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Posted: September 27, 2019

Second Annual APS Spirit Day

Superintendent Reedy encourages students, staff, and supporters to show their spirit and do a little bragging on Friday, Oct. 4.

It’s that time of year again to show how proud you are to be a part of the Albuquerque Public Schools family. As balloons launch from our playgrounds next Friday, Oct. 4, we celebrate the second annual APS Spirit Day. Students, staff, and supporters are encouraged to put on their spirit wear, post pictures to social media using the hashtag #APSProud, and maybe even brag a bit about all the good that is happening in and around our campuses.

I don’t think we brag enough, honestly. I get it. Educators, by their nature, are a pretty humble bunch. But I hope you will set your modesty aside for at least one day and share a little about your accomplishments. When you post your photos to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, include a sentence or two about what makes you feel good about your job. What are you doing to help our students succeed? What is it about your co-workers that you appreciate? What makes you proud?

I’ll start us off. I have mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating: our graduation rate has improved by eight percentage points since I became superintendent. That translates into thousands of students who now have high school diplomas, opening doors for continued education, careers, and prosperous lives. Isn’t that what this work is all about?

We have done a lot of things along the way to help students reach this pinnacle. For example, some were supported through AVID, a college readiness elective now in 29 of our middle and high schools.  AVID targets students in the academic middle who can succeed but need extra support and direction. Three out of four of the AVID graduates in the Class of 2018 applied to four-year colleges. Many of them are the first in their families to go to college!

Students also are finding success in our magnet schools and programs, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Sandia High School, which recently “pinned” its largest junior class since beginning six years ago. More than 200 students are enrolled in the IB Diploma Program and its preparatory program for underclassmen, taking rigorous coursework that prepares them to be reflective world citizens.

Many of our students are graduating with a Bilingual Seal on their diplomas that honors their proficiency and skills in two languages. They hone these skills in our many dual-language schools such as Coronado Elementary School, which is the first magnet school in New Mexico to achieve Magnet Schools of America certification.

Other students are graduating with strong science, technology, engineering, and math aptitudes learned in our STEM and STEAM programs and magnets schools such as the three that are part of Engineering the Future, a K-12 pathway funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Students at Mission Avenue Elementary, Garfield Middle, and Valley High use the design thinking that engineers use to creatively solve problems in all areas of the curriculum.

Sometimes the key to success is feeling welcome, which is why we need to give a shout out to the teachers, specialists and support managers in Refugee and Newcomer Support Services. Speaking more than a dozen languages, these compassionate individuals address unmet needs, provide referrals to existing services, and foster family engagement.

Successful programs often need a little financial assistance, which is why I am grateful for our APS Education Foundation, which for the third year in a row ranks in the top 20 nationwide. The Foundation awarded 77 grants totaling nearly half a million dollars last school year. The Foundation also assists with the annual United Way campaign, which kicks off Monday.  APS Spirit Day is a part of United Way campaign that runs through Nov. 1. The Foundation has posted more information about the campaign to its website.

This is a long message, and I have barely gotten started. So I pass the baton to you. Show your spirit, brag a little, let the social media world and our community know that you are #APSProud.