Category: Empower

Our goal is to empower New Mexico teachers to refine their craft, take informed action and have a platform to provide well-informed feedback on important matters impacting our schools, so that they, in turn, can empower students to take ownership of their learning and achieve their fullest potential!

From Schoolhouse To Roundhouse: How Authentic Teacher Voice Shaped (Most) Of The State’s Education Budget For Next Year

From Schoolhouse To Roundhouse: How Authentic Teacher Voice Shaped (Most) Of The State’s Education Budget For Next Year

Colleagues —

With an opportunity-rich (some seized, some not) 2018 Legislative Session now behind us, I wanted to take this opportunity to review some of the substantial commitments the state budget makes to public education.

Here in Santa Fe, and inside the Roundhouse, the funding bill is referred to as HB2 (House Bill 2).  As we all know, deciding how you are going to spend your money is one of the best ways to determine priorities so HB2 is both a reflection of educational policy priorities and an overall financial appropriation for the State’s upcoming fiscal year (FY19, which is the 2018-2019 school year).

Your voice mattered this year—it was one of the first times in my career across multiple states that teacher-leaders, classroom teachers from across a state, and parents/families had a real voice inside a State Legislature. Historically, education policy and funding decisions are dominated by associations and interest groups—not necessarily by listening to all voices from all parts of a state.  Your voice was huge part of this process—and it was heard by our team at the PED, by the Executive branch, and by the Legislature.

It is also safe to say that in some areas, the Legislature made decisions in HB2 (now agreed to by both the House and the Senate and headed to the Governor’s desk) that could have real downsides for teachers, schools, and students.  It’s also safe to say that this funding bill also missed some opportunities to build upon and reinforce the areas of student academic progress and stakeholder engagement we’ve developed together over the last several years.

As the funding bill makes it way from the Legislative branch to the Executive branch, let’s review some highlights/lowlights in HB2 as of today:

As I see it, highlights from the 2018-2019 Public School Support package (HB2) include:

  • A teacher compensation increase, including significant raises in salaries for teachers (2.5%) and non-instructional school staff (2%), on top of an increase to the minimums for each licensure level, which would now be $36K/44K/54K for levels I, II, and III;
  • A small appropriation for Exemplary Teaching Awards, a groundbreaking effort to retain and reward some of the highest-performing teachers statewide – especially those that serve our most struggling schools and/or teach in the highest-need subject areas.  As I’ve shared with you, this strategy compliments the across-the-board increases above;
  • A sizable increase in funding for state Pre-K, which will allow the program to grow responsibly while maintaining the high standards of quality that have led to substantial outcomes for early learners.  This allocation will also result in several new Pre-K sites around the state that have demonstrated capacity and readiness to offer it for the first time;
  • An increase in K-3 Plus summer program funding that will allow for responsible expansion, while also including budgetary language incentivizing best practices that are leading to the most student growth in our schools;
  • An increase for both transportation and instructional materials funding (short of what the Executive branch proposed, but still meaningful);
  • More funding for professional development and teacher leadership opportunities for STEM teachers, and additional funding for the transition to NM STEM-Ready Standards;
  • Continuation of the key programs that have shown an outsized return on investment and student achievement.  We’ve seen several initiatives, which are reflected in the budget again this year, make a difference for kids in schools across the state–  Truancy and Dropout Prevention, Principals Pursuing Excellence, Teachers Pursuing Excellence, Reads to Lead, AP fee waivers, and many others;
  • Funding for a new Regional Educational Cooperative (REC) in San Juan County to assist districts in sharing resources and making support staff available to the entire region.

Alongside this progress, I believe there were several missed opportunities and areas of concern in HB2 as well, including:

  • The bill currently includes language that Exemplary Teaching Awards – while intended to be available to all – could be blocked at your district by your local teachers union;
  • The bill eliminates funding for Hard to Staff recruitment stipends for teachers.  Teacher Recruitment is major priority for the PED in 2018, even in a reduced funding environment;
  • The bill includes language that could substantially reduce funding for charter schools, early college high schools, vocational schools, alternative schools, and credit recovery programs.  We don’t believe these schools (and the students, teachers, and families who believe in them) should be targeted in this manner for a reduction in funding;
  • Though the PED requested $4.5 million in emergency supplemental funds – fund that can be used by districts who experience emergency situations such as natural disasters or man-made tragedies, or for districts experiencing declining enrollment or financial strain– the Legislature only appropriated $3 million in funding;
  • There is no increase to Dual Credit Instructional Materials, despite the PED’s request to double the funding;
  • The bill reflects a major cut in funding for professional development and training for Principals to provide meaningful evaluations and observations to teachers—the PED has consistently heard that this is a critical need area and will ensure that this vital training continues;
  • There is again no funding for Blended Learning (formerly IDEAL-NM) in HB2, which provides many students from rural/smaller schools a way to access courses that might not otherwise be available to them. The PED is committed to finding a way to provide course access to all students;
  • Lastly, this year’s budget bill include a major cut to Interventions and Support for Students, Struggling Schools, Parents, and Teachers – from $15 million last year to $4 million this year.  This comes on the heels of the PED announcing a $50 million support package for struggling schools as part of the state’s top-rated plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  To be fair, the Legislative Finance Committee probably views this as a $4 million cut and not an $11 Million cut, but this is a line item that should have been increased (or at least fully supported) given the focus on innovation, parent and family engagement, and teacher leadership within it.  Instead, it’s been reduced.

My team will be reviewing HB2 in full next week once it’s delivered, and we would love to hear your thoughts on any/all of the above over the weekend.  Your voice matters—and we’ve seen repeatedly that democracy belongs to those who show up.  As classroom teachers and hard-working families, we know that you can’t camp out at the Roundhouse for 30 days or more, but we hope to represent your beliefs, your aspirations for your students, and our profession.

We stand with you—and offer our sincere thanks to all who contributed time and energy to support what is right for kids.  I am more optimistic than ever about the future for New Mexico’s students, with a renewed resolve to roll up my sleeves and continue to do the hard work to make New Mexico’s schools and students the fastest growing in the country.

Please be in-touch!

Christopher N. Ruszkowski
Secretary of Education
New Mexico Public Education Department

New Mexico Teacher Spotlight: Donna Hazen

New Mexico Teacher Spotlight: Donna Hazen

Being a teacher in the public school system was not Donna Hazen’s lifetime goal. All she wanted to be was a wife, mom, and homemaker. However, life moved her into a full time teaching career. Her degree in motherhood taught her how to be sensitive to the child that struggled with health, self-esteem, bullying, and learning issues. Knowing the consequences of the above issues, Donna dedicated her teaching career to the child – not the subject. It has been her heart’s cry that her students discover their worth in society and their gifts and talents.  Donna tells her students, “The world is your classroom, so let’s see what you do with your world.”   Her most successful and productive styles of teaching are the “proactive” and “project-based learning styles,” which have empowered her students to embrace their “own” learning with the latest 21st Century skills and workforce ethics for  real world experiences and still revitalize their struggling rural community.

