March 24, 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

Amistad Charter School Receives Visitation Status Release

(Santa Fe, NM)— Amistad Charter School, a K-6 rural school in the Clayton School District, has achieved the K-8 Official Core Knowledge Visitation status. This status recognizes the commitment of the school to create and implement a rich curriculum aligned to both the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks and the Core Knowledge Foundation's Cultural Literacy Sequence. Amistad was the only New Mexico charter school, and among four elementary public schools from New Mexico to receive this recognition.

As an official visitation site, Amistad Charter School will obtain on-site training and assistance from Core Knowledge Foundation staff in reviewing and aligning state standards and assessments with the topics included in the Core Knowledge Sequence. They will develop a yearlong plan to ensure that content and skills are taught prior to state testing, and they will create a pacing structure that helps lesson planning.

Studies indicate that a Core Knowledge education can improve students’ scores on standardized tests and also narrow the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Studies also indicate that Core Knowledge may have certain latent positive effects on student achievement.

At the Core Knowledge Conference in Philadelphia in early March, Amistad presented a unit plan on "Cells" that they developed and had already shared with the Wagon Mound Elementary School. (Wagon Mound is a school in need of improvement that Amistad already works with as part of the Charter School Dissemination Grant.) Charter School Dissemination Grants are federally funded and provide money to an existing charter school that can help spread best practices either to another charter school or another regular public school.