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Posted January 29, 2013

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APS Graduation Rates Climb: West Mesa Up 12 percent

Principal Ben Santistevan Says High Expectations Lead to Gains.

West Mesa Principal Ben Santistevan addressed fellow principal and the media about graduation rates.

Superintendent Winston Brooks joined high school principals yesterday to discuss the rise in Albuquerque Public Schools graduation rates to 70 percent, the highest level for four-year graduation rates ever. 

Brooks noted that seven of eight demographic subgroups tracked, saw their graduation rates increase. “This shows we’ve narrowed the achievement gap,” Brooks said, giving credit to teachers, students, parents and administrators around the district. 

“We’ve put reforms into place at every level that add up to improved graduation rates,” he added. 

At West Mesa High School, which saw its graduation rate rise almost 12 points to 70 percent, principal Ben Santistevan said his school has put data at the forefront. “Our staff look at student data and then they get together in Professional Learning Communities to discuss what works,” Santistevan said. 

“We have an unwavering belief that our students can achieve at an academic level they never thought was possible,” Santistevan added. “These high expectations lead to more rigor in the classroom and more student success.” 

West Mesa 10th graders Delilah Silva and Miranda Fresquez said that high expectations do motivate them. “The teachers push us to do better,” Fresquez said. 

Both noted that the AVID program has also helped them to raise their own expectations. 

APS and the state Public Education Department released 4-year graduate rates  for the class of 2012 last Thursday.

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