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Posted: May 7, 2024

APS Principals, Teachers Get First-hand Look at NY Magnet Schools

Conferences like the one in New York City ‘open your eyes to new possibilities.’

APS staffers at the 2024 Magnet Schools of America National Conference in New York City.

APS staffers at the 2024 Magnet Schools of America National Conference in New York City.

More than three dozen APS magnet school teachers and principals traveled to New York in April to observe schools of choice and explore what programs and practices might be worth bringing back to Albuquerque Public Schools.

In all, the APS Office of Innovation sent 43 staffers to the 2024 Magnet Schools of America National Conference in New York City. As part of the conference, APS staff had the opportunity to tour more than 38 magnet schools.

“I have always loved seeing what is happening at other schools no matter where they are,” said Glenn Wilcox, the principal of Zuni Technology & Communication Magnet School. “It was fascinating to see the types of community connections they have, how they utilize their very different facilities, and the types of programs and instructional opportunities available for their students.”

Wilcox said conferences like the one in New York are worthwhile because they open your eyes to new possibilities and ways of doing things.

APS Career Enrichment Center Principal Patrick Arguelles, who also attended the conference, agrees. He said so much can be gained from listening to how other schools, cities, or states educate their students.

“Visiting other schools on a similar pathway is really beneficial,” he said. “It reinforces that what we are doing is the way to go or it gives us ideas on what we can change.”

Arguelles said he visited the premier CTE high school in New York State and was pleased to see that the APS CTE program was ahead in many areas, including offering five times as many dual credit classes as the New York school. Nevertheless, he added, “I did come away with some ideas that we can use in our school.”                                     

Wilcox said he went to the conference looking for ideas on improvements, leadership perspectives, recruitment of staff and students, and building community connections. He said the conference met all those needs and then some.

The conference also reinforced the importance of magnet schools.

“Having worked now in both magnet schools and traditional schools, I feel magnet schools are extremely important,” Wilcox said. “All students are different and we strive to provide the appropriate learning environment for each as an individual. Magnet schools provide a choice to students and families for what students are interested in so that they are better able to engage in their learning.”