Tag: ELA

Every Student Deserves a High-Performing School

Every Student Deserves a High-Performing School

The Release of School Grades

School Grades were recently released to the public.

Our school accountability system has earned a lot of praise for being clear and understandable for families—and this year our reports are even more family friendly following our yearlong ESSA tour. Check out the great coverage all over the state in the ABQ Journal, the Associated Press, KOAT, KOB, KRQE, the Deming Headlight, the Carlsbad Current Argus, the Farmington Daily News, and the Alamogordo Daily News.  The story on Gil Sanchez Elementary might be my favorite yet as we seek to identify and scale best practices across the state.

Background on School Grading

School Grading is part of state and federal statute that mandates accountability for all public schools.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), originally enacted in 1965, requires schools to show annual improvement in mathematics and reading. In 2011, New Mexico lawmakers enacted additional requirements that schools demonstrate progress through a grading system similar to that applied to students, A-B-C-D-F.

School Grades provide a consistent measure (now over six years) for all public schools across the state so that we can see which schools are doing well and which schools are struggling and need support.

Working for Success

Schools that embrace change, get results. School improvement is a CHOICE. Our districts and schools that continue to embrace change and new opportunities for kids are continuing to see success.

Our 15 largest districts are serving more than 60% of students in the state. The following large districts are examples of those that have embraced change over the years and are now showing strong improvements – not only increasing the number of “A” schools within their districts – but also by drastically reducing the amount of “F” schools within their districts:

  • Farmington has eliminated “F” schools and increased the amount of “A” schools

o   In 2012, 6% of its schools were “F” schools, today the district has 0 “F” schools

o   In 2012, Farmington had no “A” schools, today 37% of its schools are “A” schools

  • Gadsden has eliminated “F” schools and increased the amount of “A” schools

o   In 2012, 9% of its schools were “F” schools, today the district has 0 “F” schools

o   The district has grown the number of “A” schools by 4%

  • Alamogordo has eliminated “F” schools.

o   In 2012, 13% of its schools were “F” schools, today the district has 0 “F” schools

o   The district has grown the number of “A” schools by 14%

Our Students Deserve Better

Our most struggling students deserve better. Many of NM’s schools are not doing a good job serving their lowest performing students that are well below grade level in math and reading.

Here’s what we can do, together, about the growing divide of schools on the rise and those that are not making progress or are sliding backwards:

  1. When schools are struggling, they can choose to improve.  Over the past five years, New Mexico has invested significant resources and developed proven programs and that are getting results for kids.  Principals Pursuing Excellence (PPE) and Teacher Pursuing Excellence (TPE) are two examples of those—school turnaround programs available for struggling schools that are ready to change and grow.
  2. Under NM’s top-rated State ESSA Plan, districts are required to take action when a school persistently earns “F’s” 4, 5 or 6 years in a row.  Several of New Mexico’s schools will be under the umbrella of the “More Rigorous Interventions” category—which requires district’s to choose a different path forward.
  3. When our kids are trapped in persistently failing schools, they have options under state law.  Students enrolled in schools that have earned two “F” grades in the last four years have the right to attend a different school.
  4. When charter schools are persistently “D” and “F”, the NM PED has a moral and educational responsibility to recommend to the Public Education Commission (PEC) that their charter be considered for revocation.

What You Can Do

The release of school grades can be an exciting time for some, but we also recognize it can be a sobering time for others.

If your school received a lower grade, put yourself in the shoes of a student who received a similar grade. What would you say to them? How would you encourage them? What immediate actions would you ask them to take? Give yourself (and any colleagues that need it) the same advice.

Once you’ve processed, here are easy and quick ways to start leaning in as a teacher, to lead toward improvement:

  1. Next time you see your principal, let them know you are ready and willing to help. Ask them what you can do to help improve!
  2. Dive into the full School Grade Report, not just the first page. Identify ONE thing to celebrate and ONE area for improvement.
  3. BE A GREAT TEACHER. Dive into your student level data, identify what your kiddos need and deliver. Your students can have a positive impact on the whole school’s grade.
  4. Last, but not least. Remember, we at the NM PED are here to help! We can provide a pick me up, encouragement or expert help! Just ask!

Hear It From Teachers

Check out what teachers around NM have to say about their school’s grade.

My school went from a D to a C….. we know we are moving up to a B next year!  We are positive! We are working harder than ever….. although our amazing principal did say in today’s meeting…. “It’s not about our grade, it’s about making sure we are preparing these students!”  So, in reality, our prayer and hope to move to a B, is just our journey and knowing we are doing everything we can to get these kiddos moving in the right direction!  Work hard…. 3 year old program- to our 6th grade programs. Just work hard!  Hurley Elementary School, Cobre Consolidated Schools

Deming Intermediate went from an F to being less than 2 points away from a C.  So proud of my school!!! Deming Intermediate School, Deming Public Schools

We went up, in both our elementary and middle school, from a D to a B!!!!!  Pretty dang proud of our students and staff! Eagle Nest Elementary and Middle School, Cimarron Public Schools

My school went from a D to a C. We as a school are prepared to work even harder to move up to a B or even an A. Colinas del Norte Elementary School, Rio Rancho Public Schools

Our little school went back up to an A as well. The staff is excited and so are the kids! Reserve High School, Reserve Public Schools

Our school moved up from a D to a C, missing a B by 5 points. We are determined to get that B or A next year. We are the largest school in SFPS with the highest ELL and Special Learning population in the district! We are so proud of our students and teachers! Capital High School, Santa Fe Public Schools

Going the Distance

Going the Distance

When my nine-year-old son recently ran his first cross-country race, he joined a long line of long-distance runners. My entire family is obsessed with running—from my sister, who coaches a high school cross-country team, to my niece, who is a state champion long-distance runner. I’ve run my fair share of 5Ks and even trained for and completed a half-marathon! I guess you could say running just runs in our family.

