For Immediate Release: May 24, 2018
NM Public Education Department Welcomes 50 Additional School Leaders Into Principals Pursuing Excellence
Governor Martinez’ initiative spans 200 participating school leaders; PPE has strong track record of improving student achievement
Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski announced the selection of 50 New Mexico school leaders for the sixth cohort of Principals Pursuing Excellence (PPE). PPE is a state-designed and directed leadership development program, initiated by Governor Susana Martinez, for administrators in historically struggling schools. Past participants have led their schools to significant improvements in academic proficiency in English Language Arts and Math, as well as raising overall school performance.
The selected leaders join 185 others who have participated in the first five cohorts of the initiative. Now at over 200 participating schools, PPE has supported nearly a quarter of the state’s schools, with demonstrable increases in student outcomes. The initiative is funded via “below-the-line” funds that are essential to innovation and has shown strong return-on-investment for half a decade.
Operated by the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), PPE is now one of the largest, most successful school and district turnaround networks in the country. Past participants have led their schools to impressive gains in student achievement, raising academic proficiency rates by 7.2 percentage points in English Language Arts and 4 percentage points in math — which outpaces statewide averages. When compared to similar schools not participating in this opportunity, PPE schools tripled and doubled academic growth rates while serving disproportionately more students living in poverty, English Learners (ELs), Native students, and students with disabilities. Dozens of PPE schools have increased their school grades from Ds and Fs to As and Bs, thus becoming models of excellence for other struggling schools statewide to emulate.
“As we work to turn schools around, we must continue our commitment to improving student achievement by improving teacher performance through reflecting on past student performance, an unwavering commitment to being data-driven, and acquiring top talent,” said Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. “Principals Pursuing Excellence has shown New Mexico that every student has boundless skill and unlimited potential—regardless of background or zip code.”
Districts continuing participation, such as Gallup-McKinley and Belen, are long-established PPE partners and also participate in its sister initiative, Teachers Pursuing Excellence (TPE). Six new districts will join the initiative for the first time this year. New districts selected into cohort six are Bernalillo, Elida, Espanola, Fort Sumner, Mora, and Vaughn, bringing the total number of participating districts to 48 – over half of New Mexico’s districts. Nine state charter schools have also participated. Other returning districts include Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Bloomfield, Central Consolidated, Clovis, Deming, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas City, Roswell, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Taos, and West Las Vegas.
PPE focuses on evidence-based programs proven to improve student outcomes: data-driven instruction, teacher observation, coaching and feedback and developing a culture of achievement within the school community. Each participating leader receives both targeted professional development, as well as monthly on-site support from a PPE coach to support implementation.
Cohort four will graduate on June 5th in Albuquerque after completing the two-year program.
Principals Pursuing Excellence is a part of New Mexico’s broader strategy supporting school turnaround, including TPE, a state-designed program that supports teachers in struggling schools and has shown major improvements in teaching practices and double-digits gains in reading and math, far outpacing statewide student achievement growth. All school turnaround initiatives rely upon stability and continuity in the state’s assessment and accountability systems, such as PARCC, School Grades, and NMTEACH, which serve as tools to support school improvement and critical instruments to measure student, educator, and school progress. The $2 million allocation for PPE for the upcoming school year is in addition to the $15 million recently made available to schools identified as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and the $4 Million recently made available for the inaugural cohort of the High School Redesign Network—all part of New Mexico’s top-rated State Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act.