PRESS RELEASE - June 17, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

State Superintendent Recommends Corrective Action Modifications for 2003-2004

(Santa Fe, NM)—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis today announced his recommended modifications for the state’s 14 corrective action schools.  “Overall, instructional efficiencies have been demonstrated after less than one year of corrective action activities. My recommendations for next year are designed to ensure continued instructional success.

“These efficiencies are possible because of the dedication of both local and state-level educators to continuous educational improvements for our students.  Generally, our corrective action monitors found dedicated principals and teachers, well-behaved students and well-managed schools,” he said.

State Superintendent Davis said that continued improvement is needed in all the corrective action schools in the areas of curricular alignment and literacy programs.  He cautioned that “the statewide data from this year’s TerraNova testing have not yet been analyzed, so it is too soon to address ratings or overall gains in student achievement in the corrective action schools.”

The schools’ local boards were directed to submit recommended modifications to their local corrective action plans to him by June 30, 2003, with the caveat that the recommendations may need to be modified based upon the 2003-2004 ratings to be announced in August and an analysis of each school’s student assessment data.  His recommendations include the following:

  • Establish a common school-wide literacy block for all identified elementary schools.  This should occur at the same time for all classes and be implemented for a minimum of 90 minutes.
  • Establish a structured literacy program for all identified elementary and middle schools.  The program should include language development, reading and writing across the curriculum.  Teachers, principals and monitors should be able to easily identify the components.
  • Eliminate Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) or Round-Robin oral reading.  Replace with active, teacher-directed choral reading or partnered reading to increase fluency and allow for maximum language practice.
  • Require, with the exception of sick leave and personal days negotiated in contract agreements, teachers to be in attendance and engaged in instruction.  Teacher attendance should be recorded and reported to the school’s parents, local boards of education and SDE monitors.
  • Require coaches to adhere to the same requirements.  “SDE monitors found that middle school teachers who also coached were absent from their instructional assignments on a regular basis.  Quality and consistent instruction must be the schools’ and districts’ highest priority,” State Superintendent Davis said.
  • Embedded professional development – specifically relevant, on-the-job and immediate assistance to teachers – should be provided.  Embedded professional development, including coaching, modeling, master teacher visits and observations, should be increased.  Teachers can receive additional off-campus professional development before and/or after school or on weekends.  And teachers should be compensated in accordance with district policy.
  • Some, but not all, corrective action schools have bilingual programs.   Districts choose to apply for bilingual program funding.  If approved, these programs must adhere to the services specified in the application.  In corrective action schools, the bilingual program must have two equally strong components, namely first language development for initial and continued academic success and English language development to ensure proficiency.  “The SDE will continue to support bilingual programs in corrective action schools when the programs demonstrate equally strong components.  If program strength is not evident, we will require immediate program revisions,” he said.
  • Continue the condition regarding working with tribal departments of education and include specific language in the corrective action plans that these partnerships must specifically address the exchange of information and/or curriculum on language and culture.

School Specific Recommendations:

Booker T. Washington Elementary (Las Cruces), Santo Domingo Elementary (Santo Domingo), Zuni Middle (Zuni), Whittier Elementary and Washington Middle (Albuquerque) and David Skeet Elementary, JFK Middle and Thoreau Middle (Gallup)

  • All general recommendations.

Church Rock Elementary (Gallup)

  • Continue the extended school year and inter-sessions for at-risk students.

Mesa Elementary and Tse’Bit’ai Middle (Central Consolidated Schools)

  • Continue to work with Division of Diné Education to strengthen and improve the bilingual programs, including the incorporation of the Navajo Nation’s Language and Culture Standards.  Align the school calendar with community events.

Laguna-Acoma Middle (Grants-Cibola County Schools)

  • Continue to work with the Laguna and Acoma Tribal Departments of Education regarding language revitalization programs.

Lowell Elementary (Albuquerque)

  • Establish a common school-wide literacy block.  The block should occur at the same time for all classes and be implemented for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Polk Middle (Albuquerque)

  • A final recommendation on Polk Middle will be made after the Albuquerque Public Schools submits modifications to its corrective action plan for the school.  State Superintendent Davis requested modifications on April 4.  An outstanding issue is the appointment of a new principal. 

By action of the New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE), the schools have until the spring of 2004 to meet standards or qualify for an extension of school improvement.  The SBE retains continuing jurisdiction over all matters of corrective action.  At any time the state superintendent determines progress is not occurring, a proposed notice of suspension can be issued.  “Our mission is to assist the schools in keeping their focus on the implementation of their corrective action plans and instruction,” he said.

State Superintendent Davis thanked Toni Nolan-Trujillo, the state’s special master for corrective action, for her service.  Nolan-Trujillo has assumed a new position as the Eunice superintendent.