New Mexico - Public Education Department

Every Student Succeeds Act
Update – October 21, 2016

Dear NM Community,

I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to share with you some encouraging highlights about education in New Mexico as well as some of our plans for the next few months.

First, New Mexico's students are on the rise, and last school year our students and schools made incredible gains, specifically:

  • New Mexico's students made unprecedented progress in 19 of 21 tested areas in Math, Science & English Language Arts. In fact, 77 of the state's 89 districts made gains in Mathematics and we have 5,000 more students proficient in reading.
  • 30,000 more students are in A/B Schools compared to four years ago.
  • Graduation rates are up by 5.6% since 2011, better than the growth in the national graduation rate.

In addition, the state made significant investments in early childhood education, historically low-performing schools, and in our teacher-leaders. Together, we've built the foundation for our students to grow, achieve, and fulfill their full potential. The results for New Mexico's kids are starting to show and now is the time for us to build on the foundation we've set and focus on supporting our students and schools on their journey to success.

As you may know, the federal government passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) late last year, giving states more flexibility in identifying its priorities based on the needs of the state. The law affirms much of what New Mexico has been doing for several years such as holding all students to high standards, using quality tests to measure their progress, evaluating every school's performance and providing supports for our teachers. In fact, the law provides New Mexico great stability for our educators and communities, unlike other states who are grappling with monumental changes to their system including the need to revamp their school grading platform. However, New Mexico is in a great position to continue building off our progress, sustaining the hard work that our teachers have been working towards for the past few years.

Building off this foundation, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is committed to continuously improving our education system so that every student, regardless of where they live, has an opportunity to succeed. As a part of that process, the PED will be convening various groups and traveling to many of our communities throughout the fall of 2016 to ensure that PED sets goals and expectations for our public education system that are reflective of the community we serve, while preserving the stability that our teachers have requested.

Here's what we at the PED have done in terms of our work directly related to ESSA up to this point:

  1. We have partnered with New Mexico First to host a series of community forums across the state seeking feedback from our communities as it relates to our implementation of ESSA. To learn more about the events and to register, visit the New Mexico First NM Rising: Engaging our Communities for Excellence in Education website.
    1. Gallup, October 12th
    2. Farmington, October 14th
    3. Santa Fe, October 17th
    4. Albuquerque, October 18th
    5. Roswell, October 27th
    6. Las Cruces, November 15th
  2. We launched four working groups. These working groups are made up of experts from around the state to help us navigate the technical details of our state plan. These working groups are:
    1. Opportunity to Learn: Comprised of school grades with a focus on what families and educators deserve to know about their schools including the learning environment.
    2. Future-Ready Students: Focused on improving and defining high school graduation pathways for students, ensuring that every student earns a diploma that has value in the real-world.
    3. Title III Working Group: Focused on supporting our English Learners, ensuring that students and families have the supports they need in schools.
    4. LESC working group: Comprised of members of the Legislative Education Study Committee members who want to be involved in helping plan our transition to ESSA.
  3. We have launched an ESSA webpage featuring background information on the law, how PED is approaching our ESSA transition and implementation. The webpage also features a link to register for the community events detailed below.
  4. PED is meeting with Tribal Leaders across the state over the next few weeks to continue identifying ways to support native students. In addition, PED staff will be attending the annual Government to Government conference in November to discuss ESSA.

If you cannot attend a community meeting, we will soon release an online survey, available in English and Spanish, with New Mexico First that will provide every individual the opportunity to provide their feedback.

There is nothing more important than the education of our young people and it will take all of us working together to meet the needs of our students. We are encouraged by the outpouring of community support and we look forward to working with you and your community.

Warm regards,

Hanna

 
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