January 31, 2005
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chavez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393

Public Education Department Awards Statewide Truancy Prevention Program Grants to 19 Schools

(Santa Fe, NM)--The State of New Mexico's Public Education Department (PED) awarded $334,005 to 19 schools as part of the Governor's Statewide Truancy Prevention Program. The purpose of the Governor's Statewide Truancy prevention Program is threefold:

· Decrease truancy rates;
· Decrease dropout rates;
· Increase attendance rates.

Secretary Veronica C. García said, “I am pleased that we will be able to provide additional financial support to districts in addressing the root causes of truancy. These funds will allow districts to provide much needed support. ”

Grants were awarded to schools that employed strategies that addressed the combination of factors that can affect a student’s absenteeism. Current research shows a more successful and long-term solution for reducing truancy must attack the root causes of truancy. The range of motivations for truancy include:

· Family challenges (sickness, alcoholism, drug abuse within the family)
· School climate (bullying, racism, sexism etc.)
· Language barriers
· Health and mental issues
· Academic problems

Successful programs will:

· Employ a Student Assistance Team to assist in matching the needs of the truant student with the appropriate services.
· Establish partnerships with parents and communities to address truancy issues
· Implement the new truancy laws of 2004, which require schools to maintain accurate monitoring and attendance records and provide clear guidelines for the attendance policy ensuring that parents and students are aware of the expectations for student’s attendance.
· Address the need for alternative education if the student faces an unsafe school setting, or requires credit recovery to assure academic success.
· Provide positive peer reinforcement rather than sanctions to improve attendance and school engagement.
· Promote family support programs that assist families in the role of creating academic success for their child.

The School Districts that received awards were as follows:

Aztec Municipal School District $20,000
Albuquerque Public Schools $40,000
Bernalillo Public Schools $20,000
Carlsbad Public Schools $ 6,000
Cuba High School $20,000
Central Consolidated Schools $20,000
Estancia Municipal Schools $20,000
Farmington Municipal Schools $20,000
Gadsden Independent School District $20,000
Jemez Valley Mountain School District $20,000
Jemez Valley Public Schools $20,000
Mesa Vista Consolidated School District $10,000
Nuestros Valores Charter School $20,000
Roswell Independent School District $20,000
Rio Rancho Public Schools $10,000
Raton Public Schools $20,000
Santa Fe Public Schools $20,000
Taos Charter School $ 8,005

For more information please contact Jennifer Chávez, Public Information Officer at jchavez@ped.state.nm.us.