January 10, 2017
Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) meets and exceeds the requirements of Section 22-2C-6 NMSA 1978 of New Mexico Law regarding the parent notification process for students not meeting proficiency.
Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, superintendent of schools, explained, “Recently the New Mexico Public Education reported SFPS only notified seven parents of the 139 third grade students not proficient during the 2015-2016 school year of their students’ reading skill levels. However, I question the interpretation of how the PED determined parents were notified.”
We think it is important for our community to know the following:
All 129 parents were notified of their students’ reading skill levels at parent teacher conferences.
School sites provided 123 of those third graders academic support through the Student Assistance Team process. All parents were notified of this intervention in writing.
SFPS school sites recommended retention for seven of the 129 third graders not proficient in reading during the 2015-2016 school year.
Of those seven, parents of five of the third graders exercised their right to sign a waiver in order to promote the students to the next grade level.
Santa Fe Public Schools notifies parents in person of the reading and math skills of students in elementary school twice per year at parent conferences. Additionally, Santa Fe Public Schools utilizes a tiered intervention system based on the academic needs of each individual student. Struggling students receive an Academic Improvement Plan. School sites notify all parents of students with Academic Improvement Plans. Furthermore, students scoring in the lowest level receive Academic Improvement Plans through Student Assistance Teams (SAT). These SATs consist of teachers, principals, counselors, and parents at the school sites. The objective of the SAT is to provide the supports students need in order to experience academic success. School SATs meet multiple times during the school year, and parents are either involved in the meetings or notified of the progress.
Current district initiatives regarding promotion and retention date back to 2013. According to Dr. Almi Abeyta, “Our district created a promotion/retention task force and vetted our promotion/retention administrative regulation with teachers and principals. Our policy is a proactive approach in that our schools notify parents if their students are struggling during the first parent-teacher conference in October. We realize that we need to intervene quickly and that we need parents to partner with us.”
Dr. Garcia explained, “We believe the decision for retention should be made by the individuals closest to the children: our teachers, principals, counselors, and parents at the school sites. Research shows retention can actually have a negative long-term impact on students. Therefore, we only utilize retention as a last resort. Other alternatives include recommending students for summer school, promoting students with remediation, or other alternative education plans provided through the SAT process. Our educators and support staff will continue to work tirelessly to provide every student an opportunity to experience academic success. Additionally, we will continue to evolve as a district to ensure we are providing a high quality education to our students, and we will continue to advocate for expanded Pre-K opportunities and early intervention to ensure students a strong start. This is most effective in ensuring student success.”