PED Plans Future for Failing Schools
The New Mexico Public Education Department has announced plans to restructure and redesign two failing schools while ordering a third to “champion and provide choice.” All three schools have received “F” grades from the education department for at least five years.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that two schools who were found by PED to be in need of “more rigorous interventions” (MRI)—Whittier and Los Padillas elementaries—will undergo major structural changes. Another school labeled MRI, Hawthorne elementary, is required to “champion and provide choice”—meaning it will provide information to parents regarding options for children to attend higher-performing schools in the area and even helping to transfer students to other schools. This option was given to the school by PED after its restructure and redesign proposal was rejected.
Whittier and Los Padillas, however, were given a number of requirements to go forward with their restructuring plan. Teachers employed at the schools will now be required to have been rated highly effective or exemplary, according to the state's evaluation system, for more than one year by the start of the next school year. According to the new requirements, the principal and assistant principal at the two schools can be removed if students haven’t shown enough progress by specific benchmark dates. If student performance fails to improve, the district zone associate superintendent can also be removed.
Last week, PED Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski sent letters to APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy explaining the department's plans going forward and outlining its expectations for all three schools. If the district agrees to the plan, the education department has promised to conduct regular inspections of the schools and require regular progress reports.
Reedy sent memos to residents in the Whittier and Los Padillas communities stating, “We are carefully reviewing these conditions to determine if they are feasible and in the best interest of our students, teachers, staff and families.”
Closure is still an option for Whittier and Los Padillas.