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5-year APS master plan proposed

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

WINTER: Wants plan in place before he leaves

WINTER: Wants plan in place before he leaves

Interim Superintendent Brad Winter wants Albuquerque Public Schools to have a five-year academic master plan in place before he leaves the district sometime in early summer, he said.

This plan will outline what academic programs APS will put in place in the coming years and how they will be budgeted for, Winter said.

It will also attach “an evaluation piece” to each program so the school board and administration will know whether a program is successful or not, he said.

“It’s going to be a five-year plan of where we’re going and what we’re going to do,” Winter said Monday. Winter is expected to leave the district shortly after APS hires a new permanent superintendent, although he does plan to stay on board for a “transitional period.”

The new academic plan will be focused on reducing truancy, use of technology in the classroom, ways teachers can use data to improve their instruction, professional development strategies and, ultimately, making sure students are ready for college when they graduate, said Shelly Green, APS chief academic officer.

“It’s actually our educational plan for student success,” school board president Analee Maestas said Monday. “And I do think it’s time for us to update it.”

In recent years, APS has had an academic plan – outlined in a set of goals – whose primary focus was putting in place the Common Core State Standards, Green said. All schools in New Mexico implemented the Common Core during the 2013-14 school year. Green said APS must still help teachers adjust to the new standards, but the initial rollout is over and now the district can focus on new initiatives.

A key difference between the former academic plan and the one administration is working on now will be how academic programs and initiatives are evaluated.

Under the old plan, programs were evaluated after they were put in place, Green said. Now, they will be evaluated as they are implemented and the district will be able to modify them – slightly or drastically – as needed, she said.

Programs that are already in place will also be evaluated, Green said. Program evaluations will be based on how they affect graduation rates, test scores and attendance rates among other measures, Green said.

Winter said it is important for APS to communicate key aspects of the master plan to the community at large. The plan and program evaluations should stand as justification for the dollars spent on programs, he said. And if programs are not producing results, they should be scrapped, Winter said.

“It’s very aggressive planning and it’s good,” said board member Marty Esquivel on Monday. He said teachers, parents and community members should have a say in creating the plan, and it’s important the plan isn’t created from the “top down.”

Winter also said that, along with the academic master plan, he wants the district to establish a community academic advisory commission. Details regarding who will be on the board and how they will function still must be decided, Green said.

Board member Lorenzo Garcia said he is happy Winter is calling for a new academic master plan and expects to hear more details during upcoming board meetings.