One of her greatest contributions is her Roundup Technology program, a 21st Century Entrepreneurial Program, project-based business “learning and earning” enterprise incorporated into the Mosquero Municipal Schools’ curriculum. Her entrepreneurs are revitalizing their community with the following student-run businesses: a county-based newspaper, historical research program that compiles and publishes a book, a gift shop/snack shack, high school students teaching K-6 workshops that encompass science, reading, history, and the agricultural world, a “Paint the Town” crew, an arena crew, a professional photo studio, print shop, and video productions’ studio.

2018 NM Teacher Summit: Call For Presenters

2018 NM Teacher Summit: Call For Presenters

2018 NM TEACHER SUMMIT

CALL for PRESENTERS PHASE 1

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is seeking creative and innovative presenters for the Third Annual NM Teacher Summit which will take place at the Albuquerque Convention Center from June 18-19, with a projected attendance of 1350 participants. The 2018 Teacher Summit theme is Teaching with Purpose.

Phase 1 of the call for presenters will remain open until Tuesday, March 15, 2018. Applicants that are chosen for Phase 2 are required to submit presentation materials by Wednesday, April 20, 2018. The process is described below.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY TO PRESENT AT THE THIRD ANNUAL NM TEACHER SUMMIT!

Process:

February 10—March 15:

Phase 1 submission window

March 15—March 31:   

Phase 1 submission review

April 5:   

Notification of acceptance to Phase 2; request for presentation materials

April 5—April 20:

Phase 2 presentation materials submission window

April 20—April 30:

Phase 2 submission review

May 4:  

Notification of presentation slot(s)

May 25:  

Final presentation PPT and hand-outs (if applicable) due to NMPED

Presentation topics:

Applicants are invited to choose a topic within their skill set and area of expertise. The topic should be relevant and applicable to New Mexico teachers’ classroom practice. The NMPED will support presenters with data and expertise, as needed. Below are a few suggested topics* that presenters may choose from:

·         Your content area or area of expertise ·         Native/Tribal Students
·         Classroom Practice ·         Special Education
·         Education Policy ·         Family Engagement
·         Teacher Leadership ·         Planning & Preparation
·         Assessments/Data to Drive Instruction ·         Formative & Short-Cycle Assessment
·         English Learners ·         Creating an Environment for Learning
·         *Any other topic or area of expertise

Session formats:

Teaching for Learning Sessions 90-Minutes—PreK-12 classroom methods, strategies, and techniques. This format allows enough time to teach a unit, include a make-n-take or other hands-on activities, use grouping techniques, etc.
Moderated Panels 60-minutes—a moderated panel of experts focused on current public education topics, initiatives, or policy. This format allows for the presenter to interview or lead a Q & A of panel of experts. The NMPED will support the presenter with the selection of panel members, if needed.
Information Sharing 60-minutes—a presentation or mini-lesson with Q & A time. This format allows for a presenter to model teaching practices during a presentation or mini-lesson.
The Learning Lounge 10-15 minutes—informal teaching and sharing by community partners, district & school leaders, or teachers at tables and in lounge areas before conference begins on Day 1 & Day 2.

Instructions for completing & submitting your application:

  1. Review the Blooms-Taxonomy-Teacher-Planning-Kit resource and use it as a guide when framing your submission.
  2. Review the 2018 Teacher Summit Proposal Rubric.
  3. Complete the Google Form Call for Presenters Application. (Google form submits automatically.)

Please note: Presenters/facilitators accepted through the voluntary call for presenters Phase 1 & 2 will be provided hotel accommodations; travel reimbursement will be based on the New Mexico Per Diem Act & Mileage Act. Accepted presenters/facilitators will also receive complimentary registration and are welcome to have lunch/dinner when provided during the Summit.

 

Whole Brain Teaching: Roxanne Mitchell

Whole Brain Teaching: Roxanne Mitchell


Walk into any room at Sandia Elementary or an assembly including the entire student body, say, “Class”, and then be prepared to be amazed as every student immediately responds, “Yes”. This is just one of the exceptional engagement strategies utilized with Whole Brain Teaching.  The implementation of Whole Brain Teaching in our school has increased student engagement and excitement for learning in every classroom.  In upbeat, highly interactive classrooms, teachers have 100% participation from students at all levels and behavioral types.  Whole Brain Teaching can be used for excellent classroom management, character education, and exemplary lesson design. In nineteen years of teaching, I have never seen strategies so effective that can be adapted to any teacher and grade level.  Whole Brain Teaching is the game changer we have all been searching for in education today.


So here is the real deal. I attended a conference in Las Vegas this summer on Whole Brain Teaching.  From the first moments, I knew it was different.  Twenty minutes into the conference, I was texting my principal asking if we could be a pilot Whole Brain Teaching school.  All the while, I was trying to figure out how to use what I knew worked and incorporate what I was learning. I knew how to teach.  I had a lot of success. I am not saying this to brag in anyway, but I felt confident in my ability as a teacher and I knew great teaching.  I had scored exemplary for several years on my evaluation and was a 2017 Teacher of the Year finalist.  Boy, I was in for a wake up call.  All of the teachers attending the conference knew there were changes to make.  We returned to school and started our K-3 Plus program within a few weeks.  I was the administrator for the summer program. I wanted to use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom to some extent until I saw it in action.  I walked in classrooms the first day of K-3 Plus using Whole Brain Teaching, and I was JEALOUS. As a teacher at heart, I wanted KIDS.  I wanted to teach the way the young teachers on our staff were impacting kids!  I remember that feeling, and I have been striving to achieve it from that day forward.  I cannot express how much I love my profession.  I have high standards for my students and I demand participation in class.  The difference now is the love of learning in our school and my classroom.  I asked the kids this afternoon what was better about Whole Brain Teaching than a traditional classroom. They surprised me as they so often do.  Their responses were varied, but included things like:

  • “The Golden Gritty game makes me realize I can do things that I did not think I could do.”
  • “Mirror Words lets me be physical, teach my partner, and totally focus on my learning.”
  • “Zowies and Triple Whammies took me from spending forever writing a paragraph to do it in minutes.”
  • “I can see a difference in the character of my classmates thanks to daily use of our Character Virtues.”

