For Immediate Release: September 10, 2018
New Mexico Has More Exemplary and Highly Effective Teachers Than Ever Before
New Mexico Increases Access to High-Performing Teachers for Students Who Need Them The Most; Exemplary Teachers Earn $5,000 and $10,000 Awards
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski announced there are more teachers across the state earning Exemplary and Highly-Effective ratings than ever before—over 1,000 more since 2015. This means that more students have access to high-performing teachers, and more students are growing academically across all subject areas. New Mexico’s schools now have over 1,000 more Highly Effective and Exemplary teachers and nearly 1,000 fewer Minimally Effective and Ineffective teachers—a testament to the ongoing professional development and coaching opportunities that the NMTEACH system provides.
In concert with the state’s rising graduation rates, decreased college remediation rates, increased reading and math proficiency, greater access to higher-performing schools, and significantly expanded Advanced Placement access and success, NMTEACH is a tool to improve student outcomes by improving the quality of instruction that our students receive. New Mexico continues to demonstrate that setting high expectations, focusing on student academic growth, and embracing accountability for student learning is setting up our students, families, teachers, and schools for success more than ever before in the state’s history.
Decades of research highlight that teacher quality is the number one school-level factor impacting our students’ academic success, highlighting the importance of NMTEACH.
“Every child – no matter their background – deserves access to an excellent teacher that will help them get on track for college, career, and their dreams; and we should all be extremely proud of our teachers statewide for rising to the challenge of higher standards,” said Secretary Ruszkowski. “It is our collective responsibility to elevate the teaching profession and be forthright about just how important teacher quality is in shaping our students’ lives. NMTEACH creates opportunities for districts and schools to provide direct, targeted feedback and regularly review student growth data that helps teachers improve in their craft.”
NMTEACH has also created the opportunity for New Mexico to reward, learn from, and retain the state’s best teachers in new ways. For the first time ever this fall, Exemplary teachers will be recognized with Excellence in Teaching Awards of $5,000 and $10,000—with the larger awards for secondary math and science teachers.
“New Mexico is a national leader in its efforts to develop and continuously refine a teacher evaluation system that is both rigorous and reliable. The introduction of the Excellence in Teaching Awards presents new opportunities to attract and retain high-performing teachers in New Mexico Public Schools,” said Matthew Kraft, an Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Brown University.
NMTEACH is a statewide system implemented at the district and school-level—the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) collates data provided by schools and districts to generate individual summative reports. Drawing upon leading research from around the country, each educator’s evaluation is based upon multiple measures of effectiveness—no single measure determines a rating (Exemplary, Highly-Effective, Effective, Minimally Effective, Ineffective) that each teacher earns. The most heavily weighted component is classroom observations conducted by administrators (40%), followed by student academic growth (35%). Also incorporated are teacher planning and professionalism (15%), attendance (5%), and family and student surveys (5%).
This is the fifth year of statewide implementation of NMTEACH—with feedback and input from educators incorporated into the system each year.
“New Mexico’s unwavering commitment to its evaluation system is yielding important dividends for teachers and students. These data demonstrate that New Mexico is not only providing teachers with the information necessary to improve their practice, but also providing policymakers with the required data to help ensure that some of our nation’s most vulnerable students have access to effective teachers, “ said Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality. “By helping to advance excellence and equity for its teachers and students, New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system serves as a powerful proof point of the positive progress that is possible.”
In a recent survey conducted at the 2018 Teacher Summit, it was clear that the vast majority of the state’s teachers want stability and continuity in the years ahead – with 74% of teachers responding they wanted to keep NMTEACH in place as is and another 15% of teachers saying they are neutral. Teachers across the state have shared that NMTEACH helps improve their practice, their students’ academic growth, and bolsters the state’s continued efforts to improve teacher preparation and mentoring, individualize professional development, and dramatically expand teacher-leadership opportunities.
“I like to use NMTEACH to help set goals for myself for professional development. I like to look at the rubric and see areas where I have strengths and to understand where I could become stronger and see what areas are my weaknesses,” said Janessa Player, a 5th grade teacher at Tularosa Intermediate Schools, with seven years of teaching experience.
“My administrator and I have collaborated to use NMTEACH to point out better ways to learn. If someone collaborates with you in a positive manner with feedback, then that translates to better outcomes, from teacher strategies to student performance,” said George Rincon, a teacher at Atrisco Heritage High School with Albuquerque Public Schools, with five years of experience.
In 2014-15, about 17% of economically disadvantaged students were taught by Highly Effective or Exemplary teachers, a full 10% less than their more affluent peers. Today, over 30% of economically disadvantaged students are taught by our best teachers—NMTEACH identified the long-standing challenge and that equity gap has been cut in half. Further, we now know that students with disabilities are taught by Highly Effective and Exemplary teachers at nearly the same rate as their peers. Neither of these understandings and advancements for our students would have been possible without a multi-faceted assessment of each teacher’s performance statewide.
“I use the NMTEACH evaluation rubric to guide how I design my content and instruction for the year. NMTEACH is a reflective tool I revisit frequently to make sure I am doing my absolute best for my students in the classroom,” said Dawn Bilbrey, an English and Social Studies teacher at Texico Middle School in Texico Municipal Schools, who has 19 years of experience.
“It’s always good to get criticism and positive feedback for what you’re doing. We use it to improve. It’s always about improvement and about the students,” said Blanca Carrasco, a bilingual teacher at Booker T Washington Elementary School in Las Cruces Public Schools, with 16 years of teaching experience.
“I used the NMTEACH student survey and gave it to my students multiple times a year so I could understand how I could improve my teaching,” said Shana Speicher, a math and AP Algebra I teacher at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Rio Rancho Public Schools with eight years of teaching experience.
Statewide, New Mexico’s student progress is unprecedented in the state’s history: 11,000 more students are doing math on grade level and 13,000 more students are reading on grade-level since 2015 – with Native American students improving their reading results more than any other group of students—by 8.2 percentage points. More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams and the statewide graduation rate is at an all-time high of 71.1%. As we continue to raise the bar across the public education system, our students are rising to the challenge.