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Posted: August 22, 2017

Plan in Place for Improving School Grades

A letter from Superintendent Reedy addressing school grades released by the state Public Education Department.

Dear APS Students, Staff, Families and Neighbors:

Today, the state Public Education Department released school grades. There are quite a few bright spots – congratulations to the 38 schools that went up at least one letter grade. But as anticipated by PARCC scores released earlier this month, we’re not satisfied with the grades assigned to many of our schools.

The good news is we have a plan in place to do better.

First of all, we’ve made budgetary changes, putting more resources back in schools and classrooms.

Secondly, we’ve made a lot of personnel changes. More than a third of our schools and many of our departments have new leadership this school year.

Third, we’ve reorganized into Learning Zones, smaller geographic areas each designed to meet the unique needs of its community through support, resources and professional learning. The Learning Zones are providing extra support to struggling schools through a data-driven continuous improvement process. 

And we’ve come up with a list of five priorities – nicknamed the Supt’s Big Five:

  • Early Learning
  • College and Career Readiness
  • The Whole Child
  • Attendance
  • Community and Parent Engagement

Early Learning
We want to make sure our students are reading by the third grade, which means we can’t wait until they are in kindergarten to begin teaching them. We need to work with our preschoolers, our young parents, our expectant mothers and fathers.

College & Career Readiness
We want to improve the educational experience of our secondary students so that they all earn a high school diploma and move on to college and careers. This will involve getting more students to pass their classes – including algebra – on the first try. It will also mean helping them find their passion and providing them with real-world opportunities through internships, shadowing opportunities, and mentorships supported by the local business community.

Of course, our students can’t succeed if they’re not in school, so we need to emphasize attendance. We will do a better job of monitoring absences, staying in touch with parents, helping students and families appreciate the value of going to class. 

The Whole Child
Often, when children miss school it’s because there are other things going on in their lives. Hunger, unemployment, illness, trauma. We have to embrace the whole child and meet their needs so that they can be successful in the classroom. This means working with organizations and businesses that have just as much at stake as we do.

Parent and Community Engagement
Families are our students' first teachers. They play a vital role in the education of their children, so it's important that we listen to them, keep them informed, engage them in the classroom and school, and support them.

If these sound familiar, they should. They are priorities outlined in our Academic Master Plan, a roadmap for the district developed with much input from those who have a stake in public education.

By focusing on Attendance, Early Learning, College and Career Readiness, the Whole Child and Family and Community Engagement, we are on track to improving school grades and, more importantly, improving the academic opportunities and success for all students of Albuquerque Public Schools.

We are rolling up our sleeves and tackling these five priorities, and we invite those in the Albuquerque community who care about the future of our students to join together with us.