History of the Kittyhawk

Posted in General School

AltaraAltara Elementary School opened in September of 1980. Getting the new school up and running and getting the PTA together was very exciting. Mr. Bill Nelson was the new Principal and Zanette Nordhoff was the PTA President. As a PTA, one of our first tasks was to find a logo for the school. We gave each child the opportunity to sumbit a drawing and a name they would like for their mascott. We chose 5 entries, including some that myself and other adults had submitted.

Entries included Altara Rams, Altara Bobcats, the Bears, etc. Since Alta High is just a few blocks east of Altara, we thought it would be fun to have the "Altara Kittyhawks" as our mascott. I submitted a rough draft of a kittyhawk which the school voted for as their favorite, hence the Kittyhawk was born. The first school t-shirt had the kittyhawk logo on it and was sold as the first fundraiser for the school's PTA. After three-plus decades, the kittyhawk is still part of the school and school spirit is as lively as ever.

Zanette Nordhoff, PTA President 1980-1983

Attendance Policy

Posted in General School

Canyons School District

Altara Elementary Attendance Plan

School-wide Attendance Goals:

Student Performance Goal:

Our Elementary school has 94.5 % of students On-Track for Attendance (attending 90% of the time or more) as of October 5. Our school’s CSIP goal is to have 90% of students On-Track for attendance by the end of the school year. To meet this end of the year goal,  we will need to maintain at least 85 – 90% attendance for the rest of the school year.

We will improve attendance by:

  • Focusing on increasing parental awareness about the importance of school attendance, arriving on time, and resources/supports available.
  • Rewarding students for good attendance with group contingency program.
  • Normalizing and learning from making and learning from mistakes.
  • Increasing engaging opportunities to respond through PlayWorks resources to increase academic and social engagement with the school.
  • Educating students about handwashing hygiene, and sneeze and cough procedures.
  • Educating parents about when to keep children home from school due to illness.

Analysis of School Attendance Data

The school attendance team which is also our PBIS team met, analyzed data, and developed a plan to encourage and maintain our attendance throughout the school year.

Attendance Leadership Plan

The school’s PBIS team (an off-shoot of the BLT) will monitor attendance data monthly. The secretary and the principal are the primary contacts for students who miss school.  Teachers and office staff will contact parents when their students begin missing school, meet with parents to discuss student attendance, and conduct interviews/home visits to identify barriers to regular attendance, and serves as a resource for other teachers and staff who are dealing with students who fail to attend class regularly.

Analysis of Data

The PBIS Team views attendance on Data Dashboard Mining and excusal slips. In addition, for any student who misses five or more days of school, the team collects additional data through interviews with the student and their parents.

The school’s attendance data indicate the following patterns that the attendance team intends to address:

  • Fridays and days boarding on holidays have the highest rates of absenteeism
  • Families take vacations during school time because it is more affordable to vacation on non-peak times.
  • Our most common reason for excused absences is because they are home sick. Many students are coming to school with fever and significant illness. This is corroborated by staff observations of students with runny noses as well as staff sick days.


The school will adopt a tiered series of notifications for students who are missing an increasing number of school days. The school will use a variety of communication measures (emails, letters, phone calls, and in person meetings) to connect with parents. The communications will occur as students miss two, five, seven, or ten days of school. The notification plan is found below:

# of days absent



Phone CallParent will receive a phone call from the school indicating that the student has missed two days of school. The caller will inquire if the student (using students name) is doing okay, express concern, and ask what the school can do to support the student making up work and not falling behind.


Phone Call and Letter/Email - Parent will receive a phone call and letter from the school explaining that the student has missed five days of school and reminding the parent of the importance of regular school attendance. The parent will be encouraged to meet with the son or daughters counselor to discuss attendance issues.


Phone Call, Certified Letter, and Meeting - Parent will receive a phone call from the school informing them that their son or daughter has missed seven days of school. A certified letter will be sent home from the school requiring that the parent meet with the schools principal to discuss supports that can be provided to facilitate improved attendance as part of an “attendance contract.”


Home/School Appointment – The school principal and counselor will conduct a home visit to the meet with the students parents, assess barriers to school attendance, and develop a plan to improve the students attendance.




  1. Information sent prior to school, back to school night, and in the school newsletter when data suggests families need a boost: Our school will provide parents and families with information about the importance of attendance.
  2. School-wide incentives to encourage students to strive for good attendance: randomized group contingencies. Random drawings for perfect and improved attendance. Posting of attendance on outside doors and in main hall.  Working toward community rewards.
  3. Professional Development for Teachers to address the problem of anxious students who feel worried about being teased if they answer incorrectly in class. Teachers will receive training on making the classroom a safe place to make mistakes, and to reframe mistake making as an opportunity for learning and growth. Teachers will be trained in the Morning Meetings and learn a variety of Opportunities to Respond that ensure student success (like offer pair-shares before random calling, and feedback sequences) rather than embarrassment.
  4. Healthy Hands Wellness Program to address student illness. We want students to use healthy hygiene preventative measures, such as washing hands and sneezing into elbows, and also to stay at home when they have fever, diarrhea, or significant nausea. We believe that contagion during flu season drives down attendance significantly. Consequently, during flu season (October to January), posters will be hung throughout the school reminding students of the importance of washing their hands and covering their coughs. Teachers will be provided with anti-bacterial hand wash for use in class rooms. A science or health lesson will be devoted to explaining how germs spread from hands and how this causes illnesses to begin. In addition, students and teachers will receive expectations on when students should be kept home from school due to illness.

Community and Legal Intervention


After parents have been notified three times, and attendance reaches excessive levels then the school will work with the district truancy specialist.  If attendance problems continue, parents will be referred to court.


Evaluation and Assessment

This plan will be evaluated at least three times per year at the end of every Trimester. The following data will be used in these evaluations:

  • Early Warnings data from Dashboard Trends. This will be used to evaluate trends in chronic absenteeism across groups.
  • Attendance data from Dashboard mining (including weekly and monthly attendance rates).
  • Number of parent notifications sent
  • Number of parental meetings held to discuss student attendance
  • Number of phone calls made
  • Number of Excused Absences attributable to illness
  1. After 4 unexcused or 8 guardian-excused absences or 10 tardies, the office makes a personal contact with the parents. Improved attendance is encouraged.
  2. After 6-8 unexcused or 12 guardian excused absences or 18-24 tardies, the principal sends Letter #1 home. Letter #1 tells the parent to call the school to discuss the child's attendance.
  3. After 9-12 unexcused or 16 guardian excused absences or 27-33 tardies, the Principal sends Letter #2 home. Letter #2 has an appointment time set up for the parent to come in and talk to the Principal about the student's absences.
  4. After 16 unexcused absences or 20 guardian excused absences or 45 tardies, Letter #3 is sent certified attendance and the case is referred to the Civil Rights Specialist for a Court Referral.

To excuse an absence, please call the office at 801-826-7675, preferably the morning of the absence, and bring a doctor's note whenever possible.

Unexcused Absence: The student is absent and the parent does not contact the school by 3 PM the day of the absence.
Guardian Excused Absence: The student is absent and the parent contacts the school by 3 PM the day of the absence. Guardian Excused Absences are not valid in court.
Excused Absence: The student is absent and a doctor's note is given to the school. Excused Absences are valid in court.
Tardy: The student is not in the classroom ready to learn when the 8:20 AM bell rings.
Educational Leave: Students may be granted up to 10 days of scheduled absences preapproved by the principal, work is collected from the teacher, completed, and turned in within a reasonable amount of time. Forms available in the office.