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Superintendent's News

Posted: October 14, 2022

Customer Care: A Message from Supt. Elder

In his weekly message to employees, APS Superintendent Scott Elder writes about ways to help students and families find the right fit.

Have you completed your annual training yet? You know, those online courses covering a slew of topics such as discrimination awareness, email and messaging safety, sexual harassment, and – everyone's favorite – bloodborne pathogens.

I bring this up because one of the course topics is customer service, which reminds employees that every customer should be:

  • Made to feel welcome
  • Made to feel important and valued
  • Listened to 
  • Kept informed
  • Made to feel secure and confident 

And who are the customers of Albuquerque Public Schools? Our students, of course. And their families.  

Are we treating our students like valued customers? Are we making them feel important, secure, and confident? Do their families feel welcome in our schools and offices? Are we listening to them, keeping them informed? 

For the most part, I'm sure we are. I have witnessed first-hand the top-notch care, support, and attentiveness of teachers in classrooms, secretaries and principals in school offices, staff on and off campuses. 

But when we fall short, we risk losing precious customers, just like any business would. In our case, that loss takes the form of lower enrollment.

Enrollment in Albuquerque Public Schools has been on the decline for more than a decade. During the 2009-2010 school year, the district had more than 92,000 students. By last school year, that number had fallen to 73,000, a 20 percent drop.

We recognize many factors contribute to this decline, including lower birth rates, stagnant economic growth, and the pandemic. 

We also acknowledge that we have lost some of our students to competitors, including charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling.

So, what can we do to win back former students, attract new ones, and ensure we keep the ones we have? 

One way is to invite them to engage with us in a welcoming environment where we can listen to their needs, show them all we have to offer, and help them find what works for them. 

That's the purpose of the annual APS School Choice Fair, which will feature APS magnet and charter schools on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

That same week, we are also hosting several school community showcases where families can learn more about their neighborhood elementary, middle, and high schools. 

Education is personal. It needs to be responsive to the needs of the individual. Sometimes that requires new programs, classes, activities, pathways, support systems, maybe even schools. The Choice Fair and school community showcases will help students and families explore these options to find the right fit.  

Thanks to everyone ahead of time for participating in these events. And thanks for providing quality customer care.