I know many of these terms sound foreign to individuals without experience with Whole Brain Teaching. Some days it still feels that way to me. But if you have taken time to read these words, please know it has changed me forever as a teacher, and more importantly, it has changed my students for the better.  That is something that can never be undone.  I have poured out my heart for the Whole Brain Teaching movement.  Please take time to look at it carefully.  You never know, your students may never be the same!

Check out wholebrainteaching.com for more information or contact Sandia Elementary, New Mexico’s own Whole Brain Teaching Pilot School. (575-769-4480)

Leadership and Growth with Celestina Garcia

Leadership and Growth with Celestina Garcia

Celestina Garcia works with our teachers, families, and students around the state to develop growth and leadership skills, as well as, to equip, empower, and champion life-long learning practices useful in all areas of life.

The educational practice of reflection and evaluation supports ourselves and our students in developing key insights and wisdom to unlock the potentials in learning.

We invite you to watch and participate in the first in a series of webinars which will support educators as they take an hour to dive deep into their own practice of reflection and evaluation of 2017, build insights and wisdom around what worked and did not in the space of the year, and build out a vision for 2018 utilizing intention and leadership practices learned in our in person workshop. Enjoy!

Growth and Leadership Webinar #1 hosted by Celestina Garcia

Current School Liaisons: Is Your School Represented?

Current School Liaisons: Is Your School Represented?

The New Mexico Teacher Leader Network (NMTLN) is comprised of more than 500 teacher-leaders from districts and charters across the state. These teachers-leaders are working together to elevate the profession, share best practices, create new communications channels, bring classroom teacher voice to the forefront of policy and program conversations, and leverage all available resources in an effort to bring our professional community together, improve the quality of instruction, and dramatically improve outcomes for our students.

Here is a current list of active School Liaisons, their schools, and school districts.  Check to see if your school and/or district is represented.  Let’s continue to recruit!  If your school or district is not represented, and you are interested in becoming your school’s liaison please REGISTER HERE!

