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2015 Report Card

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Education & Pre-k - Grade 3

2015 Accomplishments

The Public Education Department (PED) has made Pre-K through third grade education a priority. In this developmental stage, it is crucial that children are well-equipped with the tools necessary to learn and progress.

  1. In year two of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCA) NM Makerstate Initiative, the program went “deep” as well as “broad,” spreading events across 24 communities and serving 1,879 participants statewide. Events included “pop-up makerspaces” which are single events to demonstrate technology to children and teens, on a variety of digital literacy topics, from 3D printing, to sewable electronics, to basic computer programming. Working with the Rural Bookmobiles, the NM Makerstate was able to reach some of the smallest and most isolated communities in the state. As part of the program, maker hubs were established in two libraries, Rio Rancho and Socorro, to establish dedicated, ongoing makerspaces for communities. As a result of its in-state success, New Mexico’s Makerstate Initiative recently received nationwide recognition as a model program for the nation from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. Harvard University Graduate School of Education Project Zero Research Center also tapped the experts behind the creation of the New Mexico’s Makerstate Initiative for a national working group of 35 thought leaders and practitioners to help catalyze a national network of maker educators. The initiative’s success in the past two years will continue and expand, with professional development training to library staff already planned in order to ensure the further reach and ongoing nature of DCA’s NM Makerstate Initiative.

  2. School districts that participated in the Reads to Lead program saw an increase in the number of students in grades K-3 who are proficient in reading by 12 percentage points, with some districts experiencing a 28% growth.

  3. The Public Education Department (PED) successfully secured $12.6 million in additional state funds to further expand its Pre-K, K-3 Plus, and Reads to Lead programs to continue their positive impact on students. Pre-K and extended school year programs have shown to have a significant impact on early student achievement. Through Reads to Lead funding, approximately 5,000 family members received training on literacy strategies to support reading at home with their children.

  4. New Mexico Pre-K continues to grow and produce positive child outcomes. According to the most recent Pre-K annual report for the 2013-14 school year, over 78% of children who completed Pre-K scored at the level of "Accomplishing" or "Exceeds Expectations" on the combined scoring of all seven domains on the Pre-K Observational Assessment. Just as importantly, a 2013 Results First study performed by the NM Legislative Finance Committee found that children who participate in NM Pre-K do significantly better in third grade reading and math than their peers who do not participate in Pre-K.

  5. CYFD has implemented a number of program enhancements aimed at improving the Child Care Assistance program. These improvements include:
    • Gap analysis, a determination of how many families below 150% of the federal poverty level actually receive assistance,
    • Multiple rate increases, raising rural rates to match urban areas, and
    • Quality differentials to incentivize providers to work toward higher quality child care.

Programs & Services

Arts and Service Grants (DCA)

School programs are supported through Arts in Learning funding or through general support of the many nonprofit organizations funded by New Mexico Arts who work in New Mexico schools throughout the state. We also fund many community arts organizations who work with children – in fact the vast majority of our arts services grantees do work with children and/or youth.

Budget Implications: A total of $750,000.00, of which $375,000.00 was Federal and $375,000.00 was State, was expended in the Arts and Services Grants Program in FY13.

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NM State Library Summer Reading (DCA)

The New Mexico State Library (NMSL) leads and supports a summer reading program to inspire a love of reading in school age children, as well as, to prevent the loss of reading skills over the summer. By implementing a wide array of programs and hands-on activities, the summer reading program (SRP) attracts children and parents to libraries and promotes the importance of continuing to read during the months school is out.

Budget Implications: A total of $22,000.00 Federal dollars were allocated to libraries throughout the state for this program in FY13.

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MNH&S Nature Center and Classroom Outreach (DCA)

Sandia Mountain Nature Center: Over 15,000 students, teachers and parents participate in the Ecology Field Program this year. Facilities include 128-forested acres, trails, classrooms, exhibits and conservation demonstrations. Albuquerque Public Schools is a major partner, supporting day-long visits from every fifth grader in the district. Through outreach efforts for schools outside of APS, the SMNHC reaches over one-third of the fifth graders in the state.

Budget Implications: A total of $50,000.00 in State money was allocated to this program in FY 13.

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Interventions for Low Performing Schools (D&F Schools) (PED)

PED is supporting struggling schools by expanding the number of schools participating in the School Leadership Turnaround Program, further developing the Principal’s Pursuing Excellence mentoring program, and continuing in-person support and professional development to help school staff to make data driven decisions at struggling schools. Over 2,000 school staff were trained of people trained in FY13.

Budget Implications: In FY13, $3.5 million dollars in recurring funding were allocated to the program. The Daniel’s Fund provided $460,000 to the program as well.

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NM Reads to Lead (PED)

New Mexico Reads to Lead provides an aligned approach for districts and schools to ensure that children can read by the end of third grade—giving them essential skills for future career and college success. New Mexico Reads to Lead funds a reading K–3 Formative Assessment System provided to districts at no cost. It also provides regional and district reading coaches, supports for intervention, and professional development for parents, teachers, reading coaches, and administrators.

Budget Implications: In FY13, the Reads to Lead program was allocated $8.5 million in non-recurring funding to train 2,200 school staff members.

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A-F School Grading

School grades improve schools by holding them accountable for student learning and allowing the state to identify and invest in schools that are struggling. The grades provide stakeholders a more useful and clear picture of student performance and avoid classifying schools based on characteristics outside their control. In 2013, over 70 percent of New Mexico schools maintained or improved their school grade, with high schools across the state showing the greatest improvement.

