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Posted September 4, 2013

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APS Seeks Public Input on Middle School Education

Public comments will help the district apply for a $20 million federal grant focused on helping middle school students.

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Albuquerque Public Schools is applying for $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education through the district-level Race to the Top Application. The plan is focused on middle schools to equip, engage, explore and excel personalized education for all students.

“Albuquerque Public Schools is a leader in urban school reform in this country,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. “We have made tremendous gains in elementary and high schools and we need to focus on our middle schools to inspire innovation and personalized education for our more than 19,000 middle school students.”

The grant application calls for a plan to better equip students, parents and schools with innovative technology that is more accessible and available to make informed decisions about instruction with a goal of closing the achievement gap and improving student academic success.

We plan to engage the middle school community by holding annual student/parent orientations and biannual counseling sessions. We’ll also provide additional professional development for our middle school teachers, including specialized summer planning. And we’ll engage parents through the creation of a Parent University.

“One of the most important parts of the grant is to focus on personalized learning for our students that will allow for student-driven, anytime/anywhere, deeper and accelerated learning,” Brooks said. “This will allow students to accelerate their learning and to take their time on ensuring they understand key concepts.”

In addition the grant will allow for the opportunity to engage and explore the community by providing learning opportunities on such topics as violence and bullying prevention, issues affecting adolescence and development, health and wellness, and truancy and out-of-school time.

If approved, the grant also will allow the district to expand the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program to all middle schools. AVID teaching methodologies have shown tremendous results for narrowing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates. Currently, the program is in 28 schools with more than 900 students already participating in AVID.

“We have really taken this opportunity to build a road map for middle school academics in Albuquerque Public Schools over the next few years, especially considering the implementation of Common Core Standards,” said Shelly Green, chief academic officer.  “I am proud of the application because of the supports to teachers, students and families in our middle schools.”

 

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