First Name Last Name School District School Name
Joey Bear Alamogordo A Montoya Elementary
Jennifer Pollard Alamogordo A Montoya Elementary
Bernagene Shay Alamogordo A Montoya Elementary
Melanie Hallbeck Alamogordo Academy Del Sol Alternative
Sarahjane Kipp Alamogordo Alamogordo High
Tracy Gorby Alamogordo Buena Vista Elementary
Jaime Acosta Alamogordo Chaparral Middle
Shawna Denney Alamogordo Chaparral Middle
Diana Jackson Alamogordo Desert Star Elementary
Krista Atkins Alamogordo Heights Elementary
Linda Grimes Alamogordo Holloman Middle
Lori Armstrong Alamogordo Mountain View Middle
Jenny Hitt Alamogordo North Elementary
Kimberly Landry Alamogordo North Elementary
Amber Carroll Alamogordo Oregon Elementary
Jessica Lop Alamogordo Sierra Elementary
Kelly Reese Alamogordo Yucca Elementary
Allison Fitzpatrick Albuquerque A Montoya Elementary
Michael Mack Albuquerque Albuquerque Charter Academy
Anna Baugh Albuquerque Alvarado Elementary
Lucy Alfonso Albuquerque Architecture Construction and Engineering Leadership High Charter
Amanda Jaramillo Albuquerque Armijo Elementary
Tracy Reynolds Albuquerque Arroyo Del Oso Elementary
Debra Cordova Albuquerque Atrisco Elementary
George Thomas Albuquerque Atrisco Heritage Academy High
Shirley Barreto Albuquerque Barcelona Elementary
Christopher McClain Albuquerque Carlos Rey Elementary
Shayna Earnest Albuquerque Cesar Chavez Community Charter
Lucille King Albuquerque Chelwood Elementary
Lesley Valencia Albuquerque Cibola High
Margaret Silva Albuquerque Cleveland Middle
Desiree Hirdman Albuquerque Collet Park Elementary
Karen Mann Albuquerque Corrales Elementary
Heather Summers Albuquerque Desert Ridge Middle
Amy Piechota Albuquerque Digital Arts and Technology Academy Charter
Michael Wood Albuquerque East Mountain High Charter
Melissa (Helen) Mick Albuquerque Ecademy Virtual High School
John Keelin Albuquerque Edmund G Ross Elementary
Jennifer Sears Albuquerque Edmund G Ross Elementary
Coleen Nelson-Schafer Albuquerque Eisenhower Middle
Jennifer Coughlin Albuquerque Eldorado High
Kayla Alvidrez Albuquerque Ernie Pyle Middle
John Potter Albuquerque Freedom High
Patricia Archuleta Albuquerque George I Sanchez Collaborative Community School
Jennifer Pollard Albuquerque Griegos Elementary
Virginia Elkhader Albuquerque Hayes Middle
Mary Lynn Salazar Albuquerque Helen Cordero Primary
Crystal Miranda Albuquerque Inez Elementary
Ian Sunderland Albuquerque International School at Mesa Del Sol Charter
Diana Santiago Albuquerque Jackson Middle
Barbara Johnson Albuquerque Jimmy Carter Middle
Bridgette Romero Albuquerque Jimmy Carter Middle
Elizabeth Lindsey Albuquerque Kit Carson Elementary
Gary Archibeck Albuquerque L B Johnson Middle
Tammy Carvin Albuquerque L B Johnson Middle
Christine Dickey Albuquerque L B Johnson Middle
Virginia Rinaldi Albuquerque La Cueva High
Shannon Johnson Albuquerque La Mesa Elementary
Dannielle Montoya Albuquerque Lew Wallace Elementary
Angela Trujillo Albuquerque Longfellow Elementary
Phillip Shamas Albuquerque Los Padillas Elementary
Eileen Maddock Albuquerque Los Puentes Charter
Anna Miller Albuquerque Madison Middle
Kathy Hoessel Albuquerque Marie M Hughes Elementary
Cara Heck Albuquerque McKinley Middle
Michael Dolce Albuquerque Media Arts Collaborative Charter
Eleanor Martindale Albuquerque Missouri Avenue Elementary
Tracy Hausermann Albuquerque Mitchell Elementary
Portia Sharp Albuquerque Navajo Elementary
Mary Rafferty Albuquerque New Futures
Steven Lamb Albuquerque North Star Elementary
Julie Geldmacher Albuquerque North Valley Academy Charter
Brian Ver Ploegh Albuquerque Nuestros Valores High Charter
Michaela Coffin Albuquerque Osuna Elementary
Erin Armijo Albuquerque Painted Sky Elementary
Reina Garcia Albuquerque Pajarito Elementary
Laurie Blackwell Albuquerque Public Academy for Performing Arts Charter
Byron Taylor Albuquerque Public Academy for Performing Arts Charter
Cathy Martin Albuquerque Reginald Chavez Elementary
Tamara Kumbalek Albuquerque Rio Grande High
Laura Flores Albuquerque Rudolfo Anaya Elementary
Brenda McCallon Albuquerque S Y Jackson Elementary
Christina Parlapiano Albuquerque S Y Jackson Elementary
Amy Chevalier Albuquerque San Antonito Elementary
Travis Tester Albuquerque Sandia Base Elementary
Kelly Eagan Albuquerque Sandia High
Kathy Wolfe James Albuquerque Sombra Del Monte Elementary
Shannon Avila Albuquerque Sunset View Elementary
Helen Maloney Albuquerque Taylor Middle
Maria Tafoya-Trotter Albuquerque Tony Hillerman Middle
Amanda Torres Albuquerque Valle Vista Elementary
Aleli Colon Albuquerque Van Buren Middle
Leslie Butcher Albuquerque Ventana Ranch Elementary
Andrea Prangley Albuquerque Volcano Vista High
Kristi Samuelson Albuquerque Washington Middle
Scott McLeod Albuquerque West Mesa High
Carmalee Pinson Albuquerque Wherry Elementary
Tessie Duran Albuquerque Whittier Elementary
Michael Bellamy Albuquerque William W and Josephine Dorn Charter
Rachel Thomas Albuquerque Zuni Elementary
Tawna Evans Animas Animas Elementary
Patricia McDougal Animas Animas Elementary
Robin Moore Animas Animas Elementary
Monica Almanza Artesia Roselawn Elementary
Kaci Whitmire Artesia Yucca Elementary
Lanea Donahoo Aztec Aztec High
Cassandra Brown Aztec C V Koogler Middle
Danielle Straate Aztec Lydia Rippey Elementary
Joshua Chavez Aztec McCoy Avenue Elementary
Amanda Knight Aztec Mosaic Academy Charter
Ashleigh Kendal Aztec Park Avenue Elementary
Cassandra Landry Belen Belen High
Toni Armijo Belen Belen Middle
Valerie Baca Belen Gil Sanchez Elementary
LeeAnne Becker Belen Jaramillo Elementary
Sharon Bussell Belen La Merced Elementary
Tara Wright Belen Rio Grande Elementary
Agusta Rodriguez-Asi Bernalillo Algodones Elementary
Amber Braden Bernalillo Bernalillo Elementary
Jennylou Pangilinan-Riel Bernalillo Bernalillo High
Lawrence Henderson II Bernalillo Bernalillo Middle
Laura Mallett Bernalillo Placitas Elementary
Donna Gina Bernalillo Santo Domingo Elementary
Elizabeth Smith Bernalillo Santo Domingo Middle
LoriAnn Spina Bernalillo Willanna D Carroll Elementary
Daniel Tabor Bloomfield Blanco Elementary
Andrea Granado Bloomfield Bloomfield Family Learning Center
David O’Hara Bloomfield Bloomfield High
Lore Mize Bloomfield Central Primary
Nida Naqvi Bloomfield Mesa Alta Junior
Mindy Olson Bloomfield Naaba Ani Elementary
Joyce Roulston Capitan Capitan High
Victoria Sedillo Capitan Capitan Middle
Joanna May Carlsbad Carlsbad Early College High
Chancy Allen Carlsbad Carlsbad High
Elizabeth Burke Carlsbad Carlsbad High
Leah Olivas Carlsbad Carlsbad Intermediate School
Lavonn Means Carlsbad Carlsbad Sixth Grade Academy
Marilyn Taylor Carlsbad Carlsbad Sixth Grade Academy
Michelle Fierro Carlsbad Craft Elementary
Debra Jim Carlsbad Desert Willow Elementary
Nancy Johnson Carlsbad Desert Willow Elementary
Paula Spencer Carlsbad Desert Willow Elementary
Lindsay Garza Carlsbad Early Childhood Education Center
Nancy Phipps Carlsbad Early Childhood Education Center
Maren Folsom Carlsbad Early Childhood Program
Lonnie Castillo Carlsbad Joe Stanley Smith Elementary
Melissa Lawrence-Bridges Carlsbad Monterrey Elementary
Vince Homer Carlsbad Pecos Connections Academy
Shawn Ballard Carlsbad Sunset Elementary
Elizabeth Barela Carrizozo Carrizozo Elementary
Vesta Mizell Central Consolidated Career Preparatory Alternative
Nancy Nelson Central Consolidated Central High
Joy Lee Central Consolidated Eva B Stokely Elementary
Mary Whipple Central Consolidated Judy Nelson Elementary School
Nicole Baked Central Consolidated Kirtland Elementary
Casey Kelly Central Consolidated Kirtland Middle
Viola Denetclaw-Benally Central Consolidated Mesa Elementary
Sheryl Maxwell Central Consolidated Naschitti Elementary
Carena Begay Central Consolidated Newcomb High
Hannelore Collyer Central Consolidated Newcomb Middle
