Earlier this year, we shared the encouraging news of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education’s decision to implement a five-year strategic plan that sets academic goals for the district. It’s a bold strategy – the first time the district has ever committed to such goals – and it puts the more than 70,000 students of the district on track for the academic achievement we know is in reach for them.
The goals themselves have developed over time with plenty of parent input. Draft goals were first adopted in January 2023 after months of public meetings throughout the fall of 2022, and interim goals were adopted in June 2023. These goals are still being finalized, pending the release of 2023 student proficiency data, but the board has already committed to at least a 10-percentage-point increase in early literacy and math. Here’s an overview of the goals as they look now:
The percentage of third-grade students identified in the Yazzie-Martinez decision plus African American students who demonstrate grade level proficiency or above on the state English Language Arts (ELA) summative assessment will increase from X in May 2023 to Y in May 2028. (Metric to be determined upon receipt of 2023 results from the state assessment but shall not be less than a 10-point increase over 5 years.)
The percentage of eighth-grade students identified in the Yazzie-Martinez decision and African American students who demonstrate grade level proficiency or above on the state mathematics summative assessment will increase from X in May 2023 to Y in May 2028. (Metric to be determined upon receipt of 2023 results from the state assessment but shall not be less than a 10-point increase over 5 years.)
The percentage of high school graduates who earn credit in two or more Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Dual Credit courses, or earn an industry certification or Bilingual Seal, will increase from X in September 2023 to Y in September 2028.
Skills, Habits, and Mindsets for Life Success
Increase the percentage of students who demonstrate the skills, mindsets, and habits most aligned to life success: perseverance, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and social awareness from X in 2023 to Y in 2029 as measured by an evidence-based and aligned tool.
It’s important to know that the Board also set five “guardrails” to support the achievement of these goals. These guardrails include wraparound support systems, equitable allocation of resources, high-quality curriculum and instruction, family and community engagement, and staff voice and support – all important for ensuring students and their teachers have the resources they need as they work toward these goals. And, for each goal, there are three sub-goals to help the board monitor the district’s progress toward these more major milestones. In other words, district leadership is committed to meeting school communities’ needs as they strive to meet these milestones, and continual reflection on progress means ample opportunity to assess these needs as they change.
This ambitious strategic plan to raise the bar is what our kids need to gain skills and confidence in school and beyond. Moreover, this is exactly the bold leadership we should expect from the board of a school district whose performance has left much to be desired over the last decade… or three. The district’s reading proficiency has hovered around 35% with math proficiency lagging even further behind at around 25% for too long. We all know our students can achieve more – and they must if we want them to be ready for rewarding lives as secure and successful contributors to our community.
These goals and strategies are long overdue, but only possible because of this new APS board composition. When this board was elected two years ago, we had high hopes they would bring change with them. These new goals show they’re delivering on this expectation, and the change we need is on the way. We should get behind this plan for the future as a community, whether we have children in our state’s K-12 system or not. Ambitious goals for the future and plans to take us there – this is how we rise as a state.
Now, we invite you to share this information with family, friends, and fellow community members. It’s important that we all be informed on what’s happening in our local district schools, and that we give credit where it’s due. Our APS Board is stepping up in a major, unprecedented way to put our kids on a path to something greater, and they have our support.
For more information on the plan’s goals and guardrails, visit the APS Board page on the five-year plan here, or check out the video below.