A message on school grades from Supt. Reedy
The state Public Education Department released the grades on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Dear APS Students, Staff, Families and Neighbors:
If you’ve ever taken a test you felt sure you did well on, only to find out you didn’t, you know how Albuquerque Public Schools feels this week about the grades assigned to our schools by the state Public Education Department.
We are disappointed. We are frustrated. We know teachers are teaching and students are learning. Anyone who has ever spent any time in our classrooms and schools has witnessed this first-hand, as have I, time and time again. Yet, the state-assigned grade for many of our schools didn’t improve, and, for too many, it went down.
We can’t ignore these grades. They are how our state has chosen to measure public school progress. However, we also know that these grades are not a consummate reflection of what’s happening in our schools, nor are they truly representative of individual achievement, determination and grit.
There are some bright spots in the results released Wednesday. The grade improved for more than a dozen of our schools, including five middle schools – Ernie Pyle, Garfield, Harrison, James Monroe and Polk – and Rio Grande High. More than three dozen of our schools were assigned As and Bs, including Truman Middle School, one of the largest, most diverse middle schools in the state.
But we also must acknowledge that 17 of our schools saw a drop in their letter grade because fewer than 95 percent of their students took the state-mandated test. While we respect the rights of families to make decisions they feel are in the best interest of their children, we also recognize that opting out of test taking has a direct impact on school grades.
In addition, we need to take some time to better understand how the grades are calculated this year. We know the state changed some of its weights and measures, and as any good teacher knows, changing the way you come up with a grade often impacts the grade itself.
Like any good student who gets a disappointing grade, APS is not giving up, but instead is taking a hard look at what went wrong, seeking extra help, making changes. This comes in the form of the developing Academic Master Plan, a blueprint for reshaping education in the district. It means providing more resources and support for schools, especially struggling schools. It means shifting and adjusting our approach to education so that more of our students are academically successful and ultimately prepared to graduate and move on to higher education, prosperous careers and full lives.
Even as we conduct this self-evaluation and reassessment, we turn to our families and community for help. Parents, you know your children better than anyone. Let us know how we can best help and support them, then hold us accountable, making sure your children get the help they need.
And to our neighbors, continue to support your schools. Albuquerque Public Schools is a reflection of this community. We all need to come together to help pave a better path for our students.
Raquel Reedy, APS Superintendent