Caprice Hoeveler Central Consolidated Nizhoni Elementary
Diane Foster Central Consolidated Ojo Amarillo Elementary
Amy John Central Consolidated Tse Bit Ai Middle
Terri Lindstrom Chama Tierra Amarilla Elementary
Tiffany Airington Cimarron Cimarron High
Erica Roybal Cimarron Cimarron Middle
Cindy Carr Cimarron Eagle Nest Elementary
Dana McBee Cimarron Eagle Nest Middle
Elizabeth Tafoya Cimarron Moreno Valley High Charter
Janis Ruf Clayton Alvis Elementary
Sheila Harris Clayton Clayton High
Sarah Lee Cloudcroft Cloudcroft Elementary
Kelly Goss Cloudcroft Cloudcroft High
Shelia Fitch Clovis Barry Elementary
Shelly Grim Clovis Bella Vista Elementary
Joy Martin Clovis Cameo Elementary
Adrian Lucero Clovis Clovis High
Tanya Mirabal Clovis Clovis High
Scott Schumpert Clovis Clovis High Freshman Campus
Jana Vetterly Clovis Highland Elementary
Jody Burrage Clovis James Bickley Elementary
Susann Romero Clovis La Casita Elementary
Brenda Gaither Clovis Lockwood Elementary
Dustie Gonzalez Clovis Marshall Middle
Krisa Engel Clovis Mesa Elementary
Kathryn Gonzales Clovis Mesa Elementary
Vicki Guiffre Clovis Parkview Elementary
Corey Lucero Clovis Sandia Elementary
Eric Collings Clovis WD Gattis Middle School
Shane Leatherwood Clovis Yucca Middle
Regina Griego Clovis Zia Elementary
Sandra Montoya Cobre Consolidated Cobre High
Anisse Salcido Cobre Consolidated Hurley Elementary
Nicole Baker Cobre Consolidated Kirtland Elementary
Hampton Burnette Cobre Consolidated Snell Middle
Roxanne Erramouspe Corona Corona High
Daniel Delgado Cuba Cuba High
Kathleen Lujan Cuba Cuba Middle
Joslynn Garcia Deming Bataan Elementary
Jessica Cabrera Deming Bell Elementary
Cindy Burger Deming Chaparral Elementary
Rachel Gomez Deming Columbus Elementary
Daniel Gamboa Deming Deming High
KeriBeth Coker Deming Deming Intermediate
Abby Harvey Deming Memorial Elementary
Ona Renee Hethcox Deming My Little School
Monika Velez Deming Red Mountain Middle
Lorena Mesta Deming Ruben S Torres Elementary
Sue Vincent Des Moines Des Moines Elementary
Heidi Karr Des Moines Des Moines High
Greg Smith Dexter Dexter High
Shannon Aguilar Dexter Dexter Middle
Joe Fletcher Dora Dora High
Nancy Jobe Dulce Dulce Junior/Senior High School
Kristi Victor Elida Elida Elementary
Karen Martinez Espanola Alcalde Elementary
Yvette Bakken Espanola Carlos F Vigil Middle
Jessica Montoya Eunice Caton Middle
Jo Anna Foreman Eunice Mettie Jordan Elementary
Tena Joslin Farmington A Montoya Elementary
Nadine Chatto Farmington Animas Elementary
Sandra Fusco Farmington Apache Elementary
Kristin Lewis Farmington Bluffview Elementary
Amy Hill Farmington Cate Center Preschool
Anna Richards Farmington Country Club Elementary
Melissa Vigil Farmington Esperanza Elementary
Jerome Jones Farmington Farmington High
Allison Bouren Farmington Heights Middle
Courtney Reece Courtney Farmington Hermosa Middle
Becky Ferris Farmington Ladera Del Norte Elementary
Lisa Holmes Farmington McCormick Elementary
Courtney Weidner Farmington McKinley Elementary
Amy Dumas Farmington Mesa Verde Elementary
Chris Jones Farmington Mesa View Middle
Kelli Loudermilk Farmington NM Virtual Academy
Julius Soroko Farmington Piedra Vista High
Elizabeth Hoza Farmington Rocinante High
Kathryn Severson Farmington San Juan College High School
Robert Silentman Farmington Tibbetts Middle
Debora Barnard Floyd Floyd Middle
Molly Jensen Ft. Sumner Fort Sumner Elementary
Cynthia Lucero Ft. Sumner Fort Sumner Middle
Carol Gutierrez Gadsden Chaparral High
Frances Arocha Gadsden Desert Trail Elementary
Cynthia Brown Gadsden Desert Trail Elementary
Saul Nunez Gadsden Gadsden High
Stephanie Verlander Gadsden Gadsden High
Christine Norris Gadsden Gadsden Middle
Sandra Galindo Gadsden Riverside Elementary
Candice Herrera Gadsden Santa Teresa Elementary
Rebecca Lusk Gadsden Santa Teresa High
Elsa Contreras Gadsden Vado Elementary
Erika Acosta Gadsden Yucca Heights Elementary
Kevin Bates Gallup-McKinley Central High
Yi-Ling Lin Gallup-McKinley Chee Dodge Elementary
Michele Reeves Gallup-McKinley Chief Manuelito Middle
Cristina Tolentino Gallup-McKinley Crownpoint High
Sheila Ganzon Gallup-McKinley Crownpoint Middle
Sheila Marie Ganzon Gallup-McKinley Crownpoint Middle
Melzina Lewis Gallup-McKinley David Skeet Elementary
Jake Walters Gallup-McKinley Del Norte Elementary
Connie Cuellar Gallup-McKinley Gallup High
Toni Towery Gallup-McKinley Gallup Middle
Rachel Kreider Gallup-McKinley Indian Hills Elementary
Angela Karpinski Gallup-McKinley Jefferson Elementary
Jamey Lowrey Gallup-McKinley Lincoln Elementary
Michael Cunanan Gallup-McKinley Middle College High Charter
Gina Spolar Gallup-McKinley Miyamura High
Boyd Lewis Gallup-McKinley Ramah Elementary
Sasha Garner Gallup-McKinley Thoreau Elementary
Fe Quiambao Gallup-McKinley Thoreau High
Kerenthia Swan Gallup-McKinley Thoreau High
Elisa Fanning Gallup-McKinley Thoreau Middle
Viola Hoskie Gallup-McKinley Tobe Turpen Elementary
Carrie McGill Gallup-McKinley Tohatchi High
Jennie Piepkorn Grady Grady High
Michelle Leigh Gallegos Grants/Cibola County Cubero Elementary
Laura Arrasmith Grants/Cibola County Laguna Acoma High
Teresa Butcher Grants/Cibola County Laguna Acoma High
Ingrid Gonzales Grants/Cibola County Milan Elementary
Stephanie Lindsey Hagerman Hagerman Elementary
Codi Montes-Dennis Hagerman Hagerman High
Audra Bluehouse Hatch Hatch Valley High
Latishia Zamora Hatch Hatch Valley Middle
Brandy Holguin Hatch Rio Grande Elementary
Connie Holland Hobbs College Lane Elementary
Kayla Stratton Hobbs College Lane Elementary
Trish Elmore Hobbs Coronado Elementary
Kim Portillo Hobbs Helen Cordero Primary
Guadalupe Saldana Hobbs Hobbs Freshman
Nancy Gibson Hobbs Hobbs High
Irene Medrano Hobbs Houston Junior
Bonnie Salazar Hobbs Southern Heights Elementary
Michelle Sanford Hobbs Taylor Elementary
Yvonne Rich Hondo Hondo Elementary
Susan Kluthe Hondo Hondo High
Crystal Boyd House House High
Michelle Lopez Jal Jal Elementary
Frank Chacon Jemez Mountain Coronado High
Rachel Fuchs Jemez Mountain Lindrith Area Heritage Charter
Cassandra Batdorf Jemez Valley Jemez Valley Middle
Valerie Shaw Jemez Valley San Diego Riverside Charter
Becki Hammond Lake Arthur Lake Arthur Elementary
Mari Cooke Las Cruces A Montoya Elementary
Anne Kuhn Las Cruces Alternative School at Mesilla Valley
Jamie Baker Las Cruces Arrowhead Park Medical Academy
Xanthe Phillips Las Cruces Camino Real Middle
Sara Zemler Las Cruces Centennial High School
Patricia Chavarria Las Cruces Cesar Chavez Elementary
Melissa Madrid Las Cruces Columbia Elementary
Christine Hendrix Las Cruces Dona Ana Elementary
Carol Owensby Las Cruces Early College High School
Morgan Rivera Las Cruces Highland Elementary
Lisa Hufstedler Las Cruces Las Cruces High
Marina Torrez Las Cruces Mesa Middle
Kerry Turner Las Cruces Mesilla Park Elementary
Robbi Berry Las Cruces Monte Vista Elementary
Jamie Villagrana Las Cruces Monte Vista Elementary
Tiffany Barry Las Cruces Onate High
Caroline Marrufo Las Cruces University Hills Elementary
Emilia Linley Las Cruces Valley View Elementary
David Luera Las Cruces Vista Middle
Anna Suggs Las Cruces Zia Middle
Sonya Romero Las Vegas City A Montoya Elementary
Leroy Barela Las Vegas City Memorial Middle
Latania Marr Las Vegas City Robertson High
Jacqueline Gomez-Aragon Las Vegas City Sierra Vista Elementary
Patricia Mendoza Las Vegas City Sierra Vista Elementary
Kelley Feerer Logan Logan Elementary
Crystal Terrell Logan Logan High
Kimberly Roark Lordsburg Dugan Tarango Middle
Anneliese Kvamme Lordsburg Lordsburg High
Sara Snowball Los Alamos Aspen Elementary
Debbie Grothaus Los Alamos Los Alamos High
Suzette Williams Los Alamos Los Alamos Middle
Michele Altherr Los Alamos Mountain Elementary
Reynie Benelli Los Alamos Pinon Elementary
Sara Graf Los Lunas Desert View Elementary
Albert Ibarra Los Lunas Desert View Elementary
