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News from the Superintendent

Posted: March 27, 2020

Superintendent Message on Moving to Distance Learning

"The teaching and learning will continue; it will just look a lot different during the next few months," Supt. Reedy wrote in a letter to students, families, staff, and community.

March 27, 2020

Dear APS Students, Families, Staff & Community:

We saw it coming, but today’s announcement that schools are closed for the rest of the school year is devastating, nonetheless. Students belong in school. That’s where they learn best. But we also need to keep them safe, we need our staff and their families to stay healthy, and so we support the difficult decision made by the state Public Education Department.

The teaching and learning will continue; it will just look a lot different during the next few months.

In anticipation of this announcement as the coronavirus continued to spread and social distancing became the norm, a dedicated team of Albuquerque Public Schools administrators began working on a continuous learning plan for the rest of the school year. There is a lot to think about: logistics (especially when we have to limit public gatherings to no more than five people), curriculum, resources, training, technology, Internet access, special needs, language barriers, communication challenges, basic needs such as food and shelter, and the emotional and social strain on students, families, and staff. 

Luckily, we didn’t have to contemplate these challenges in a vacuum. Every school district in the state and many districts across the nation are grappling with this new approach to education, and we have been working collaboratively with the PED and many other districts on developing a plan that is accessible and equitable for all. 

Of course, our principals, teachers and support staff – those who know our students best –  didn’t wait either to come up with ways to keep these kids learning. The innovative teaching, learning, and support that I have witnessed over the past few weeks is inspiring, from the slew of online and paper resources that have been assembled and shared to the meals that have been served to the many virtual meetings attended to the emotional check-ins between supervisors and staff, teachers and students. 

We have more work to do on our continuous learning plan, which we hope to roll out in the next couple of weeks. There are many details to iron out, but we can share some information with you now: 

  • There will be no statewide testing this spring.
  • Students won’t have to make up missed instructional days.
  • Our learning focus will be on critical standards and could include weekly assignments, projects, and video check-ins.
  • Relationships and connections will play a big role in this new era of distance learning, as will an emphasis on social and emotional wellness.
  • All students will be supported and educated.  
  • We are working on getting Chromebooks and internet access first to high school seniors to help them graduate and then to other students who lack connectivity as available. 
  • We will continue to follow Individual Education Programs (IEPs) for our special education students.
  • Learning materials will be available in Spanish and other languages.
  • We will provide virtual classroom training for teachers and staff.
  • We will continue to provide both online and print resources. 
  • We will continue to provide school meals and childcare for families. 
  • We are working with our partners at NMPBS on televising daily lessons for elementary school students, with the possibility of expanding to other grades. The programming is tentatively scheduled to begin on April 6.
  • And, we are coming up with a plan to help our seniors earn their high school diploma. My heart breaks for these students who will miss out on so many senior traditions. We are committed to making sure these students graduate this school year and are prepared to move on to the next promising chapter in their lives.

Mostly, we are going to be flexible and ready to adapt. None of us has ever done anything like this before, but we are doing our best because we want what’s best for our students.

We will stay in touch. We want all of our community to be in the know because we are all in this together. The best place for updates is the APS.edu website.

Keep learning, keep reading, keep supporting each other. We will get through this together.

All my best, 

Rachel Reedy
APS Superintendent