is present. The school day is lengthy, and students need rest to maintain their optimum learning and performance levels. Parents/caregivers are responsible for picking up their children on time following dismissal or rehearsals. 

Students will be required to wait for their rides outside and will not have continued access to the building following dismissal. Students are not permitted to wait for their parents and/or rides inside the building. 

Early Dismissal

Because class participation factors into class grades, early dismissal should only occur in cases of extreme emergency or highly exceptional circumstances as absence will impact the class participation component of the grade. Late arrivals may have limited access to their lockers upon arrival.


Early dismissals must be emailed to

Chronic absences, truancy, or tardiness are serious problems and undermine a student’s ability to meet Ellington’s expectations and standards. Students with chronic unexcused attendance problems should expect that the school will take disciplinary action, which can include awarding a letter grade of “F.” *30 unexcused absences in 1 class, regardless of the term will result in an automatical fail. If a student is marked for more than five unexcused absences in three weeks (three tardies of any amount of time equal one absence), then that student will be required to attend a scheduled four-hour Saturday Intervention Detention (SID) to make up missed work and as a step within the school and DC Chapter 25 Municipal Regulations for attendance disciplinary action. Students who, for whatever reason, miss their SID session will incur additional consequences. For each class a student is tardy three times, that student will accrue one unexcused absence. Five or more unexcused absences per advisory in any class may result in the student receiving a grade of “FA” (failure due to absence) in that subject. Students who are absent for any reason, including performances, field trips, and extracurricular activities, must secure and complete all assignments, quizzes, and tests according to guidelines established by the respective teacher.

For more information, please contact the Attendance Counselor at

bottom of page