Jason McKinney Los Lunas Los Lunas Middle
Cristy Burt Los Lunas Sunland Park Elementary
Nicole Mora-Atencio Los Lunas Tome Elementary
Rachel Bate Los Lunas Valencia Elementary
Christa Johnson Los Lunas Valencia Middle
Haley Finch Loving Loving Elementary
Laura Janzen Loving Loving Middle
Margarita Piñon Lovington Ben Alexander Elementary
Lisa Parker Lovington Jefferson Elementary
Miranda Stoneman Lovington Lea Elementary
Loretta Corral Lovington Lovington 6th Grade Academy
Yazmin Izquierdo Lovington Lovington 6th Grade Academy
Candy Raines Lovington Lovington High
Gina Hutchins Lovington Yarbro Elementary
Jennifer Armstrong Magdalena Magdalena Elementary
Andrea French Maxwell Maxwell Elementary
Matthew Jolley Maxwell Maxwell High
Kelly Jones Maxwell Maxwell High
Jennifer Gonzales Moriarty-Edgewood Moriarty Elementary
Justine Ortega Moriarty-Edgewood Moriarty Middle
Dana Vallejos Moriarty-Edgewood Route 66 Elementary
Elizabeth Goodson Moriarty-Edgewood South Mountain Elementary
Penny Williams-Riley Mountainair Mountainair Elementary
Libby Clinton Pecos Pecos Elementary
Ramona Medina-Pacheco Pecos Pecos High
Rosie Quintana Pecos Pecos Middle
Jessica Esquibel Penasco Penasco Middle
Rosa Pacheco-Romero Penasco Penasco Middle
Natalie Jackson Pojoaque Valley Pablo Roybal Elementary
Michelle Victor Portales Brown Early Childhood Center
Bridget Segovia Portales James Elementary
Ofelia Alvarez Portales Lindsey Steiner Elementary
Matthew Christensen Portales Portales High
Dinah McAlister Portales Portales High
Dianne Kemp Portales Portales Junior
Tammy Sharp Portales Valencia Elementary
Maria Cintas Questa Questa High
Diane León Questa Questa Junior
Cassie Hightree Raton Longfellow Elementary
Joleene Starr Raton Raton Intermediate
Mary Hastings Reserve Reserve Elementary
Joline Lambson Rio Rancho Cielo Azul Elementary
Cindy Shafer Rio Rancho Colinas Del Norte Elementary
Shana Speicher Rio Rancho Eagle Ridge Middle
Misty Hunter Rio Rancho Enchanted Hills Elementary
Brook Lundie Rio Rancho Ernest Stapleton Elementary
Shannon Ryan Rio Rancho Lavaland Elementary
Kelly Pearce Rio Rancho Lincoln Middle
Alexandra Ruybal Rio Rancho Martin Luther King Jr Elementary
Jessica Buttermore Rio Rancho Rio Rancho Elementary
Christine Carson Rio Rancho Rio Rancho High
Ray Henderson Rio Rancho Rio Rancho High
Marilyn Padget Rio Rancho Sandia Vista Elementary
Carla Chavez Rio Rancho V Sue Cleveland High
VeAundrea Smith Rio Rancho Vista Grande Elementary
Angie McDonald Roswell Berrendo Middle
Peggy Rogers Roswell Del Norte Elementary
Ricardo Valenzuela Roswell Goddard High
Jamie Furney Roswell Mesa Middle
Kris Ard Roswell Military Heights Elementary
Christina Reyer Roswell Missouri Avenue Elementary
Letitia Benitez Roswell Monterrey Elementary
Irma Acosta Roswell Mountain View Middle
Laura Ramirez Roswell Nancy Lopez Elementary
Stacey Eberhart Roswell Roswell High
Crystal Lethgo Roswell Sunset Elementary
Andrea Batista Roswell University High
Mark Johnson Roswell Valley View Elementary
Deanna Walker Roy Roy Elementary
Robyn Draper Ruidoso Ruidoso Middle
Melvina Torres Ruidoso Sierra Vista Primary
Anna Weaver Ruidoso White Mountain Elementary
Tera Wong-Williams San Jon San Jon Middle
J Michael A Sisneros Santa Fe A Montoya Elementary
Vanessa Vigil Santa Fe A Montoya Elementary
Jenifer Hooten Santa Fe Academy for Technology and the Classics Charter
Giordana Di Ruggiero Santa Fe Amy Biehl Community School At Rancho Viejo
Melissa Kovac Santa Fe Amy Biehl Community School At Rancho Viejo
Julia Morey-Di Ruggiero Santa Fe Amy Biehl Community School At Rancho Viejo
Sharon Scarlott Santa Fe Amy Biehl Community School At Rancho Viejo
Kimberly Miera Santa Fe Aspen Community Magnet School
Lynn Osborne Santa Fe Aspen Community Magnet School
Samantha Koroneos Santa Fe Atalaya Elementary
Natalia Garcia Santa Fe Capital High
Jill Hutchinson-Bass Santa Fe Carlos Gilbert Elementary
Jose Lopez Santa Fe Cesar Chavez Elementary
Arturo Lujan Santa Fe Cesar Chavez Elementary
Angela Abbate Santa Fe Chaparral Elementary
Gary Bass Santa Fe El Camino Real Academy Community
Deborah Ungar Santa Fe Francis X Nava Elementary
Trish Gharrity Santa Fe Kearny Elementary
Joan Henderson Santa Fe Monte Del Sol Charter School
Shira Leitson-Grabelsky Santa Fe NM School for the Deaf
Brittany Behenna Griffith Santa Fe NYE Early Childhood
Mona Khazee Santa Fe Ramirez Thomas Elementary
Jackie Gerstein Santa Fe Salazar Elementary
Joyce Sanchez Santa Fe Salazar Elementary
Jeff Davis Santa Fe Turquoise Trail Charter Elementary School
Heather Herd Santa Fe Turquoise Trail Charter Elementary School
Susan Zamora Santa Rosa Santa Rosa Elementary
Benjamin Duran Silver City G W Stout Elementary
Chrissie Souders Silver City G W Stout Elementary
Roxanne Ogas Silver City Harrison Schmitt Elementary
Patricia Kimmick Silver City Opportunity High
Andy Broyles Silver City Silver High
Denise Gilson Socorro Cottonwood Valley Charter
Angela Murphy Socorro Midway Elementary
Sara Drueckhammer Socorro Raymond Sarracino Middle
Melanie Sanchez Socorro San Antonio Elementary
Azza Ezzat Socorro Socorro High
Mary Lloyd Springer Cimarron Elementary
Marlene Pittman Springer Eagle Nest Elementary
Christina Vigil Springer Springer High
Inez Jacobs STATE Charter Academy of Trades and Technology Charter
Whitney Fien Gretton STATE Charter Albuquerque School of Excellence Charter
Vickie Kwiecinski STATE Charter Albuquerque School of Excellence Charter
Sandra Beaudet STATE Charter Attitude Skills and Knowledge Academy Charter (ASK)
Greg Butz STATE Charter Cottonwood Classical Preparatory Charter
Marissa Bannerman STATE Charter Explore Academy
Louis Gonzalez STATE Charter Health Leadership High School
Linda Stoffan STATE Charter Horizon Academy West Charter
Louise Montoya STATE Charter International School at Mesa Del Sol Charter
Virginia Gallegos STATE Charter La Academia Dolores Huerta
Robert Arneson STATE Charter Las Montanas Charter High School
Laureen Pepersack STATE Charter McCurdy Charter School
Sonny Sapien STATE Charter Mission Achievement and Success
Fred Hintze STATE Charter New America School Charter
Freda Daugherty STATE Charter NM Connections Academy
Acacia McCombs STATE Charter NM School for the Arts Charter
Kimberly Ritterhouse STATE Charter Red River Valley Charter
Margaret Bartlett STATE Charter Roots and Wings Community
Militza Zamora de Geisel STATE Charter Sandoval Academy of Bilingual Education
Alanna Purdy STATE Charter Six Directions Indigenous School
Rebecca Weldon STATE Charter Southwest Secondary Learning Center Charter
Jose Garcia-Galvez STATE Charter SW Aeronautics Mathematics and Science Academy
Linda Seto STATE Charter Taos Integrated School for the Arts Charter
Tammy Dobbs Taos Anansi Charter
Sarah Bradley Taos Enos Garcia Elementary
Katherine Duran Taos Taos High
Tracy Galligan Taos Taos High
Emy Martinez-DeHerrera Taos Taos High
Ella Rael Taos Taos Middle
Scott Tennant Taos Taos Municipal Charter
Doug Schwartz Texico Texico Elementary
Melissa Durham Texico Texico High
Debre Allen Truth or Consequences Hot Springs High
Ava Bartoo Truth or Consequences T or C Middle
Kandy Hutchins Tucumcari Tucumcari High
ROBERT LAMM Tucumcari Tucumcari High
Tammie Morales Tularosa A Montoya Elementary
Elise Mathewson Tularosa Tularosa Elementary
Krystian Grace Tularosa Tularosa Intermediate
Tracy Holmes Vaughn Vaughn Elementary
Patricia Duran Wagon Mound Wagon Mound Elementary
Janice Encinias Wagon Mound Wagon Mound High
Tracy Baca-Arguello West Las Vegas Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary
Aja Currey West Las Vegas Rio Gallinas Ecology and the Arts Charter
Mary Jean Aragon West Las Vegas West Las Vegas Middle
Michael Tenorio West Las Vegas West Las Vegas Middle
Rebecca Gordon Zuni Zuni High
Hot Topics in NM Education

