In New Mexico, charter schools can be authorized by the Public Education Commission (PEC) or by local school districts. Schools authorized by the PEC are considered independent Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). Though schools chartered by districts have more autonomy than traditional public schools, they still operate as part of the school district.
In 2021, the Charter Schools Program (CSP) federal grant, administered through the PED Charter Schools Division (CSD), funded the Quality Authorizing Initiative in partnership with Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), the largest district authorizer in the state, and Schoolworks.
With feedback from stakeholders around the state, this initiative produced several resources for charter school authorizers:
The New Mexico Principles and Standards for Quality Authorizing, a concise summary of the principles that New Mexico stakeholders agree inform charter authorizing, and the standards by which applicants seeking to open new charter schools and renew existing charter schools should be evaluated.
An Authorizer Self-Evaluation tool which school districts that authorize charter schools can use to evaluate their own authorizing practices.
An Annual Report template which school districts that authorize charter schools can use for reporting to CSD as required by NMSA 22-8B-17.1.
Authorizers were provided three online training modules in November 2021 to introduce the Principles and Standards, the Self-Evaluation, and the Annual Report tools. Asynchronous versions of the trainings were recorded and are available on demand in the Canvas Charter School Authorization Training course. All documents, tools, and templates are available on the Canvas course page, along with the training videos and accompanying slides.
Additional training and technical assistance is available to authorizers upon request by emailing Charter.Schools@ped.nm.gov.
The New Mexico Quality Charter School Authorizing Summative Report provides an overview of the work completed under this initiative.