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News from 2021-2022

Posted: May 5, 2022

9 More APS Schools Choose a Longer School Year

A third of APS elementary schools will spend more time in the classroom in 2022-2023.

Genius Hour at Whittier Elementary School

Genius Hour at Whittier Elementary School

The staff and community of nine Albuquerque Public Schools elementary schools across the district voted to extend the school year by 10 days. They join 20 elementary schools on an extended calendar, meaning about a third of APS’ 88 elementary schools will spend extra days in the classroom next school year.

Of the 29 schools participating in the state-funded Extended Learning Time Program, 20 will have a longer school day, too. The longer day, paid for with funding from the federal American Rescue Plan, will embed daily professional development and student enrichment. These schools also will receive funding for a community school coordinator, a transformational coach, planning, and Genius Hour, a block of time each day that allows students to explore their interests.  

Most of the cost for the longer school day and year goes to pay for salaries and benefits. 

Nine schools* voted to extend both the school day and year in 2022-2023:

*Carlos Rey voted to add a longer day to its extended calendar next school year. 

  • Alamosa
  • East San Jose  
  • Inez
  • Lew Wallace
  • Longfellow
  • Los Ranchos 
  • Mary Ann Binford
  • Matheson Park
  • Reginald Chavez

Eleven schools will continue with an extended school day and year:

  • Atrisco
  • Bel-Air
  • Bellhaven
  • Emerson
  • Hawthorne
  • Kirtland
  • Lavaland
  • Los Padillas
  • Lowell
  • Pajarito
  • Whittier 

And eight schools will continue on an extended-year calendar only: 

  • Armijo
  • Barcelona
  • Edward Gonzales
  • Helen Cordero
  • Kit Carson
  • Mountain View
  • Navajo
  • Tomasita 

The APS Board of Education voted last month to continue allowing individual schools to decide in collaboration with students, staff, and families whether to extend the school year. Over the past few weeks, APS schools conducted surveys of staff and communities. Majorities of both had to favor extended learning for it to be implemented next school year

The APS administration encouraged schools that serve some of the district’s most vulnerable students to strongly consider the option. All schools on an extended calendar next school year receive federal Title I dollars, meaning at least half of their students are identified as economically disadvantaged.

“We want to thank our school communities for engaging in conversations about extended learning time and for participating in the surveys,” said APS Superintendent Scott Elder. “We plan to continue the conversation in the coming weeks and months in our effort to make meaningful, transformational, and long-lasting changes that will improve the academic outcomes and life possibilities for all our students.”  

The extended calendar adds four days to the beginning of the school year, with students starting on Thursday, Aug. 4, instead of Wednesday, Aug. 10. The extended calendar cuts fall break by a day, keeps schools open on Election Day, and has one instead of two days off around the Vernal Holiday. The last day of school for the extended calendar is Thursday, June 1, compared to Thursday, May 25, for schools on a traditional calendar.  

State lawmakers and the New Mexico Public Education  Department asked school districts across the state to consider adding 10 days to the school year to address learning loss resulting from the pandemic. The state-funded Extended Learning Time Program also responds to a lawsuit that found that the state has failed to provide adequate programs and services for marginalized students.  

In response to a recent New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee program evaluation, APS encouraged legislators to consider providing funding for both a longer school day and year, arguing that adding days without extending time for training, collaboration, and enrichment isn’t transformative.

Eleven APS elementary schools have participated in a Transformational Model pilot program that extends the school year by 10 days and lengthens the school day by an hour and a half, allowing for more professional development for teachers and Genius Hour for students to explore their interests.

“The eleven APS elementary schools that have adopted this model have seen positive outcomes,” the district wrote in its response to the LFC program evaluation. “The program evaluation team saw great value in the model when they visited our schools.”

While the LFC program evaluation recommends that districts use federal grants to pay for longer school days, those funds run out in two years.

APS plans to conduct a comprehensive survey of its staff, families, and the community to better understand why so many opposed extending the school year and what options they may prefer. Anecdotally, staff has expressed concerns about burnout, and parents have said students need time to spend with family, participate in outside activities, and “just be kids.” Officials have also heard that the community felt they didn’t have enough time to prepare for the proposed changes.  

The district will use results from the survey to determine how best to move forward.