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Superintendent's News

Posted: October 1, 2021


In his weekly message, Supt. Elder writes about some of the district's student and employee recognition programs.

It's inspiring how well you handled the start of the school year in spite of all the obstacles we faced such as COVID tracing, vaccine, and testing requirements, temperamental air conditioners and internet connections, and student behavior influenced by months of way too much screen time and not enough socialization.

As the temperature cools, we’re slowly getting into a groove, finding solutions to problems we couldn’t have anticipated even a couple of years ago, and coming together to support each other, our students, and their families.

In other words, we’re doing what educators do.

So many Albuquerque Public Schools employees have stepped up during the first quarter of this taxing school year. Many of you have taken on additional responsibilities without complaint. You have learned new skills, put in extra hours, and applied a whole lot of common sense, patience, camaraderie, and care.

I can’t even begin to thank all of you who go beyond the call of duty to assure our schools stay open and our kids keep learning in safe, welcoming environments. But I can – we all can – acknowledge at least a few of our peers and even some of our students through traditional APS recognition programs. If ever there is a time for a little extra appreciation, it’s now.

How many of you even know that we have Student of the WeekTeacher of the Month, and monthly Employee Recognitions? The district even has its own Recognition webpage that highlights many of these outstanding employees and students.

Like our Students of the Week. A decade ago, the APS Education Foundation partnered with Nusenda Credit Union to recognize a handful of the district’s outstanding students each year. Students like Anthony Depaul, a 5th grader at Bellehaven Elementary School who is passionate about sharks and wants to save our oceans. And Aleethia Chavez, a 2nd grader at Alamosa Elementary School, who likes talking about the stories she reads. And Gavin Gallegos, an 8th grader at Jackson Middle School who likes building computers.

You know kids like this – lots of them. Truth is, we have hundreds – no, thousands – of students in APS who deserve to be recognized each week. But it sure is nice to put a weekly community spotlight on one each week as a representative of so many others.

The same goes for teachers. Many APS teachers go above and beyond every single day, even in the most challenging of times. Once again this year, beginning in October, the Foundation and Pepsi will highlight one of these outstanding teachers each month with short videos posted to They promise, as always, to inspire.

Teachers can’t do it alone. They are surrounded by a support team of school and district staff members who also deserve thanks for all they do. That’s why APS started up an Employee Recognition program three years ago. Since its inception, the recognition has honored speech therapists, custodians and yard workers, educational assistants, principals and assistant principals, campus security aides, administrative assistants and clerks, district administrators, counselors, maintenance and operations workers. You name it! Nominated by their peers, the first honorees of the 2021 school year will be announced in the coming weeks.

There are lots of other ways we recognize our students and staff as well. At board meetings, through social media and local media. On our website and in our newsletters. Students like the 32 APS seniors who were named 2022 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists – that’s the most we can remember having in any one year, and La Cueva High School had the most scholars of any school in the state!

These recognitions are a small representation of the great thing happening in Albuquerque Public Schools. You also deserve to be acknowledged. Thank you for carrying on with grace and determination.