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Messages from the Superintendent

Posted: December 9, 2022

Developing Goals and Plans: A Message From Supt. Elder

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder follows up on the community conversations and talks about next steps.

We have always known that the people of Albuquerque care deeply about the quality of education for their children. We got confirmation over the past few weeks during several community conversations hosted by the Board of Education as we work on a vision, values, and goals for the district.

Hundreds of parents and guardians, employees, community members, and, yes, even students attended the listening sessions held in the city's four quadrants. We also got together with families new to this country, Spanish speakers, tribal representatives, neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations, and student groups. For those who couldn't join us in person, there was an online survey completed by nearly 1,300 people so far. The survey is still open, by the way, if you haven't had a chance to fill it out: Take Online Survey to Share Your Thoughts on APS.

We asked the community what our students should know and what the district shouldn't do as we provide that knowledge and skills. To be honest, the responses weren't surprising, but they were reassuring. We have a clear path to developing a strategic plan for Albuquerque Public Schools.  

The community told us they want our students to be able to read, write, and communicate. They want them to be financially literate and educated in science, technology, engineering, math, and fine arts. They want extensive and quality electives and co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.

Our community wants our students to be prepared to go to college or enter the workforce with trade and job skills if that's their chosen path.

Not all expectations were academic. The community wants our students to graduate with confidence, empathy, self-management and time-management skills.

As to what the district shouldn't do (what we call guardrails in our public listening sessions), the community doesn't want us to dumb down instruction or waste instructional time. They expect high standards and quality instruction for all students regardless of race, class, ethnicity, or economic background. They don't want families left out of decisions related to student discipline, absenteeism, and academic accountability. And they want the focus in the classroom to be on academics.

It's important to hear from the public as we continuously work to improve educational outcomes for our students, and we appreciate all who have participated in this process.

While board members were conversing with the public, the district has been gathering data from multiple sources to help assess our strengths and areas of weakness. We are collecting and analyzing student performance data, reviewing instructional materials, conducting classroom observations and visits, and interviewing students, teachers, principals, and staff. 

After the winter break, the Board of Education will use the public input and district data to set measurable goals and guardrails for the next five years as the district continues developing its strategic plan, making sure it is responsive to the goals and focused on student outcomes. 

Thanks again to all who participated in these efforts. We only have a few more school days before the semester ends, and we get a little break. Hang in there. I appreciate all you do.