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News from 2023-2024

Posted: May 16, 2024

NM United Rewards First-graders Who Made Big Gains in Reading

Soccer team handed out free tickets for June 8 soccer game to Matheson Park Elementary students who showed significant gains in the reading assessment.

Jonathon Brannon, far left, with his first graders, a member of the New Mexico United team, and Matheson Park Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Lovato.

Jonathon Brannon, far left, with his first graders, a member of the New Mexico United team, and Matheson Park Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Lovato.

School's Out Night: Get Your Tickets!

First-graders at Matheson Park Elementary School got a big surprise on Monday.

New Mexico United visited Jonathon Brannon’s class and gave students free tickets to the June 8 game against Hartford Athletic as a reward for their amazing reading gains this year.

“We are very proud to represent the entire state of New Mexico, and I just want to say congratulations because what you guys did takes a lot of work and when you guys have teachers like Mr. Brannon you can achieve amazing things,” said David Estrada, the professional soccer team’s community relations manager and former player. “But I will also say that your parents were a big part of that achievement.”

“Never forget that a big part of having fun at school is learning new stuff, too,” he added.

When the school year began, 14% of Brannon’s students were at grade level in reading. By December, that number had jumped to 43%. Brannon expects the end-of-year assessments will show even bigger gains.

APS elementary schools are focused on improving literacy scores because it sets the stage for future success in the classroom.

Brannon stressed that his students worked hard to achieve the gains, and students echoed the sentiment.

“I will do great in life if I work hard,” Caloiope said.

Joining Estrada for the visit was Harry Swartz, United’s midfielder, who also plays defense. Swartz told the first-graders his favorite book is “Captain Underpants.”

The students yelled in excitement as they interacted with Swartz and Estrada, and they even launched a rocket they built. In honor of United’s visit, the class painted the rocket black and yellow, the team’s colors.

The tickets the students were given will allow the students to be a part of School’s Out Night!, a giant celebration United and APS are partnering on to mark the end of the school year.

Students and staff will participate in pre-game and half-time activities. Board members will provide more information on the board-adopted Goals and Guardrails and a survey to gauge how the district is doing. APS soccer players and a teacher choir will also take part in the festivities.

In addition, APS will have a reading table on the concourse with free books and tips for summer reading and a Human Resources table with information on working for the district. Incoming Superintendent Gabriella Blakey and her nephew will participate in the ceremonial first kick.

Discounted tickets are available for APS families and staff.