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News from the Superintendent

Posted: January 17, 2020

Calendar Vote

Read Superintendent Reedy's message to employees on 2020-2021 calendar options.

If you work in a school, you have been empowered to make an important decision in the coming days – a decision that will impact your life as well as the lives of the young people in your care.

Make it wisely. Make it with their best interests in mind. 

I’m talking about choosing the 2020-2021 instructional calendar. Rather than a top-down approach, we are going straight to the people who know our students best and who are affected most by the school calendar – our APS families as well as the employees who work in our schools.

As I expect you know by now, one of the calendar choices is traditional, looking a lot like this year’s and last year’s and many past years.

The other two options add 10 days to the school year plus about 80 hours of professional development for staff: 

  • Extended Learning Plan A, which is an option for all schools including our comprehensive high schools, adds 5 days to the beginning and 5 days to the end of the school year.
  • Extended Learning Plan B is a year-round calendar for elementary, middle and magnet high schools with several breaks throughout the year. 

You will learn more about these options at staff meetings, if you haven’t already. Our families will learn more at school meetings. You can also review the proposed calendars on the APS website.

Now’s the time for meaningful dialogue among teachers, staff, students, and families. I encourage you to come together to talk about what change might look in your school. Dare to think outside the box. Dare to dream.

Consider how the extra days might help students and staff. How might those days be used to improve academic outcomes? How might schools incorporate additional remediation and enrichment, innovation, co-curricular and after-school activities, community partnerships? How might staff utilize more time for training, collaboration, analysis, planning?

As you ponder the options, you might want to look at some of the research. One resource is a comprehensive report created by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee titled, "Program Evaluation: Instructional Time and Extended Learning Opportunities in Public Schools." Or do some research on your own.

Then consider your own students, those you interact with every day, especially the most vulnerable among them. Think about how an extended learning program might, or might not, boost student achievement. Would extra days at the beginning and end of the school year or a year-round calendar help students retain more of what they learn over the summer? Or would a longer school year prove to be a burden for our families? Would more time help those at your school access resources such as hot meals, counselors, nurses, social and community services? 

Hard as APS and all of our sister school districts across the state have tried over the years to improve the academic success of students, the reality is New Mexico still falls behind the rest of the nation. Now we have a golden opportunity to look at different ways to help our students.

When you cast your ballot, vote for what you know is best for your community. Vote for what you know is right for your students, their families, your co-workers. And yourself.

A majority vote of both staff and families wins at each school. The deadline for submitting calendar choices is Feb. 12.

I appreciate you being a part of this process. Your decision will not only affect your students, school and families, but all of the APS community.