Hot Topics in NM Education

Straight “A” Express Chugs Along! The Straight A Train made several stops last week. First stop was in Los Alamos where Secretary Ruszkowski and his team met with students, teachers, school leaders, and board members to celebrate the district’s six “A” schools. Check out coverage in the Los Alamos Daily Post.  The next stops were Cobre and Silver. Check out this incredible article in the Silver City Daily Press. Special thank you to the teacher leaders for the special warm welcome for the PED team!

 

Our Students…RISING! The 2017 winners of the Summer Reading Challenge were announced last week! Balloon ride winners had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon with Governor Martinez on Saturday morning. Aracely Mendoza from Gadsden Elementary School in Anthony won the grand prize of an all-expense-paid family vacation to Disney. Check out coverage on all the winners on KRQE. Make sure to encourage your students to participate next summer!!

Bringing in the Bacon! New Mexico has earned more than $42 Million in federal grants for early literacy and quality options for parents. This month the New Mexico Striving Readers “NM Literacy Connections” grant totals $20 Million over the next three years and the New Mexico Charter Schools Program grant totals more than $22 Million over the next five years. Check out coverage in the Roswell Daily Record. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about either grant!

Weekly Highlights

Weekly Highlights

Hot off the Press: Charter schools were a hot topic this week. “More or Moratorium?” – was the name of a panel that took place in Santa Fe discussing the pros and cons of charter schools. Katie Poulos (Director of Options for Parents) sat on the panel. Check out the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican today.