My family also is full of teachers. My mother is a teacher, my sister and I used to teach in neighboring classrooms at Volcano Vista High School, and my son just finished the third-grade with my cousin as his teacher. We even have a few college instructors among us!

In a way, it isn’t surprising that our family is passionate for both long-distance running and education. Jogging thirteen miles and teaching a classroom of kids are similarly exhausting—but rewarding—activities. Both often involve waking up way too early in the morning. Both require a huge time commitment and determination in the face of discouragement. And both revolve around aiming high and working toward a distant goal: either making it to the finish line or helping students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and beyond.

But while a half-marathon has always been 13.1 miles, the definition of success for our students today is markedly different than it was when I was in school years ago. To be a smart citizen, consumer, and competitive in the workforce in 2017, you have to be able to think critically, understand other perspectives, and clearly explain your own ideas. The bar is higher now, and the race to reach it is more fast-paced and competitive than ever. As a teacher, I know we need to help students today be prepared for that race by challenging them to meet higher academic standards.

Higher expectations for students translate into different expectations for teachers, too. This notion fuels my work with the Secretary’s Teacher Advisory, a committee of teachers from around the state who have the ear of Acting Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski on topics like school grades, standardized testing, and NMTEACH summative reports. There is no question that this is hard work and we certainly don’t agree on everything. As a group of dedicated teachers, we are focused on equipping and empowering teachers in order to, in turn, do the same for our students. We believe that when teachers reflect on how they teach and shift their practice to better support their students in meeting the standards, students will be more likely to succeed.

And the good news this is exactly what’s happening: New Mexico students are making gains and increasingly meeting the higher expectations that we’ve set for them with the New Mexico Common Core State Standards.

Despite this fantastic progress, we still have a long way to go. Only 19.7 percent of New Mexico students are proficient in math, and about 28.6 percent are proficient in reading. If we want more of our students to reach the finish line of graduating high school ready for college and careers, then we need to stay the course with our high standards and aligned assessments. We also need to ensure that teachers get feedback and support to help their students meet the standards. We’re on the right track here in New Mexico, and with some perseverance and renewed energy, we can truly help our young people go the distance.

New Mexico Continues to Rise – 2017 State Assessment Results Released

New Mexico Continues to Rise – 2017 State Assessment Results Released

In case you missed it, 2017 New Mexico state assessment results were released last week. Check out these key highlights of our statewide data.

New Mexico’s students are on the rise across most of the state’s BIGGEST districts.

New Mexico’s ten largest districts serve more than half of the state’s student population. Almost all of these districts now have many more kids reading and doing math on grade-level since the new baseline was established via the first administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in 2015.

  • Large NM Districts with some of the strongest gains:
    • Farmington
      • ELA proficiency is up 11.5%
      • Math proficiency is up 5.8%
    • Gadsden
      • ELA proficiency is up 10.7%
      • Math proficiency is up 6.9%
    • Gallup
      • ELA proficiency is up 5.6%
      • Math proficiency is up 3.7%
    •  Hobbs
      • ELA proficiency is up 9.2%
      • Math proficiency is up 5.1%

In New Mexico, school improvement is a CHOICE. Schools embracing change are showing results for kids.

When our districts and schools demonstrate belief in every student’s potential and embrace partnerships and best practices, they see results for our kids. Principals Pursuing Excellence (PPE) & Teachers Pursuing Excellence (TPE) are prime examples of targeted investments and collaboration that are changing kids’ lives.

  •  In 124 PPE schools (four cohorts) serving more than 28,000 tested students, academic achievement is on the rise from 2015 to 2017:
    •  ELA proficiency is up 7.2%
    •  Math proficiency is up 4%
  • PPE schools (Cohorts 1-4) are closing achievement gaps when compared to non-PPE schools: In Math a 4% point gap is now a 2% point gap. In ELA a 7% point gap is now a 1% point gap.

The eight TPE schools (within Belen, Penasco, Farmington, & Alamogordo) have embraced another statewide initiative and have shown impressive results from 2015 to 2017:

  • ELA proficiency is up 10.3% in TPE schools
  • Math proficiency is up 10.6% in TPE schools

New Mexico established higher expectations for our kids in 2015 (new baseline year) that were college-and-career ready aligned—and our students are RISING to the challenge.

Nearly 15,000 more students are reading and doing math on grade-level since 2015. That’s 15,000 more families who can trust that their children are on-track for college and career readiness. New Mexico’s students are up in nearly every category since PARCC began, showing that New Mexico’s students, teachers, schools, and communities are rising to the challenge of what it takes to compete in the 21st century economy.

  •  8,000 more students are on grade level (up 2.2 %) in ELA (Reading) since 2015:
    • 3rd grade: up 1.2%
    • 4th grade: up 1.5%
    •  5th grade: up 5.4%
    • 8th grade: up 5.1%
  • 7,000 more students on grade level (up 2.3 %) in Mathematics since 2015:
    • 3rd grade: up 4.9%
    • 4th grade: up 4.6%
    • 5th grade: up 2.7%
    • 8th grade: up 3.3 %

Many of news and media outlets reported on our results this year including the Albuquerque Journal, The Farmington Daily Times, and the Roswell Daily Record.

All student assessment data is available on the PED website. We look forward to working with you over the next year to equip, empower and champion you so that in turn, we can equip, empower and champion our students and their success!