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Superintendent's News

Posted: November 12, 2021

Engaging Families

Supt. Elder writes about the important role families play in the education of their children.

In just over a week, APS teachers will meet with parents and guardians to talk about student progress. There will be conversations about student strengths, interests, behaviors, needs, and learning styles. Discussions will center on expectations, strategies, and next steps.

Most of these talks will occur in virtual meeting rooms as families work, take care of young children, travel, or visit friends and relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s just fine – technology prompted by the pandemic has made it easier for many more of our families to attend parent-teacher conferences over the past couple of years.

Parent-teacher conferences are an essential part of the learning process, no matter where or how they take place. Of course, they shouldn’t be the only time these conversations occur. We should engage with our families throughout the year. When we work in partnership, our students are more successful at school and in life.

Parents, stepparents, grandparents, and other guardians – they know our students best. They are the experts on their kids, and it only makes sense to consult them. And I don’t just mean teachers. All educators play a role in opening these lines of communications, whether at the bus stop or drop-off line, in the principal, counselor, or nurse’s office, in the hallway, cafeteria, or gym, before, during, and after school.

We are fortunate in this district to have many resources to help students and families. When we reach out to them, we get a better idea of who they are and what they need, allowing us to connect them to the appropriate resources. In that way, we create access and equity in our schools, a key pillar in the Albuquerque Public Schools Strategic Plan, as is family engagement. 

The APS Family Engagement Collaborative, which combines the efforts of several district departments with a lens on families, works to design and implement programs and projects to support this pillar. The nationally recognized Collaborative offers resources and training in various areas, including family engagement planning, poverty awareness, customer service, attendance, and more. Anyone looking for resources, tips, or more information can contact them by emailing Our Family Engagement team also put together a Family Engagement Tipsheet for APS Staff for me to share with you today.   

Families play a crucial role as we work to rebuild the norm. Reach out to them. Make them feel like they are part of the team, part of the solution. The payoff is well worth the effort. Thank you for making the effort and for all you do.