Great Public Schools Criteria for New MexicoGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in New Mexico.
Readiness to Learn
- State Policy: From the 2000-01 to the 2004-05 school year, funding for full-day kindergarten programs was phased in. Though each year one-fifth of the districts became eligible to receive funding for full-day kindergarten classes, "establishment of full-day kindergarten programs shall be voluntary on the part of school districts and student participation shall be voluntary on the part of parents" (NM ST § 22-2-19).
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: Full-day kindergarten is defined as 5.5 hours per day, 990 hours per year.
- Funding: New Mexico provides more funding for full-day kindergarten than for half-day kindergarten and 1st grades.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
New Mexico began appropriating funds for the Child Development Program in 1991. These funds support prekindergarten as well as home visits, family support services, and other types of services for children from birth to age five. The Child Development Program does not have specific income criteria but instead aims to serve children at risk who do not qualify for other eligibility-based programs. This allows for flexibility, with enrollment priorities based on local needs. Groups that communities chose to target include children of teen parents, homeless families, families in poverty, or children with special emotional or mental needs.
Prekindergarten programs funded by the program can be operated by public schools, private child care centers or institutions of higher education. Programs are required to offer comprehensive services and work toward accreditation. The Child Development Program also funds home based services such as Parents and Teachers programs and hospital-based services for high-risk infants. All programs that children attend on a regular basis are required to use the Focused Portfolio System which assists teachers in observing and documenting children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development, and in planning appropriate activities. (NIEER)
New Mexico currently receives $1.7 million in Even Start grants for its eight programs. However with the federal cuts looming, Even Start directors will likely turn to another federal program aimed at preschoolers - Early Reading First. District leaders hope to receive grant money from this hew program in order to keep their Even Start centers open. Although Even Start classes are only half-day, the children are benefiting from highly trained teachers, said researcher Richard Boyle of the UNM Center for Education Research, Institute for Social Research. Boyle's study said another year of data from Even Start is necessary for conclusive data, but tentatively, student improvement was evident. Even Start children showed "superior performance on most assessments," he said. (Albuquerque Tribune)
NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps
NEA New Mexico plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps to lobby for continued sufficient appropriations to fund local contract language to close achievement gaps, and lobby for improved salaries and maximum flexibility in using state funds to address professional instructional issues under the state's expanded bargaining law. They also plan to continue the efforts of a leader/member task force to create model contract language and provide training and technical support to locals, support five locals' efforts to gain this language at the bargaining table, and fund a statewide meeting and statewide conference for bargaining locals.