RISD struggles to keep students in school
ROSWELL, N.M. – Roswell Independent School District is trying to keep students on track. Getting those students back every day is a struggle for districts, including Roswell Independent Schools.
“During the 2023 legislative session, our legislators recognized school districts were having an issue with chronic absenteeism,” said Jennifer Cole, RISD assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Chronic absenteeism is when students are absent 10% or more of the days they are supposed to be in school. Cole says they’re trying to change that.
“One of the first things that we recognized is that chronic absenteeism is not just a district issue, it’s a community issue,” said Cole.
In May 2023, the district was granted $300,000.
“The first part of that funding is being spent on a community campaign, just educating our community, and getting the word out that it’s important for students to be in school. They’re not in school, they can’t learn,” said Cole.
The campaign is called U Matter. Families should see more of that later this month.
Another part of the funding will go into finding a way to get students to school safely, including addressing substance abuse issues and finding the root cause of why they’re not going to school.
“Is it because students are having to stay home and babysit younger siblings? Or is there some kind of a chronic health issue in the family, or perhaps there’s something happening at school, maybe there’s a bullying issue,” Cole said.
Another thing they plan to keep up with is their career exploration opportunities.
“We have partners in the community come in and talk to students about careers. Just kind of saturating them with so many opportunities to think about what their future could look like and start visualizing that, and really giving them that hook to keep them in school,” said Cole.