APS to post school transfer applications

Albuquerque Public Schools will post transfer applications online Jan. 1 for families that would like to send their children to schools outside their assigned attendance area.

Applications also may be completed in person beginning Jan. 2 in the APS administration building, 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE. The first window for transfer applications runs through Jan. 31.

Under state law, transfer is an option for any student attending a school that has earned two F grades during the past four years.

In September, the New Mexico Public Education Department publicized the little-known law and advocated for parents to “be in the driver’s seat of their child’s educational experience.”

“Part of the American Dream is having freedom and choices — and families deserve to have the ability to choose a great school regardless of their socioeconomic status or background,” PED Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski said in a statement.

Ruszkowski recently targeted the state’s four lowest-performing schools, which have each received five or six F grades.

Three of the schools are within APS: Hawthorne Elementary, Whittier Elementary and Los Padillas Elementary.

In the coming weeks, APS will choose a path forward for the schools from among four options outlined in the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan: closure, relaunch as a charter school, significant restructuring or “championing” other choices.

The final intervention essentially amounts to the school advocating for its student to transfer out.

According to the state ESSA plan, any school that signs up for this option must show “clear evidence that choice has been championed for the impacted students.”

“Choices may include public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning or homeschooling” the plan states. “This may also include the creation and expansion of state or local school voucher programs.”

Ruszkowski told the Journal that schools “championing choice” would see enrollment drop, “but more of their kids would have access to a higher-quality school.”

The state’s teachers unions have criticized the PED’s “rigorous intervention” tracks.

“We challenge the New Mexico PED and the Secretary-designate to fully embrace meaningful interventions for all of New Mexico’s schools and break away of the status quo approach of blaming and shaming our students, schools, and educators,” American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly, Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association President Kathy Chavez and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein said in a joint statement.

For more information on APS transfers, call the Student Service Center at 855-9050 or 855-9040.

A complete list of school grades is available online at ped.state.nm.us/SchoolGrading.

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