Blog Article

Gutierrez, O’Malley Recognized for Leadership

February 6, 2015

Two of our strongest allies — Sandra Gutierrez of Abriendo Puertas and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley — were among five California leaders recognized this week by the James Irvine Foundation. In their own ways, both Gutierrez and O’Malley are helping us translate our attendance message to a broader audience.

Gutierrez is founder and national director  of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors,  a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to engaging Latino families in their children’s education. She has built attendance into her messaging and lesson plans for parents with children from birth to age 5. She has also helped us brainstorm strategies for reaching Latino communities and has translated many of Attendance Works posters, infographics and sample letters into Spanish.

She tells the Irvine Foundation: “We can create better outcomes for our kids by engaging parents. Students, schools and society gain when parents can be strong partners in education.”

O’Malley has been Alameda County District Attorney since 2009. While the Irvine Foundation recognized her for her efforts prosecuting human traffiicking cases in the Bay area, our work with O’Malley’s office has centered on changing the approach to truancy and chronic absence. Her office is an integral part of the Every Day Counts! initiative in Oakland and has posted a web page offering a wide array of resources to promote better school attendance.  Her office partnered with the Oakland Unified School District.

Attendance Works and an array of community partners to provide an attendance messaging toolkit that was widely distribute to principals at all of the district’s elementary schools. For students who require more intensive action, O’Malley and her staff have ensured that Alameda runs a model truancy court that significantly improves their attendance by combining  provision of needed health and social supports with the authority of the judicial system and a juvenile judge versed in the nuances of working with students  and families.

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