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New Mexico on the Rise: Dedicated Teachers are Leading The Land of Enchantment to New Heights

• ExcelinEd

New Mexico had many student achievements to celebrate last school year. More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement courses as well as the free PSAT exam.  As teachers are preparing their classrooms for another year of learning, it is exciting to anticipate the continued progress New Mexico’s students will make this year.

Empowering Teacher Leaders

The New Mexico Public Education Department has created networks of teachers who meet regularly with state officials to learn about the latest policy developments and advise the state on policy and programs to better serve New Mexico’s students by establishing a solutions-oriented connection between the department and educators.

Julia Burrola, a public charter school teacher in Albuquerque, participated in the Secretary’s Teacher Advisory. She recently shared that thanks to the advisory group, she now has the tools to advocate for the policies that will benefit her students.

Hope Morales, former Secretary’s Teacher Advisory member and Teach Plus New Mexico State Director, saw the advisory group as an opportunity to take an active role in education and be a voice for all students.

“I now know that with collaboration and a focus on kids, we can deliver an incredible education to every child in New Mexico,” Morales said. “New Mexico students are starting to benefit from the high expectations set forth for them. There are some great things happening in New Mexico, and I’m excited to see more accomplishments take place.”

Additionally, the largest Teacher Summit in the state’s history met earlier this year with hundreds of educators coming together to equip, empower and champion the profession and the new era of teacher leader voices in the Land of Enchantment.

These Educators Say It Best.

Because New Mexico has used a consistent annual assessment, education leaders and policymakers can identify trends in student learning, figure out what is working and what is not, and make the necessary adjustments when support is needed.

“Having a measure to monitor my instruction and student learning is vitally important to maintaining a learning environment that is both structured and sequenced to the grades above and below me … In my community data is viewed as a tool to better inform students, teachers and parents alike about strengths and weaknesses so that measurable goals can be set and achieved.”

Dawn Bilbrey, Texico Middle School teacher and mother


“Every year I review the English language student data for our school and, more importantly, for my students. I look to see where they have strengths and weaknesses so that I know where to connect those strong student skills with areas and skills that need to be further developed to improve achievement … This reflecting on student success or failure helps me to improve as a teacher.”

Joel Hutchinson, Centennial High School teacher and Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellowship alum


“Without high and consistent expectations, which is what New Mexico’s standards and assessment currently provide, our momentum would be stalled …Critics speak of the issues of teaching to the test, and while that may be true in some classrooms, it certainly has not been the case in our schools …The standards are not my syllabi, but a guide that ensures my students leave my classroom with the same skills their peers are receiving in other zip codes.”

Kayli Laney, Reserve Schools English language arts instructor and Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellow

Looking Forward

Last month, new data from the state assessment showed increases in student learning. While the results are certainly positive and indicate that New Mexico is on the right track, there remains a long journey ahead to ensure every child is prepared to move on to the next grade level. Two out of three New Mexico students struggle to read on grade level.

With a transparent accountability system, standards-based education programs and giving teachers and students the support and resources they need, New Mexico can continue on the path to fulfill the promise of a quality education for each and every child. The release of A-F school grades last week is an example of a critical tool that informs parents and mobilizes communities around student outcomes.

By placing excellence over complacency, New Mexico is working to brighten the future for all its students.

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