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Roosevelt eighth-graders to create digital portfolios

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Roosevelt Middle School is launching a new digital portfolio initiative designed to highlight the connections between classwork and students’ future careers.

The program will start in the fall thanks to a $14,000 Success Plus grant from the Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation, one of six awards the nonprofit organization distributed last week.

“We are thrilled to get this,” said Lefty Folkman, a Roosevelt instructional coach and the grantwriter. “The teachers are very much on board and very excited about making this happen.”

Roughly $8,000 of the funding will go to purchase 30 new Chromebooks for Roosevelt’s eighth-graders, who will use them to create year-end digital portfolio presentations about career plans and school projects that support their goals.

The remaining grant money will pay for field trips to places like Spaceport America and the University of New Mexico, as well as salaries for substitutes, who will take over classes while teachers are listening to the presentations.

“We want the students to talk about where they are going,” Folkman explained. “They can say something like, ‘I think I want to be an engineer, and the algebra I took this year will really help me. In high school, I will have to take this and this and this.’ ”

Roosevelt’s eighth-grade teachers collectively came up with the portfolio program, Folkman said, and she hopes to see it eventually spread to the seventh-graders and possibly other schools.

APS Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus noted that his organization is always looking for creative, replicable ideas.

“I am amazed by teachers because they are so resilient and innovative,” he said. “They can figure out how to put two dollars together and come up with something amazing, and they do that in so many instances with the grants they receive.”

During the 2015-16 fiscal year, the foundation provided almost $500,000 for 96 school projects, impacting 33,000 students with particular focus on STEM, literacy and fine arts.