State education leaders continue making progress toward finding ‘missing’ students

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State educators are making progress toward finding thousands of “missing” students as schools were forced into virtual learning.

“Our main concern at PED and for the state in general is the basic wellbeing of our students and their families,” said Katrina Sandoval, deputy secretary of the State Public Education Department.

At one point, the PED estimated that more than 12,000 students were unaccounted for. That number has since dropped to about 2,700.

“For these 2,700 students, we have been unable to receive a response to any of our mailers, phone call— so our last strategy, our last resort if you will, is to go to their home,” Sandoval said.

But where are those missing students ending up? According to PED data, 26% enrolled in private schools, 23% moved out of state, 15% enrolled in public school, 7% started homeschooling, and 3% have dropped out.

As more schools move into a hybrid model, Sandoval hopes more students will be motivated to return to the classroom.

“We recognize that the pandemic has provided undue hardships for many of our families and our students, and we hope that this effort will remind families across New Mexico how important they are to us,” Sandoval said.