News from 2022-2023

Posted: July 13, 2023

APS Principals and Administrators Zero in on Better Student Outcomes

APS staff attending the Starting Line Conference

APS staff attending the Starting Line Conference

More than 300 Albuquerque Public Schools K-12 principals and administrators gathered for three days recently to learn, connect, and commit to a new school year. The Starting Line conference, formerly known as ACE, or Administrators Conference in Education, has a 60-year history, but everything this year is new. Most notable is a first-ever Strategic Plan complete with goals and expectations that will be monitored, measured, and shared to ensure students leave APS with the knowledge and skills the community has said are most important.

Conference training for the Emerging Stronger Strategic Plan focuses on four goals. Goal one is to raise third-grade proficiency rates in Language Arts by 10 percentage points over the next five years. Goal two states eighth-grade proficiency in Mathematics will also grow by 10 percentage points by 2028. Goal three specifies high schoolers will have more opportunities to enroll in courses that correlate to their employability and readiness for postsecondary options. And Goal four centers on better preparing students for life after graduation, so they have life skills they can meaningfully and practically apply to their lives as they grow up.

The Language Arts and Mathematics goals specifically pertain to students identified in the 2018 Yazzie-Martinez decision, plus African American students. The judge in that case ruled that  New Mexico hasn’t been doing enough to provide a sufficient education to Native Americans, English learners, socioeconomically disadvantaged children, and students with disabilities. 

“It’s not OK that our kids can’t read at grade level. Outcomes have been stagnant. It’s got to move,” said APS Superintendent Scott Elder in his address to the educators. The superintendent expressed his concerns about results recently compiled by a third-party diagnostic team that visited almost 200 classrooms across the district. Observers reported inconsistencies in what students are being taught from one neighborhood to the next, a practice the superintendent said is wrong and has to stop.

Principals and other administrators voiced their concerns, questions, and hopes for the new school year. The Strategic Plan marks the first time district leadership, in collaboration with the Board of Education, has equipped school leaders with an academic roadmap that includes a scoreboard and fosters transparency and reciprocal accountability. APS Chief of Schools, Dr. Channell Segura, stressed the urgency of the work ahead and her confidence in the army of educators dedicated to better student outcomes.

“We can’t hear the words, ‘Our kids can’t,’ anymore. That needs to go away because you know what? Our kids are hungry. They are ready. They’ve been ready.” Dr Segura went on to say, “Students have been placed in conditions that have been out of their control, and as principals and district leadership, it’s our obligation to create the conditions for them to learn and succeed.”

Every principal and administrator at the conference walked away with a framework to take back to their schools to work through with teachers, support staff, and others who will guide them through the steps of the new Strategic Plan. It’s expected the Strategic Plan will grow and change as it takes form in classrooms across the district. Every new school year is exciting, but the anticipation is greater with an actionable plan and enthusiastic experts.