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Community Comes Together to Celebrate Chaparral Elementary

Posted September 29, 2023, 3:38 PM. Updated September 29, 2023, 3:38 PM.

School has decreased chronic absenteeism by 25%.

Several community organizations came together on Thursday morning to celebrate Chaparral Elementary and the work done at the school to decrease chronic absenteeism by 25%.

The city of Albuquerque, United Way of North Central New Mexico, and New Mexico PTA joined Albuquerque Public Schools in honoring Chaparral for reducing absenteeism and for a National PTA award it received earlier this year. National PTA named Chaparral a School of Excellence and presented it with the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Family-School Partnership Award of Merit.

Chaparral Principal Michelle Tudor noted that her school is working to increase attendance through family engagement, and it’s doing it with the help of school staff and community members. Sonya Lara, of United Way, said her organization’s Attendance Team Support group has been aiding school-based attendance teams regionally since 2015 and statewide since 2020.

“Having learning, teachers, and friends are what make me want to come to school,” said Chaparral Fifth-grader Journey Chavez.

While the event was held to celebrate Chaparral’s success, districtwide attendance also surfaced.

“When my son was having difficulties, having adults at the school who he knew he could go to, and who said, ‘Come whenever you can. You will always be welcome,’ made him feel more comfortable and accepted,” said Colleen Herst, the mother of an APS high school student.

“Having a friend or adult connection at the school makes students want to attend,” said Alondra Aguilera, a senior at Rio Grande High School.

The city also presented an executive order from Mayor Tim Keller proclaiming September to be Attendance Awareness Month.