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APS submits plan for failing Hawthorne school to PED

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools has decided to move forward with a formal application to the Public Education Department for Hawthorne Elementary School, one of the schools designated in need of “more rigorous intervention” after six consecutive F grades.

The district was reviewing whether it would ask for federal funds for the school and has decided to request a total of $853,000.

The application is required by Champion and Provide Choice – a revamping option chosen by PED after the state agency denied APS’ restructuring plans. It requires the district to tell parents about higher-performing schools in the area and help with transfers, if needed.

The bulk of the money requested in the application for Hawthorne would be allotted for transportation to other schools, with the district asking for four additional school buses.

Other costs include money for school expos that offer information on other higher-performing elementaries. The expos are required under Champion and Provide Choice, an option that was chosen by PED in part because about 10 elementary schools within five miles of Hawthorne have received grades above F, according to the state agency.

The budget also requests a total of $120,000 for stipends that would be paid to teachers for presenting information to parents about higher-performing schools.

In addition to its budget, the formal application outlines what APS will do, other than the expos, to get the word out about other schools. The district plans on letting parents know about the consecutive F grades and their other schooling options via letters and the school messaging system.

By June 6, the district is required to send PED, for approval, a list of other schools Hawthorne students can attend. The list will be published the following week on APS’ website.

APS wrote in the Hawthorne application that it will allot, if needed, more teachers for the schools receiving transfer students.

The district has previously told the Journal that it has already moved forward with some of the efforts under Champion and Provide Choice, adding that it hosted a community meeting mid-May to inform parents about transfers. At that meeting, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation advocated for parents to exercise their right to keep students at the school, if parents wish.

While PED denied Hawthorne’s restructuring plans, APS has committed to improving and overhauling the northeast-area school in addition to Champion and Provide Choice.

PED Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski said PED is reviewing the application and anticipates responding soon.

APS’ two other MRI schools Los Padillas and Whittier elementaries had their restructuring and redesigning plans finalized in late May. Shortly before that, the fourth school in the state recognized as MRI, Dulce Elementary, had its plans conditionally approved. On Wednesday, the Dulce Independent School District replied to the conditional approval with terms of its own, including teacher compensation and teachers’ evaluation-rating requirements, also noting that it’s working on hiring a new principal. PED is expected to respond next week.

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