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Posted: March 31, 2020

Paying Tribute to Our APS Heroes

Thanks to all APS employees, volunteers and friends who continue to work in support of our students and families.

A letter from Dr. Madelyn P. Serna Mármol, Associate Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Support

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has been at work in APS. The theory by the late psychologist Abraham Maslow states that certain human basic needs must be met before people can reach their full potential.

The feeding and safety of students have been the priority in the first weeks of school closures. Imagine the Herculean task required to serve 200,000 meals at 80 sites in two weeks. Not to mention keeping food banks, weekend food backpack runs, health centers, and childcare available, and at a time when the governor and mayor have ordered people to stay home.

It is quite a feat to seamlessly continue services critical to operating a school district with more than 80,000 students and 14,000 employees – services such as payroll, budget, an employee assistance program, and custodial support. Let us put things into perspective; no district in the state is comparable to the challenges facing APS.

APS has posted hundreds of online resources, sent out 14,000 learning packets, and individual schools gave out books and workbooks. Refugee and homeless students received school supply bags. Hundreds of teachers reached out to students to provide supplemental instruction, and parents stepped up to create academic and life lessons. There have been hundreds of social media posts showing our resiliency.

Equity of access is a reality in our city and state. We have worked with our service providers for access to the internet, but what about owning a device to access the internet? Our registration process determined 88 percent of students have access to high-speed internet, but that does not mean the same percentage of students own a device. We estimate about 25,000 students, nearly the same enrollment of Las Cruces Public Schools, do not own a device to access the internet.

Working with wonderful guidance from the New Mexico Public Education Department, we are creating a Continuous Learning Plan within the guidelines of maximum learning time. The priority of our plan is to get seniors graduated and simultaneously support all other grade levels. We plan to distribute 18,000 new Chromebooks to ensure students are armed with the tools they need to succeed at distance learning.  We are also concentrating on special education and English language development. In a partnership with KNME, we will have 4 hours of programming for elementary students in English and Spanish starting April 6. Schools should be ready by April 13 to start limited instruction and socio-emotional outreach. And there is so much more.

These are uncharted waters, and we are working tirelessly to keep the ship on course. Thank you to our selfless staff and our community, state, and national partners. In uncertain times, it is easy to find flaws. Let us work as a state to build one another up.

Si se puede.