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APS Attendance Teams aim to reduce chronic absence

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Ten Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) schools are in the second year of improving student success through a focus on reducing chronic absenteeism. This is thanks in part to a Community Impact Grant from the United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) that provided for the hiring of an Attendance Assistance Team Coordinator.

This coordinator works with the 10 schools to develop attendance teams that are focused on targeted strategies to prevent and address attendance problems beginning at an early age.

During the first year, with the outreach, support, and coaching of the Attendance Assistance Team Coordinator, all 10 schools created Attendance Assistance Teams. Most of the schools also implemented school-wide incentive plans that included strategies to promote a culture of attendance, while using data to target interventions more effectively.

This year, in addition to their school-wide strategies, teams will conduct outreach and intervention to students showing signs of chronic absenteeism. APS will continue to support the teams as they continue to identify the core issues behind chronic absenteeism, and develop a comprehensive and integrated set of strategies to promote attendance and reduce absences. The goal is for participating schools to show a 10 percent reduction in chronically absent students from the baseline 2016-2017 school year measurement.

The power and scale of the Albuquerque Public Schools Attendance Team initiative is profound. It is the first time APS has attempted to reduce chronic absenteeism in such a comprehensive, strategic, and specific manner,” explains Angela Crespin, APS Attendance Assistance Team Coordinator. “What is impactful is that the Attendance Team Project is addressing the problem at the district and school levels, recognizing the complexity and multiple barriers of chronic absenteeism. Our hope is that it will serve as a model for other schools attempting to address this problem.

Next year, the team will continue the implementation of their plans, while adding new targeted strategies based on APS’s Tiered Approach to School Attendance.  This includes individualized outreach, support for schools, engagement to the community for resources, and sharing the message about the importance of student attendance.  The goal is to see reductions in the schools’ chronic absenteeism rates by another 10 percent in the second year.

Elementary schools participating are Alamosa, Chaparral, Dolores Gonzales, Edward Gonzales, Janet Kahn, Lavaland, Pajarito, Seven Bar, Valle Vista, and Whittier.

In 2016, UWCNM launched a new type of grant-making, designed to inspire collaborative, measurable solutions to our community’s most challenging issues. This project is one of seven Community Impact Grants launched in 2016-17 in the areas of youth behavioral health, adult transitions to college, summer learning, and attendance.

Learn more about Mission: Graduate’s attendance work.

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