PRESS RELEASE - December 16, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Grants Support New Solutions to Classroom Access By Students with Disabilities

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) announced today that 11 public school districts, including two charter schools, and three Regional Educational Cooperatives (RECs) would receive $292,866 in federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant funds to support new solutions to classroom access by students with disabilities.

“Under IDEA, students in our public schools with disabilities are entitled to spend at least 80 percent of their day in regular education classrooms. The grant recipients are committed to meeting this goal through novel solutions, which will lead to improved outcomes for all students,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia.

Under the grant, districts and RECs will seek to provide the following:

· Differentiated Instruction, a learning model that requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching by adjusting the curriculum and presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves to the curriculum.
· Universal Design, whereby products and environments are designed to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
· Cooperative Learning, a learning method that provides teachers with effective ways to respond to diverse students by promoting academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding.
· Co-Teaching, where two teachers, usually a teacher of general education and a teacher of special education, work together to teach all types of students. The teachers’ experience and knowledge benefit the students in general education and the students in special education.
· Team Teaching, to allow for greater flexibility in instruction, provide a variety of approaches, model collaboration and allow for greater observation of students to better meet their needs.

The funded districts and schools are as follows:

Albuquerque Public Schools
Corrales Elementary, Hodgin Elementary, Mark Twain Elementary, John Adams Middle,
Taylor Middle, Cibola High and Stronghurst Alternative School
Cloudcroft Municipal Schools
Cloudcroft Elementary, Cloudcroft Middle and Cloudcroft High
Eunice Public Schools
Caton Middle
Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools
Gallup Middle
Lordsburg Municipal Schools
Central Elementary, Dugan-Tarango Middle and Lordsburg High
Moriarty Municipal Schools
Moriarty Elementary
Ruidoso Municipal Schools
Nob Hill Elementary and White Mountain Intermediate
Santa Fe Public Schools
Turquoise Trail Elementary (charter school)
Monte del Sol Charter School
$5,000 each
Socorro Consolidated Schools
Parkview Elementary, San Antonio Elementary and Zimmerly Elementary
Taos Municipal Schools
Enos Garcia Elementary
Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools
T or C Middle
Regional Education Cooperative #4 Northeast $60,000
Regional Education Cooperative #5 Central $14,994
Regional Education Cooperative #8 Pecos Valley $37,860

Staff at the recipient schools and RECs will participate in planning activities and study groups and work with outside consultants in an effort to understand the legal requirements of the “Least Restrictive Environment” (LRE) component of the IDEA, modify policies and procedures to support the LRE and learn and apply new techniques in the classroom. The LRE increases access by students with disabilities to the general education curriculum.