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Board of Education District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 5:00 PM

Meeting Information and Documents:

  • Meeting Location:
    DeLayo Martin Community Room Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown NE
  • Meeting Notice: Posted on May 24, 2013 at 6:37 PM
  • Agenda Packet: Posted on March 24, 2014 at 3:01 AM
  • Minutes
  • Calendar import: vCal iCal

Additional Details

District and Community Relations Committee Meeting



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5:00 PM

DeLayo-Martin Community Room, Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown Blvd.NE

Albuquerque, New Mexico



Call to Order



Roll Call



Adoption of the March 26, 2014, District and Community Relations Committee Meeting Agenda, and Approval of the Revised January 7, 2014, District and Community Relations Committee Meeting Minutes, and the February 26, 2014, District and Community Relations Community Meeting Minutes (Discussion/Action)



Public Forum



Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SuperSAC) Report (Discussion)
Presenter: Joseph Escobedo, Chief of Staff



Discussion on Truancy Pilot Preliminary Findings (Discussion)
Presenter: Dr. Kristine Meurer, executive director, Student, Family, and Community Supports Division



Next District and Community Relations Committee Meeting



Wednesday, April 23, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., at the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex in the DeLayo-Martin Community Room.





Minutes of the District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

Board of Education

Albuquerque Public Schools


A District and Community Relations Committee meeting of the Board of Education (BOE) of Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) was held Wednesday, March 26, 2014, beginning at 5:00 p.m., in the DeLayo Martin Community Room, Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE.


I.          Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 5:02 p.m.

  1. A. Roll Call

Present:  Dr. Analee Maestas, Kathy Korte, Lorenzo Garcia, Steven Michael Quezada, Dr. Don Duran, and Dr. David Peercy

Absent:  Martin Esquivel

  1. B. Adoption of the March 26, 2014, District and Community Relations Committee Agenda and the Approval of the Revised January 7, 2014, District and Community Relations Committee Meeting Minutes, and the February 26, 2014, District and Community Relations Committee Meeting Minutes (Discussion/Action)

Chairwoman Kathy Korte asked for a motion to adopt the agenda and approve the January 7, 2014, and February 26, 2014, minutes.  Dr. Peercy moved for approval; Mr. Quezada seconded the motion; motion carried.


II.         Public Forum

There were no participants for public forum.


III.        Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SuperSAC) Report


Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo introduced SuperSAC student Jonathan Salazar from Atrisco Heritage Academy High School.

Topics discussed at the latest SuperSAC meeting included cost-saving measures for electricity in schools, raising teachers’ wages, lowering class sizes, removal of summer school, and the APS budget presentation.

Mr. Salazar shared that having large windows in the schools would be a help in the cost of electricity.  There is mixed opinion concerning the removal of summer school.  SuperSAC students are not generally among those who need it, but it is effective for those students who need to make up credits, need a smaller class size, or need one-on-one assistance.

Board members encouraged students to continue to write letters to the newspaper editor and tell their perspective on key issues.  SuperSAC students also are encouraged to recruit students to ensure there is representation from all of the schools.


IV.        Discussion on Truancy Pilot Preliminary Findings (Discussion)

As part of APS’ Board of Education Goal Three: Family and Community Engagement, Action Plan 13.0 – Engage families and community partners for truancy prevention and intervention, Dr. Kristine Meurer, executive director, Student, Family, and Community Supports shared that her department has conducted a truancy intervention pilot plan utilizing a wellness approach of early identification, intervention, and referral to community or school based programs.



State law defines truancy as follows:

  • ‘Habitual truant’ means a student who has accumulated the equivalent of 10 days or more of unexcused absences within a school year
  • ‘Student in need of early intervention’ means a student who has accumulated five unexcused absences within a school year
  • ‘Unexcused absence’ means an absence from school or classes for which the students does not have an allowable excuse pursuant to the Compulsory School Attendance Law or rules of the local school board or governing authority of charter school or private school.

Academic and life chances of students are greatly affected by truancy.  The district is required to maintain an attendance policy that provides for early identification and intervention strategies so that students over the long-term will not end up in the Juvenile Justice System.  Contributing causes for truancy include individual, relational, and structural challenges.

Three-year data shows that this is still a big issue for the district.  Statewide, there were 52,000 habitually truant students; APS has had an average of between 12,000 and 13,000.  High schools are making progress in reducing truancy.

Board members would like to see data specific to the economic impact of truant students, more specifically, what it costs in Medicaid, prison, etc.  Dr. Peter Winograd, director, Center for Education Policy Research has the data and will provide it.

Dr. Kristine Meurer, executive director, Student, Family, and Community Supports, described the Truancy Intervention Pilot Process:

  • Optional:  at two unexcused absences a call is made by SchoolMessenger with a customized message
  • At five unexcused absences, a live phone call is made to parent/guardian to determine the reason for absence, and how school can assist parent/guardian (results are documented and an intervention plan created)
  • Data is entered into a special screen in the school database
  • There is continued monitoring of student for attendance progress
  • If issues continue, a call or home visit is made to dialogue with parents about the importance of attendance, discuss the risk student faces, and inform of next steps if absences do not improve
  • If student reaches 10 unexcused absences, parents are notified and a school administrator calls for a meeting with parent, student, and staff to review intervention plan and develop additional interventions if needed.  Parent and student sign an attendance contract.  Parent is informed that continued unexcused absences may lead to referral for Juvenile Probation Office (JPO) intervention
  • If student exceeds 10 unexcused absences, school notifies parent and may make a referral for JPO intervention using all accumulated documentation.  Truancy advisor assists school in contacting parent regarding the JPO referral.

