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News from the Superintendent: August 19, 2008
August 18, 2008
Dear APS Community Member,
I hope you had a safe and productive first week of school. It’s often difficult to get back in the swing of things after taking the summer off, but from what I’ve seen so far, students and school staff rebound quickly around here.
Even though I visited Albuquerque a handful of times before school let out last spring, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this new district I’ve moved into. Let me just say how impressed I have been by what I’ve seen. I visited four schools on the first day of classes and I felt the excitement of students and staff. Again, thanks to all of you for being prepared to start the new year. You all hit the ground running and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Keep it up; we have a lot of work to do this year and I’m looking forward to all that we can accomplish.
That brings me to the first of the eight goals that the district needs to meet. In order to fulfill our mission and top priority of educating students, we must develop and implement a three-year academic plan that includes measurable targets. My plan is to improve student proficiency by 9 percent over that time period. Taking a look at the AYP reports that were released two weeks ago, many schools achieved a 3 percent or better improvement in reading and math scores from the year before. In fact, 48 schools raised their scores by five percentage points or more. That is something to celebrate!
So how do we continue the upward trend of student achievement? We focus on reading and math and providing a consistent curriculum. We have something of a mobile student body, and we need to avoid the frustration of starting from scratch for both students and teachers by having everyone on the same page as much as possible across the district. The long-term effect will be the narrowing of the achievement gap as students across the district receive the same education from the same resources.
We need to make sure that students are in class, on time, every day. This is where parents and the schools work together. I encourage all of you to make sure you are familiar with ParentLink and use it regularly. When parents are informed and can make sure to get their children to class, the process of learning can continue. That, in turn, should improve student achievement and, down the road, increase graduation rates.
So, now you know the first of the district’s eight Essential Goals Toward Better Education: improve student proficiency by 9 percent over three years; narrow the achievement gap; increase graduation rates; and improve attendance and truancy rates. I plan to provide regular reports to the Board of Education on our progress.
This is an ambitious, but achievable, measure of where we can go as a district. We owe it to the students to continue to push them to succeed through the drive and passion that I know already exist. I’ve seen for myself that the students are eager to learn.
I’ve said it publicly and I will say it to you. I truly believe we have the right team of dedicated professionals in place to make this happen. Let’s get to it!
Have a great week.
Winston Brooks, Superintendent
Albuquerque Public Schools