Taos Municipal Schools

The New Mexico Public Education Department updated its tally of unaccounted-for students in the public school system Friday (March 19), dropping the number to 2,522.

In November 2020, the NMPED announced more than 12,000 students were unaccounted for, defined as students enrolled in the spring semester, but not in the fall.

But in February, the department updated those numbers to 2,716 students, representing a 78 percent decrease from the original tally. The newest numbers build on the cross-agency effort to track down all unaccounted-for students.

The NMPED worked with the Early Childhood Education and Care Department; the Indian Affairs Department; the Office of African American Affairs; the Children, Youth and Families Department; the Human Services Department; and the Graduation Alliance.

The agencies worked with school districts, cross-referencing databases and making phone calls to families, and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department began making COVID-safe home visits to students in grades 8-12.

“We’re getting close, but the last ones are the hardest to reach,” said Katarina Sandoval, the Deputy Secretary of Academic Engagement and Student Success at the NMDEP who is leading the effort.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure that every student is accounted for, but we also have to consider the fact that they’ve possibly moved outside our systems,” said Sandoval in a statement.

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