Saturday, August 30, 2008
APS, Colleges Agree To Work Together
By Andrea Schoellkopf
Journal Staff Writer
Albuquerque's public schools and higher education officials signed off on a plan Friday to improve work among the institutions, such as making it easier to transfer credits, aligning academic calendars and creating more classes for both teachers and high school students.
"It's a big deal," University of New Mexico president David Schmidly said before signing the three-way agreement with Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College.
Other changes are more dual-credit college classes for high school students, special university programs for Albuquerque Public Schools teachers who want to become principals and a new call-in information system specifically for education questions.
The CNM call center, modeled after the city's 311 program, would provide information about all three institutions, ranging from questions about snow days to how to fill out a financial aid form, CNM president Katherine Winograd said.
In January, UNM plans to open a "student success center" in the former Lockheed Martin building to help students at any grade level. It also plans to increase efforts to attract military veterans.
The agreement was hashed out over monthly breakfasts attended by Schmidly, Winograd and APS Superintendent Winston Brooks, who was hired this spring to run the 89,000-student district.
"Our greatest hope is this (agreement will) align education in Albuquerque," Brooks said.
The schools will try to create academic calendars so that spring breaks and other holidays occur at the same time.
Making it easier to transfer credits would allow students to move "seamlessly" from APS to CNM and to UNM. Nearly 11,000 high school students are getting dual high school and college credit through UNM and CNM.
The new agreement also includes plans to work jointly on grant applications and to share other resources, such as emergency services and a future student support center to tutor, mentor and advise students from all three institutions.
One idea, Brooks said, is to find perhaps 20 Albuquerque teachers who want to become principals in the district and assemble a specialized program for them at UNM, such as instruction on school finance by the APS finance director.