When you stick with something, growth occurs - Albuquerque Journal

When you stick with something, growth occurs

Last month at the third annual New Mexico Teacher Summit, Secretary of Education-designate Christopher Ruszkowski announced that PARRC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) scores were back, the earliest we’ve ever had them returned.

PARCC is the assessment our state has adopted over the past five years to assess our students. It has been peer reviewed and given complete approval by the United States Department of Education. It’s based on Common Core State Standards, the set of math and language arts standards our state has also adopted.

I teach ninth-12th-grade English at Reserve High School, where I’ve embraced these college-and-career ready systems in my classroom; in my classroom, for me and my kids, it works.

When I began teaching at Reserve High School in Catron County, only about a third of our kids from seventh-11th grades – seniors don’t take the test – were reading and writing on grade level in language arts. That meant that only about a third of our students were reading and writing at the level they should be to be ready for college and career. This past year, the percentage of students who earned proficient or higher grew by nearly 20 percent. Our school earned an A in our federally approved school accountability system. Secretary-designate Ruszkowski visited our classrooms and presented our students with a congratulatory banner. It now hangs in the building, a display of the pride we have in our academic achievements. I knew our kids could do it again if we put in the work.

New Mexico has chosen clear and rigorous standards to cover, and PARCC assesses those standards. There are no surprises. Critics speak of the issues of teaching to the test, and while that may be true in some classrooms, it certainly has not been the case in our schools. The standards give us plenty of room to do otherwise: to answer big questions about who we are and how we interact with one another. Our kids read, research, analyze, connect and share. The standards are not my syllabi, but a guide that ensures my students leave my classroom with the same skills their peers are receiving in other zip codes. PARCC is the measuring stick that tells my students, their parents and my administration where our classroom communities stand in relation to those standards that are widely considered nationally and internationally competitive.

Last month, when I received an email from my district test coordinator about this year’s scores, I was anxious but excited, and for good reason. Not only did our students do well overall, but they have continued to grow. That’s what happens when you stick with something – growth occurs. This year, approximately 70 percent of our students in ninth-11th grades earned proficient marks, and many of them actually exceeded expectations. Nearly three out of four of our high school students are reading on grade level and, ultimately, more of the students coming out of Reserve High School will be ready for their careers and college courses after they graduate.

I attended and graduated from Reserve Schools. Our school is tight-knit, but small, and nestled in a very rural area, so to say that resources can sometimes be difficult to access is an understatement. That has always been the narrative of our community. Even so, my administration and teachers gave me every opportunity they possibly could, and as a result I was able to attend university feeling fully equipped and become a teacher. I wanted to be part of that story, part of the school that is the heart of my community, offers opportunity and true growth to our children, and ultimately changes the narrative for us all. My love for my community runs deep, and my love for my students runs deeper.

Without high and consistent expectations, which is what New Mexico’s standards and assessment currently provides, our momentum would be stalled. I wouldn’t love that.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » When you stick with something, growth occurs

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

Keeping tabs on BMI can help monitor if your ...
From the newspaper
Body Mass Index, or BMI for ... Body Mass Index, or BMI for short, has been used for many decades as a means to determine body fat.
County asks vendors to submit proposals to fill café ...
ABQnews Seeker
Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal Bernalillo ... Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal Bernalillo County is seeking proposals to run the remodele ...
NM needs to support Border Patrol, protect southern border
From the newspaper
There is a lot of rhetoric ... There is a lot of rhetoric thrown around when it comes to securing our border, so I'll cut to ...
GOP candidates for governor need better policy than Texas
From the newspaper
Don't send members of Guard to ... Don't send members of Guard to work in barns, vehicle yards
Double-jeopardy column did not tell all
From the newspaper
Attorney who handled the appeal lays ... Attorney who handled the appeal lays out how the defendant was wronged
US policy in Ukraine vs. Middle East is a ...
From the newspaper
The Biden administration is correct in ... The Biden administration is correct in responding to reported Russian atrocities by arming Ukraine t ...
Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak blaze surpasses 2012's Whitewater-Baldy
ABQnews Seeker
Northern NM fire has burned at ... Northern NM fire has burned at least 262 homes
Council-approved budget would up spending by 20%
ABQnews Seeker
Plan includes pay increase for city ... Plan includes pay increase for city workers, rental support
As wildfires rage, state says unemployment assistance is available
ABQnews Seeker
Assistance is available for weeks of ... Assistance is available for weeks of unemployment beginning April 10 through Nov. 5