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PRESS RELEASE

February 6, 2002

SBE Honors Four Schools for Improved Ratings, Calls for Continuation of School Governance Structure

(Santa Fe, NM)-The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) today joined with the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) and New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators (NMSCA) in honoring four schools for improving their ratings and being removed from school improvement. The schools were honored at a joint news conference at the state Capitol during Public Schools' Day.

The four schools honored for improving their ratings and leaving school improvement are: Coronado High, with the Jemez Mountain Public Schools in Gallina, Jemez Valley Elementary, with the Jemez Valley Municipal Schools in Jemez Pueblo, Salazar Elementary, with the Santa Fe Public Schools in Santa Fe, and West Las Vegas High, with the West Las Vegas Public Schools in Las Vegas.

"At each of these schools, strong leadership has been a key guiding factor. These schools, and their leaders, serve as models for continuous improvement," said SBE President Flora M. Sánchez. "We cannot celebrate the outstanding achievements of public schools in New Mexico without addressing the system of public school governance that has long provided children with a vision for the future.

"New Mexico is not alone in considering its statewide governance structure for public schools. But there is no magic bullet for school improvement. Instead of searching for that bullet, we urge the Governor and the Legislature to continue on course to excellence through support for high educational standards and quality teachers," she said.

President Sanchez noted the journey of the four schools. "At Salazar Elementary, the school implemented a school-wide literacy program and involved the community at-large in working one-on-one with students every day. At Jemez Valley Elementary, the school increased its focus on reading, writing and mathematics instruction, including professional development. Coronado High launched an after-school tutoring program and placed a stronger emphasis on academic achievement. And West Las Vegas High was the first high school west of the Mississippi to adopt the Yale School Development Program aimed at systemic change," she said.

"If you are looking for a magic bullet, consider the achievements by these schools. We are committed to this approach and hope to report more success stories each year," she said.


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