Charter Grant: The Public Education Department scored a major federal grant this past week – $22,507,806.22 to be exact! Check out coverage in the Associated Press and the Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico True Straight “A” Express Tour: Secretary Ruszkowski and PED team members continued the unprecedented tour around the state that is being talked about in all four corners! This week’s stops included: Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Los Lunas, and Belen. Check out coverage in the Albuquerque Journal and the Rio Rancho Observer. Be sure to check out our blog to stay up-to-date!

Blue Ribbon Schools: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recognized three New Mexico schools for winning the National Blue Ribbon School award – Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces, Desert View Elementary School in Sunland Park, and Wood Gormley Elementary School in Santa Fe. We are thrilled! Congratulations to these schools for their hard work. Check out the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.                           

505 Scholars: Secretary R and three other cabinet secretaries joined Governor Martinez in announcing the 505 Southwestern New Mexico True Scholars scholarship program – an opportunity for students interested in making a positive impact on the agriculture industry in New Mexico. The press conference took place at Flagship Food Group warehouse in Albuquerque. Check out the coverage and incredible photo in the Los Alamos Daily Post. If you know anyone interested in applying for the $5,000 scholarship, visit the New Mexico 505 Scholars webpage.

New Mexico PED Announces More High-Performing Teachers Than Ever Before

New Mexico PED Announces More High-Performing Teachers Than Ever Before

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Today, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) announced that New Mexico has more high-performing teachers than ever before. The 2017 NMTEACH results show more students have access to exceptional teachers, and more students are growing across all subject areas.  Similar to the state’s results in PARCC, School Grades, Advanced Placement access and success, and graduation rates, the NMTEACH system is demonstrating that setting a high bar, closing honesty gaps, and embracing accountability sets New Mexico’s students, teachers, and schools up for success.

 

“I’m proud of our teachers statewide for rising to the challenge,” said Governor Martinez. “We know every student has the potential to succeed and they deserve the very best educators to ensure they are growing and prepared for college and a career. Our teachers deserve honest feedback that will help them improve in their craft. In New Mexico, we have elevated the profession, and will continue to do so by equipping, empowering, and championing our teachers.”

 

New Mexico is on the rise, academically, with 32,000 more students in A & B schools, 15,000 more students on grade-level in math and reading, the highest graduation rate in state history at 71 percent, and more students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams than ever before. The state’s commitment to educator quality is a major reason why these student results are rising. And districts like Farmington, Alamogordo, Gadsden, Belen and Hobbs are showing incredible growth and progress by embracing reform and partnering with the PED in successful programs like Principals Pursuing Excellence (PPE).  PPE is a program that puts teacher observation, coaching, and data analysis at the heart of school leaders’ work.

 

“Districts and schools must seize this opportunity to reward and retain their best teachers, create new mentoring and induction systems, individualize coaching and professional development, and revisit placement and staffing procedures to ensure all students, regardless of background or zip code, have access to excellent educators,” said Education Secretary-Designate Christopher Ruszkowski. “As a former middle school social studies teacher who wanted to grow in my craft and career, I know first-hand how important it is to have a meaningful teacher evaluation system that puts student growth front-and-center. For decades, we as educators bemoaned not having the tools or information to professionalize teaching. Those days are over in New Mexico—and we must come together to build upon this foundations in the days and months ahead.”

 

Based upon multiple measures of teacher performance, including observations, surveys, student achievement growth, and teacher attendance, the NMTEACH system has now been in-place statewide for four academic years.  The system was developed in consultation with stakeholders statewide and after a pilot year in select districts and charters.  Recently, Governor Martinez announced a shift in state policy based upon extensive stakeholder input and teacher-developed policy recommendations—it aligned with leading research on teacher effectiveness and took into consideration performance data on measures such as teacher attendance.  Recently released research on NMTEACH highlighted it as one of the strongest and most honest teacher evaluation systems in the country.

 

The PED collects and collates school and district data on each teacher’s performance, and released teacher summative reports to districts and charter schools on August 31, 2017. This year, the data was released earlier than ever before. Throughout the past week, teachers and principals have had the opportunity to discuss student and classroom performance— another place where the PED has been responsive to stakeholder input.

Guest Post: Summertime Reflections That Will Make This Year Easier

Guest Post: Summertime Reflections That Will Make This Year Easier

Have you seen any of the teacher memes on Pinterest emphasizing the differences between teachers in August and Teachers in May? I find them to be hilarious but completely accurate. The end of May equals exhaustion.

Every. Single. Year.

I have come to realize that running out of energy just as the school year ends is OK. That the natural consequence of ten months of hard work is fatigue. However, I have also learned that there are things I can do during the summer that will greatly lighten my load during the following year. Taking a break from all things school related is essential. The time available to “just do nothing” varies from teacher to teacher and from year to year. Read books that have nothing to do with education. Sleep late. Watch a movie. Go for a walk or a run. There is no wrong way to rest, relax, and recharge.

Taking time to reflect on the previous school year is also important. What did you do well? What were your greatest challenges? Make a list of the things you would like to do differently, and then prioritize that list. If you don’t do so already, creating a pacing guide for each subject you teach is the most significant thing you can do to begin lightening next year’s load. Start by printing a blank calendar for each month of the school year. Note holidays, testing dates, and early dismissal days. Record when progress reports are scheduled, when grades close each quarter, and when final exams will be given. After making a list of required units, determine both the start date and the test date of each. This step is harder than it looks which is why I use a pencil with a good eraser! If school starts the middle of August, the first unit will probably be complete around Labor Day. Do you give that first test the Friday before the three day weekend? If not, will you need to review on the following Tuesday before testing on Wednesday? How many units need to be completed by the end of the first semester? How much time do you need to review for EoC’s in the spring? The first time I sat down and gave serious thought to the pacing of units, I was shocked to realize that there were only two teaching days available the week of Thanksgiving; there was NO way to complete a chapter’s worth of work that time frame. There is also a surprisingly small window of teaching time between Thanksgiving and semester exams. Continue this process until your calendar is complete. Remember to leave a few days open for things that will come up unexpectedly and throw you off track. The next step is to tackle your unit plans.

It seems that once the school year starts, I have very little time to think about what and how I want to teach. To me, this is much more easily done when school is not in session. I go through each unit, updating note packets, modifying quizzes and tests, and improving activities and labs. I also eliminate material that is no longer useful. Taking time during the summer to improve the content of my lessons greatly lowers my anxiety throughout the year. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies to the way I use summertime reflections to improve my health and happiness throughout the school year. While it may be impossible to eliminate the weariness that accompanies those final weeks of school, the days leading up to that point are certainly less stressful.

Melissa Burnett is a science teacher at Artesia High School and serves as an Ambassador for the New Mexico Teacher Leader Network.