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Strategies that increase attendance shared at conference

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Attendance Conference Carlos Rey presenters

Almost 200 attendance team members representing 55 schools participated in the 2019 Every Day Matters Attendance Follow up Conference recently.

The conference objective was to help school-based teams learn about the strategies employed by schools in our central New Mexico region.

After a welcome by APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy, participants got insights on how families prepare for the school day through a parent panel discussion.

Parents talked about the importance of having a “night before” and morning routine to help make their mornings easier. Good communications with a child’s teacher is also essential they told attendees.

The rest of the day was centered on teams sharing their best practices and learning used to increase attendance and time for team members to coordinate with each other.

We’re pleased to see the increase in the number of attendance teams since we started our work a few years ago. It shows our community’s commitment to increasing attendance as a strategy that leads to higher graduation rates,” says Teri Wimborne, Mission: Graduate’s Director of Collective Impact and conference coordinator. “Some schools are already starting to see the positive impact that attendance teams can make.”

One of the principles adopted by all teams is using chronic absence as a common measure. Chronic absence is tied to missing 18 or more days of school – or just two days a month – for any reason. This is in contrast to the truancy model, which only focuses on unexcused absences.

I liked the round robin where I went to the different tables and was able to get ideas that I can share with the staff at Santo Domingo,” said Josette Lopez, a middle school teacher and attendance team member at Santo Domingo Elementary and Middle School.

Some of the strategies moving the needle include:

  • Rio Grande High School combined their Early Warning System and their Attendance teams
  • Freedom High School has increased opportunities for parent engagement
  • At Moriarty-Edgewood School District, all school personnel are trauma informed to better meet the needs of students.
  • Carlos Ray Elementary School’s Attendance Team uses data to identify students who may be in need of interventions.
  • Seniors are helping freshmen stay on track through a mentoring program at Highland High School.
  • Washington Middle School held a retreat for students who were chronically absent.
  • The Hayes Middle School Attendance Team is holding interventions with chronically absent students. Bernalillo Middle School is teaming up with parents at conferences in which they brainstorm ideas for solutions to the barriers that are keeping the students from attending school.
  • Hawthorne Elementary School’s Attendance Team is working with Community Schools
  • E.G. Ross Elementary School is building a school-wide culture of attendance.
  • The Polk Middle School Attendance Team works together to look at what’s working and what new and innovative ideas might increase student attendance and engagement.
  • Del Norte High School has created a model of advisors as mentors so that students and their parents develop communication and trust with a person at the school that they can work with if attendance issues arise.
  • Grant Middle School developed a student survey about truancy and attendance barriers and are using the data to create interventions.

APS, BPS, Belen, Moriarty-Edgewood, Roswell and local charters all sent representatives.

Every Day Matters Attendance Conferences are held annually and provide high level school-based attendance team support. Follow up conferences provide more specific support for school teams and address specific issues that school team surveys bring to the forefront.