Dear New Mexico Community,
As you know, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became federal law in December 2015, giving states more flexibility to best meet the needs of their students. The law affirms much of the progress New Mexico has achieved over the last several years. Together, we’ve raised the bar and held our students to high standards, utilized high-quality assessments to measure their progress, provided transparent information on every school’s performance, and turned around many of our traditionally low-performing schools. Under Governor Martinez’s leadership, New Mexico has implemented a kids-first agenda while recognizing that our classroom teachers are the most important factor in our students’ outcomes.
Throughout 2016, the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) listened to the field on how the state’s approach could be improved upon. In the fall of 2016, the PED worked with the non-partisan public policy organization New Mexico First to launch one of the largest education listening tours in New Mexico’s history: New Mexico Rising. We engaged our communities in a conversation about what is working in our schools and what could be improved. Reports from each of the community visits can be found online at http://nmfirst.org/event-details/excellence-in-education.
We are grateful to the over 1,800 teachers, parents, and community leaders who gave of their time to provide insightful and constructive feedback. Based on your feedback, we made an announcement earlier this year as an initial response to what we heard. We pledged to advocate for adjustments to NMTEACH, to continue investing in teacher-leadership opportunities, and to further reduce testing time. Today, we are announcing forty places where the PED is being responsive to what we heard throughout 2016, with more to come in the days ahead.
As a result of the New Mexico Rising tour, I am proud to announce the publication of New Mexico’s state plan, which is up for public review and comment at http://www.ped.state.nm.us/ped/ESSA_docs/NewMexicoStatePlanDraft_ESSA.pdf. The public review and comment period concludes on April 1, 2017. We invite you to share more of your thoughts and ideas, which we will read and consider on a rolling basis.
Building on the progress New Mexico’s students are making and in alignment with Governor Martinez’s “Route to 66” commitment, the state plan outlines ambitious K-12 student achievement goals: By 2020, New Mexico will be the fastest growing state in the nation when it comes to K-12 student outcomes. To get there, it is our goal that more than 50 percent of students are on grade-level in reading and math, more than 80 percent of students are graduating high school, and more than 75 percent of New Mexico high school graduates are enrolling in a higher education institution and do not require remediation.
Together, we can achieve these goals on behalf of our students. We are committed to continuously improving our education system so that every student in New Mexico has an opportunity to succeed. Thank you for your ongoing partnership.
Dear New Mexico Community,
I hope this note finds you well. As you know, PED has been traveling to many of our communities listening to educators, parents, and community leaders gathering feedback and ensuring that the goals for our public education system are reflective of the communities we serve. Last month PED visited Las Cruces marking the last stop on our tour. In addition to listening to community members, we had a chance to observe the great work underway in our classrooms. As we reflect on New Mexico’s encouraging academic progress in our schools over the past few years, we will continue to work to ensure that our students continue to make progress while preserving the stability that our teachers have requested throughout our meetings across the state.
While Las Cruces was our last stop, the PED team over the past month has:
- met with over 400 teachers in 21 schools, including Title I and Title IV, to listen to teachers about what’s working in their classrooms and where they need more support;
- held 18 community forums, in partnership with New Mexico First, listening to 583 parents, educators, district and community leaders, about what’s working in our schools and where our educators need more support;
- attended the annual Government to Government conference meeting with 50 Tribal leaders and Tribal representatives to discuss ESSA and how to best support native students;
- convened Title III directors to ensure that we’re focused on supporting our English Learners, ensuring that students and families have the supports they need in schools;
- in partnership with New Mexico First, posted an online survey, available in English and Spanish, for those were unable to attend a community forum. The deadline to submit feedback was December 2, 2016;
- convened the Opportunity to Learn and Future Ready Student working groups which are well on their way to providing PED with recommendations by the end of the year. The working groups are focused on what families and educators deserve to know about their schools and improving and defining high school graduation pathways for students, respectfully.
We are appreciative of the opportunity to listen and convene our community. We are taking your feedback seriously and we are committed to developing resources for educators and supporting programs aiding our student’s health and wellbeing, issues that our educators and community leaders have requested. In addition, New Mexico First will release eight reports detailing the feedback from each community visited as well as a report summarizing the feedback from all New Mexicans. These reports, and information about the community forums, will be available on the New Mexico First NM Rising: Engaging our Communities for Excellence in Education website.
We continue to be encouraged by the great work that our teachers and communities are doing and their dedication to student’s educational progress and wellbeing and we look forward to working with you and your community to sustain the progress our students are making.
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:
- 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.
- Gallup, October 12th
- Farmington, October 14th
- Santa Fe, October 17th
- Albuquerque, October 18th
- Roswell, October 27th
- Las Cruces, November 15th
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Title III Working Group: Focused on supporting our English Learners, ensuring that students and families have the supports they need in schools.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.