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Superintendent's News

Posted: January 6, 2023

Making Big Things Happen for the Future

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder discusses the future and our impact on student success.

January is the month for new year’s resolutions. As educators, we know expectations are imperative to the students we serve. We also know that chipping away at large goals, as we do daily, can feel never-ending. That is exactly why we’re going to work more closely together this semester to focus directly on guaranteeing all our students have the support, opportunity, and access to the best learning experiences we can provide.

There is a lot of hard work to be done in the coming months, but we will get it done. In everything we do, I ask that we not forget that it all ties back to the promises we make to the tens of thousands of students and families who choose us to guide their academic futures.

One of the first significant student initiatives ahead is the possibility of extended instructional time for all public school students. New Mexico legislators have been discussing this option for years and could take action during the 60- day session that begins later this month. Research shows that more time in the classroom can boost student achievement, provide additional resources, and help students retain more of what they learn over the summer. Albuquerque Public Schools supports local decisions but acknowledges new legislation is out of our control.

Hopefully, you have all been involved in our efforts to design and implement a new Strategic Plan for the district. The APS Board of Education hosted citywide Community Listening Sessions to clarify our values and to understand what our community wants students to achieve. Anyone unable to attend those gatherings was invited to participate in a survey to provide critical feedback. These efforts provided a great deal of information. The administration is now finalizing goals to submit to the board of education. Those goals will be the foundation of the district’s five-year plan.

Any talk of the future will include the difficult topic of declining enrollment. Most public school districts across the country -including APS, are struggling with declining enrollment. Lower birth rates and an uptick in home schooling after the pandemic likely contributed to this new reality. Fewer students mean smaller budgets and difficult choices ahead. Budget adjustments are inevitable, but no decisions will be made without transparency and public input.

You may not be directly involved in the daily work at the legislature, our Strategic Plan, or the budget process, but the outcomes of all this work and more have enormous implications for all of us.

Still, our focus is always to remain positive and proactive to deliver on our promise of an exceptional educational experience for our students.

Please, don’t lose sight of the importance schools play in our community. Thanks to you, our schools will always be more than a place to learn math and reading.

At this moment, our students are looking forward to a new semester of personal growth, time with friends, spring flings, athletic events, performances, school celebrations, and graduation. The thrill and promise of a new semester never lose their allure. More than anything, I can’t wait to visit your classrooms to see you and the students.