June 21, 2005
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chavez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393
jchavez@ped.state.nm.us

Governor Bill Richardson Honors Five New Mexico Elementary Schools Being Recognized by NCEA

Santa Fe —Five New Mexico Title I or “high poverty” elementary schools will be recognized at a “Just for the Kids Institute” arranged by the National Center of Educational Accountability (NCEA) for the inspirational academic work they have done to become high performing schools. To kick off the day-long institute, the schools will be honored by Governor Bill Richardson and Secretary Veronica C. García on Thursday, June 23 at 10:00 a.m. at a brief press conference at the Courtyard by Marriott at 3347 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe.

“As we invest in classrooms and hold schools accountable for meeting high standards, we must continue to identify what’s working, and what’s not,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “This partnership with Just for the Kids is an example of how we can improve our schools by recognizing schools that overcome challenges to do what’s best for kids.”

At the press conference, NCEA officials will announce the public debut of a Just for the Kids- New Mexico website that provides data and tools to help raise student achievement in New Mexico Public Schools. The website is offered free ( www.Just4kids.org), along with a bilingual tutorial (www.communitiesjust4kids.org) to assist Spanish-speaking parents, and provides education leaders, policy makers, parents and the public with fair comparisons of schools and valuable data for educational decision-making. Representatives from the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA), the national sponsor of Just for the Kids, will give a webex demonstration to reporters of the website that will include highlighting a bilingual tutorial designed to help Spanish-speaking parents better understand how state testing affects their child.

Secretary García said, “I am proud of the five schools being honored at the Just for the Kids Institute. The teachers and administrators at each of these schools have consistently raised the bar, expected more and their students have risen to the challenge. Step by step, these schools are working to close the achievement gap, and to demonstrate that all students regardless of socio-economic status can succeed at high levels.”

The five schools participating in the one day Best Practice Institute are:

  • Albuquerque Public Schools - Dolores Gonzales Elementary School
  • Espanola School District - Chimayo Elementary School
  • Las Cruces School District - Booker T. Washington Elementary School
  • Los Lunas Public School District - Katherine Gallegos Elementary School
  • Taos Municipal Schools - Enos Elementary School

These five “at risk” schools were invited to participate in the New Mexico Best Practice Institute based on consistent high performance on the New Mexico Achievement Assessment in 2003-2004, using the advanced standard, when compared to their demographic peers across the state. Funding for 2004-2005 NCEA State Best Practice Studies, such as the Just for the Kids Institute being conducted by NCEA in New Mexico, has been made possible through a challenge grant from The Broad Foundation. The Broad Foundation also sponsors of The Broad Prize for Urban Education, an annual $1 million award to honor urban school districts making the greatest overall improvement in student achievement while at the same time reducing achievement gaps across ethnic groups and between high- and low-income students. NCEA manages the selection process for The Broad Prize using achievement data to identify those districts showing significant success. Governor Richardson will serve on The Broad Prize Selection Jury for the 2005 Award along with other distinguished national leaders.