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NEWS RELEASE: Attendance conference focuses on building on strengths

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Attendance Conference New Release

Jeanette Brahl, Chief Communications Officer, 505-975-7557
Jessica Nojek, Mission: Graduate Executive Director, 202-236-3472

“Attendance for Success” law addressed; local best practices shared 

More than 80 school-based teams from across the state are registered to attend the Building on our Strengths Every Day Matters Attendance Conference. The conference, held annually during Attendance Awareness Month, is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.  

This year’s conference, hosted by Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and Mission: Graduate, United Way of Central New Mexico’s education initiative, provides a forum where successful attendance teams can share best practices in a range of topics including using incentives, analyzing school-wide attendance, and aligning school’s attendance support and early warning systems.  

A presentation by Katarina Sandoval of the New Mexico Public Education Department and Nick Costales of Children Youth and Families will begin the day.  

A workshop led by Kristine Meurer, APS executive director of the Student, Family, and Community Supports Division, (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) will examine the new Attendance for Success law and discuss how it differs from the previous law. The Attendance for Success Act recommends that the state shift its approach to school attendance from a focus on truancy to a more supportive approach that uses students’ chronic absenteeism as a key metric. UWCNM served as expert witness through the legislative process.  

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) students from Rio Grande High School will talk about a survey they presented to fellow students and the ideas about absenteeism that they concluded from the results, and Bernalillo High Schools will talk about their experiences with absenteeism and share perspectives.  

We’re building momentum in addressing attendance issues by using data and learning and sharing local best practices,” says Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s director of collective impact. “If students aren’t in class, teachers can’t teach. Our schools’ focus on attendance is helping to get students in the classroom more consistently. Learning best practices that can be easily replicated will give newer teams a jump start in achieving the same type of success.”   

According to Attendance Works, starting as early as kindergarten or even preschool, chronic absence predicts lower third grade reading scores, and by middle school, it’s a warning sign of students falling off track to graduation. Low-income students are four times more likely to be chronically absent than others, often for reasons beyond their control, such as unstable housing, unreliable transportation, and a lack of access to health care. 

The conference is part of a national effort to highlight Attendance Awareness Month which happens every year in September. 

Mission: Graduate is a cradle-to-career partnership consisting of educators, local employers, educational support providers, government leaders and citizens who are committed to a goal of 60,000 new graduates with college degrees and certificates in central New Mexico by 2020. Learn more at #60Kby2020 #EveryDayMatters19 

United Way of Central New Mexico, founded in 1934, serves a four-county region. UWCNM’s mission is to bring people and resources together to measurably improve lives and strengthen our communities. Learn more at