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Posted: October 10, 2017

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News from the Superintendent

Sweet, Gentle Diagnosis

In her weekly message to employees, Supt. Reedy sings the praises of diagnosticians and others who assess, diagnose and work with children with learning problems.

I keep thinking about the stuffed Pooh Bear draped in a strand of pearls atop a shelf in Carla Arnold’s office at the newly opened Aztec Special Education Support Complex.

That sweet, gentle bear reminds me of all of the caring people in Albuquerque Public Schools who have dedicated their careers to making sure our students get the intervention and support they need to be successful in school.

It starts with people like Carla, one of the dozens of educational diagnosticians in APS who assess, diagnose and work with children with learning problems. They work alongside our school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, audiologists, occupational and physical therapists, not to mention all of the school nurses and others who help with screenings and family support.

It takes a special kind of humanity to assist these students, often some of our youngest, and their families. Imagine being the parent of a preschooler who isn’t talking yet, or who is acting out in daycare, or who is showing signs of developmental delay. These families are scared, overwhelmed, maybe even a little heartbroken. Bottom line, they just want what all parents want – a chance for their child to be happy, fulfilled and educated.   

That’s what we want, too. I started my career as a special education teacher, and my mother was an educational assistant in a special education classroom. I know, she knew, how important it is to provide every possible opportunity for these children. We owe that to them. We owe that to their families.

And so APS has three diagnostic hubs to evaluate students, many of whom have made the move from rural New Mexico to Albuquerque to access more and better services and resources. We serve a disproportionate percentage of students with special needs in APS. More than 11 percent of our students are identified as having special education needs – that’s nearly 10,000 children!

Last school year, the district completed more than 7,700 diagnostic evaluations. Early intervention for these students is key, and we have more than a thousand preschoolers in 17 developmental preschool programs getting the extra help they need.

Early literacy, one of my Big 5 priorities, might look a little different in these classrooms. Developmentally delayed preschoolers might need to work on holding a book upright before they can learn to read. Their lessons might focus more on basic behaviors, and much of the instruction is play-based.

The goal is to provide these students with the skills and resources they need to eventually and if at all possible move into regular education classrooms.

It takes compassion. It takes patience. It takes sweet, gentle humanity. I’m thinking again about that pearl-draped Pooh Bear, and I am thankful. 

News
Three APS Students Going to State Spelling Bee
More than 40 students participate in the districtwide bee held on Jan. 17.
Celebrating the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
While schools are closed on Monday, Jan. 21, in commemoration of MLK Day, students can join the march in Albuquerque, volunteer and learn about the Civil Rights Movement.
Peanut
In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy shares some exciting personal news.
Art & Music Coming to All Elementary Schools
We're hiring 20 music and art teachers each year for the next five so that students will have both subjects every year in elementary school.
Outstanding Employees Announced
The first group of employees honored by the APS Employee Recognition Program includes an activities director, leadership instructor, redirector and specialist.
Events
Jan 19
Metro Girls Swimming & Diving Championships
Jan 21
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (schools closed)
Jan 21
Board of Education Finance Committee Meeting - Jan 21, 2019
Jan 23
San Idelfonso Pueblo Feast Day
Jan 23
Board Members Attend Economic Forum - Jan 23, 2019
Jan 23
Board of Education District Equity and Inclusion Committee Meeting - Jan 23, 2019
Jan 23
NCAA Information Night — Del Norte HS
Jan 24
Board Members Attend 50th Annual NM Governor's Prayer Breakfast - Jan 24, 2019