For far too long, Albuquerque Public Schools has failed to prioritize student learning. Now, however, there are signs of progress and hope. The APS Board of Education has committed to creating a new strategic plan that puts students’ needs first. At NewMexicoKidsCAN, we applaud the efforts by the APS Board of Education to center the work of the district on improving student outcomes and we are eager to share our feedback with the board. Here is a summary of our primary feedback:
Improve Academic Outcomes
The largest school district in New Mexico should be the leader when it comes to student academic outcomes. We believe it is imperative that the district set aggressive yet attainable goals for reading and math proficiency. As an example, we believe that APS should set a goal to improve reading proficiency in the district by 15 points over the next 5 years. This is a goal that has been met by a handful of districts in the state including Gallup McKinley, Farmington, Gadsden and Hobbs, so we know it is possible.
Embrace and Expand Enrollment Choice
APS serves approximately 73,000 students and their families each year and each of those children and families have a unique set of needs and goals. One of the benefits of being such a large school district is that it provides the district the ability to provide multiple options in school models and schedules to its families. We urge the district to broaden the options available to families in the district by prioritizing collaboration with its charter and magnet schools, creating new school models and expanding its open enrollment policies. Every child in our city deserves access to a free public school that meets their needs.
Ensure Students Are Prepared for the Future
APS has an obligation to ensure that every graduate has the knowledge and skills they need to access a college or career pathway that prepares them to access a living wage job and unlock their full potential. Recent NAEP data show that only 17% of APS 8th graders were proficient in math last spring. It will take strategic and urgent action to ensure these children are supported to get back on track before they receive their diplomas 3 and a half years from now.
The success of our state’s largest school district is critical to the future of Albuquerque and New Mexico. Do not waste your opportunity to use your voice to shape the district’s future. Share your input on what you desire from the district by taking the online survey by December 9th. We can do this together. Now is the time for our district and our community to come together to create a brighter future for our state’s most important resource: our children.