Adopting a Community Schools Model in Albuquerque Public Schools

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) has developed a robust strategy to combat chronic absenteeism since the inception of the 2019 New Mexico Attendance for Success Act, which tasks districts and schools with creating attendance teams, mandating school wide Attendance Improvement Plans (AIPs) for every school and district, and ensuring that schools and districts engage all families experiencing chronic absenteeism to discern and to address root causes. APS has invested significant resources and human capital into attendance and has reduced chronic absenteeism, experiencing a drop from an all-time high of nearly 44% in 2021-22 to 38% in 2022-23 to 28% in 2023-24.

As the overarching transformational strategy driving this progress, the community schools strategy fosters collaboration among educators, families, students, and community partners to enhance student learning and well-being. Collaboratively led by the principal and community school coordinator, each school develops a shared vision and goals, builds trusting relationships and facilitates inclusive decision-making processes. By transforming schools into thriving community hubs, the strategy aims to engage students and families, promote academic excellence, and create meaningful opportunities for all.

As a result of this systematic and integrated approach, APS is able to tackle chronic absenteeism through coaching and support, partnerships with external organizations, professional development for staff, and data-driven decision-making, reinforcing the district’s proactive approach and collaborative efforts to improve attendance rates and student engagement.

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