APS has an agreement with the City of Albuquerque’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program to increase capacity to assist the schools and the district in addressing truancy issues.  UNM work study students also have assisted in the APS truancy initiative.

The Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR), University of New Mexico (UNM) has partnered with the APS’ Student, Family and Community Supports Division to evaluate the pilot.  Schools volunteered to participate.  Dr. Meurer and Dr. Peter Winograd, director, Center for Education Policy Research at UNM shared preliminary findings at the pilot schools for the 2013-14 school year:

  • Apache Elementary School – four students
  • Atrisco Heritage Academy High School – 35 students
  • Dolores Gonzales Elementary School – 12 students
  • Emerson Elementary School – three students
  • Garfield Middle School – 28 students
  • Hodgin Elementary School – 39 students
  • Kennedy Middle School – three students
  • Los Padillas Elementary School – two students
  • Ventana Ranch Elementary School – 21 students
  • Washington Middle School – 20 students
  • West Mesa High School – 87 students
  • Wilson Middle School – 29 students.

Overarching findings show:

  • A lack of key personnel who can focus effectively on reducing truancy
  • Inconsistent, district-wide process for parents to use to excuse their children
  • Inconsistency in how students are processed and tracked when they withdraw, disenroll, and transfer to other schools
  • Students referred to in-school suspension are sometimes counted absent due to the lack of a system to track their attendance
  • The 10-day habitual truancy notice needs to be updated so that APS can be more pro-active in its interventions
  • A system is needed that can gather all the information necessary for effective intervention
  • Contact information for parents/guardians is not updated on an on-going basis
  • Parents are often not at home, will not answer phones, or do not have access to the internet or telephones
  • Personalized phone calls (vs. robo-calls) at five unexcused absences appear to be more effective in preventing further unexcused absences
  • There is a lack of school choices and a need for more flexible schedules for some students, particularly middle school students.

Comparison of averages of absences at pilot schools for 40th, 80th, 120th day, and end of year data will be a good indicator of effectiveness where interventions have been put into place.  Indicators to watch for in students are low school grades, truancy, and behavior.  Communication with families about options plays a big role to rectifying this behavior.

While there have been success stories, there is still a need to determine how many truancy intervention contacts that students participating in the pilot received in order to better determine if the pilot program is making a difference.

Recommendations for the future include:

  • Phase in the truancy modified case management approach to all schools over the next three years (cost is estimated at $343,177 to add five social workers in fiscal year (FY) 2015 (beginning at schools with the highest rates of truancy); $1,029,519 to hire an additional 10 social workers in FY 2016; and $2,059,029 to hire an additional 15 social workers in FY 2017 for a total of 30 social workers.  This would allow for one social worker per five schools (counselors with case management capacity could also serve in this role)
  • Expand the number of mental health providers (e.g., social workers) who can work with regular education students
  • Develop and implement a single district-wide process for parents to excuse students
  • Expand schools of choice options aimed at reducing truancy
  • Update the 10-day habitual truancy notice
  • Update the truancy intervention pilot forms
  • Develop and implement a system for schools to update contact information for parent/guardians on an on-going basis
  • Provide personalized outreach to the families of students, who are truant starting before they reach 10 unexcused absences
  • Conduct home visits for truant students
  • Equip school, district, and/or community-based outreach workers with information on resources for student and families
  • Develop partnerships with city, county, and businesses to help prevent truancy
  • Prepare school staff to welcome back students who have been chronically truant
  • Implement a district-wide system that allows the school to accurately track alternative education setting student attendance
  • Improve access to real time analyses of data related to truancy so that APS staff can intervene more effectively
  • School staff should be trained to be able to utilize SchoolMessenger to its full capacity
  • Strengthen APS’ parent engagement to help parents/guardians understand the importance of attendance.

APS Leadership discussed who can take on these recommendations.

District and Community Relations Committee members expressed the following with respect to the truancy issue:

  • Sustaining the effort
  • Scaling this effort to a schools specific needs
  • The importance of early intervention
  • Need data more specific to causes to know what areas need attention
  • Continue to improve community collaboration to provide more services
  • Communicating to public agencies the need for mental health support
  • Ensuring that policies do not push students out rather than help them
  • Look at absences versus truancies
  • Look at whether excused absences are higher at testing times
  • Have regular updates as data comes in.

The pilot has shown that the modified case management and triage approaches work, but require a long-term, consistent commitment from the district.  Truancy is a multi-faceted, complex problem; every grade is unique.  Discussion clarified that a social worker would primarily focus on assessments and intervention plans.  In terms of adding more services, there is a shortage of providers and issues with being able to pay them.  Community outreach will continue to improve these options.


V.         Next District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

Chairwoman Korte announced that the next District and Community Relations Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 5:00 p.m., at the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex in the DeLayo Martin Community Room.  Starting in May, the meetings will move to Tuesdays.


VI.        Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 6:13 p.m.