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Retention or Reclassification of Students

Elementary and Middle School Retention Process

Educational research supports and APS recognizes that retention does not improve outcomes. Retaining students disproportionately affects students of color, English learners, students in Title I programs, students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and students from low-   socioeconomic status families. Retention is an option under New Mexico state law. Outlined below is the process and the rights that a student and parent/guardian are entitled.

Identification of a student’s academic weakness(es) may serve as criteria in assessing the need for remedial programs or retention. Teachers recognizing students with significant educational progress deficiencies shall notify the principal no later than the end of the second grading period if retention is anticipated.

The teacher shall work closely with the principal, counselor, and the support personnel to develop a special support program. The parent or guardian shall be notified no later than the end of the second grading period of the possibility of retention. Parent or guardian help should be elicited when initial concerns arise.

No student shall be retained without documented remediation/intervention strategies, which are focused on the student’s unique needs and are provided based on the school remediation plan program and recommendations from school support staff members and to the extent possible with the student’s family.

At the end of the eighth grade, a student who is not academically proficient shall be retained in the eighth grade for no more than one school year to become academically proficient or if the student assistance team determines that retention of the student in the eighth grade will not assist the student to become academically proficient. The team shall design a high school graduation plan to meet the student's needs for entry into the work force or a post-secondary educational institution. Retained eighth graders may not begin high school coursework. If a student is retained in the eighth grade, the student assistance team shall develop a specific academic improvement plan that clearly delineates the student's academic deficiencies and prescribes a specific remediation plan to address those academic deficiencies.

Decision to Retain

A conference consisting of principal, teacher, counselor, and parent or guardian must be scheduled and the parent(s)/guardian(s) notified of the conference. All factors concerning possible retention will be taken into consideration. A review of relevant records will be conducted, and interested parties encouraged to share their points of view.

A parent or guardian who refuses to allow his (her) child to be retained shall sign a waiver indicating that the child's promotion is against the specific advice and recommendation of the certified school instructor and the school principal.

The form, Student Retention Form, is completed by the principal. The retention document will be uploaded into the student information system, original placed in the student's cumulative folder and a copy forwarded to the zone associate superintendent or appropriate district personnel.

Districtwide Reporting

The Office of Accountability and Reporting will be responsible for compiling all school data into a district retention report and completing the retention report required by the New Mexico Public Education Department.

High School Classification or Reclassification

All students must be classified each year as follows:

  1. A student may be reclassified once course history is posted to transcripts, which is also dependent on the number of credits earned.
  2. A student must have a minimum of six (6) credits to be classified a sophomore.
  3. A student must have a minimum of thirteen (13) credits to be classified a junior.
  4. A student must have a minimum of nineteen (19) credits to be classified a senior.

Notification of Student Course Failures

Schools will notify parent(s)/guardian(s) of student failure through the online grade portal or scheduled grade reports at the end of each marking period that their student/child is failing a course(s). It does not constitute grounds to pass the student simply because the parent/guardian did not receive notification of course failure(s).

The report card/transcript provides verification of loss of credit for the semester.

Notification for Seniors

In addition to the steps outlined above, at the end of the second semester’s first grading period, high school personnel will mail letters and/or call parent(s)/guardian(s) to inform them of the possibility their child may fail a class(es), which could jeopardize graduation.

After the fourth quarter deficiency notice, teachers will submit Tentative Senior Course Failure Lists to the school administration. Only the listed seniors may be failed unless a senior who was passing a course at the time the list was compiled exhibits a significant drop in attendance, fails to complete major course assignments, and/or fails to complete the final exam.

Schools will inform parent(s)/guardian(s) of students on the Tentative Senior Course Failure List form. If a student’s name is added to the Tentative Senior Course Failure List, parent(s)/guardian(s) must be notified.

Following final exams, schools will inform parent(s)/guardian(s) and appropriate district offices of course failures that resulted in non-graduation.

Administrative Position:

  • Associate Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Support

Department Director:

  • Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction


Legal Ref:

  •  Section 22-2C-6 NMSA 1978

Board Policy Cross Ref:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IKE

Revised: May 1995
: April 1996
: May 1997
: June 2002
Reviewed: November 18, 2020
Revised: December 2, 2020