Budget Implications: N/A

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New Mexico Graduates Now!

The goal of New Mexico Graduates Now is to increase the state’s high school graduation rates, decrease the number of dropouts and prepare students for success in college or the workplace. In FY13, the program paid for all students to take college readiness assessments, and prepared to launch the following programs: establish new early college high schools, expand workforce readiness programs, increase participation and success in AP in high schools, and implement an early warning dropout system.

Budget Implications: N/A

K-3 Plus (PED)

K-3 Plus provides up to 25 days to the school year for at-risk students in grades K through 3. The purpose of K-3 Plus is to demonstrate that increased time in kindergarten and the early grades narrows the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and other students, increases cognitive skills and leads to higher test scores for all participants. Extended school years have been shown through research to have an impact on student achievement, particularly third grade reading.

Budget Implications: In FY13, $11 million in recurring funding was allocated for K-3 Plus to serve 7,103 students.

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NMTEACH (Teacher and Principal Evaluation)

The new teacher evaluation system will be fully implemented during the 2013-2014 school year, and improves on the previous evaluation system which rated 99 percent of teachers as satisfactory in performance despite low student achievement in the state. The new evaluation system evaluates teachers on performance in the following categories: 50% on improved student achievement, 25% on observations of a teachers’ classroom practice, and 25% on other measures such as student surveys.

Budget Implications: In FY13 $1 million in non-recurring funds was allocated for teacher evaluation professional development.

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Pre-K (PED)

The Pre-K Program promotes kindergarten readiness and early literacy based upon the New Mexico Language Arts Content Standards Benchmarks, and Performance Standards. Priority was given to those schools with the highest proportion of students most in need based upon at-risk indicators, or grade-level schools that serve an entire school district.

Budget Implications: In FY13, $10 million in recurring funding was allocated for PreK to serve 2,850 students.

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GEAR UP’s goals are to: 1) increase family knowledge regarding postsecondary education preparation and financing, and increase the educational expectations of participating students and their parents; 2) increase the high school graduation and college enrollment rates of GEAR UP students; 3) improve the academic performance of students so that they are prepared to do college level work; and 4) foster systemic change in GEAR UP schools that will outlast the grant funding.

Budget Implications: $3 million federal dollars and $3 million non-federal (state, school district and private) matching dollars spent in FY13 and 10,581 Children Served

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Legislative Achievements


The K-3 Plus program provides funding for additional educational time for disadvantaged students in kindergarten through third grade. K-3 Plus is offered in high-poverty public schools, meaning schools in which 80% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-fee lunch at the time the public school applies for the program, or an elementary school with a D or F grade the previous year. HB479 expands the number of schools that can continue utilizing K-3 Plus funding to schools that received a grade of D or F for the previous year and experienced an increased score due to their participation in K-3 Plus. These are schools which are using the program effectively and benefiting greatly from it, and should therefore be encouraged to continue the program for further growth.


This legislation changes minimum educational requirements for teachers seeking licensure in the state, adding required semester hours in social and behavioral science and in communication. It also increases the required hours of student teaching from 14 to 16 weeks. The result of this legislation is to reduce the number of courses that are required by statute and offer greater flexibility for the colleges of education to create programs tailored to the needs of their students. It also has the added benefit of allowing schools of education to reduce the number of credit hours that are required to complete a degree. In making it easier for institutions to cap programs at 120 credit hours, it is possible for prospective educators to complete a degree in four years with 15 credit hours per semester.


This bill requires HED to establish a program by which New Mexico students may take courses at out-of-state postsecondary institutions via distance education, such as video, correspondence, or online courses. To do this, HED may enter the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, a compact of states using uniform standards for their interstate distance education programs.


HB282 requires a common course naming and numbering system by August 1, 2017 to facilitate transfers between lower-level courses that are similar in content, also known as core courses. This system will be implemented in five areas of study: communications, math, lab science, social/behavioral sciences, and humanities/fine arts.


This bill encourages but does not require recipients of the lottery tuition scholarship to volunteer to provide community outreach, primarily through partnering with local nonprofits to mentor public school students, especially ELL and reduced-lunch students. The bill begins a six-year study to track the academic performance of students who mentor and are mentored through the program.

Proposed Next Steps

Step 1:
The Public Education Department (PED) is requesting funds to further expand its Pre-K, K-3 Plus and Reads to Lead programs to continue their positive impact on students. Pre-K and extended school year programs have shown to have a significant impact on early student achievement. The department will develop baseline data sets to determine the impact of the programs on third grade proficiency, in order to determine growth moving forward.
Step 2:
Expanding school programming, the Museum of Art continues its partnership with the arts education nonprofit ArtWorks, and through the MNMF for education, it invested $10,700 to adopt a neighborhood school. Our goals are to increase access to art education and the creative experience in a museum environment for an at-risk population of elementary students in Santa Fe; to teach kids to view themselves as an integral part of a creative and artistic community; and to diversify the audience of the Museum to reflect the local population. We will create a developmentally-appropriate, integrated curriculum to engage students and teachers in an inspiring, relevant, and personally meaningful museum experience. Based on the methodology of the Lincoln Center Institute, ArtWorks makes the arts meaningful for students and teachers, connects to standards-based curriculum, and provides opportunities for exploration and self-expression around a field trip to an arts or performance space.
Step 3:
The hiring of a new Head of Education and Museum Educator has prompted an initiative to create a formal education program and as part of the programming, the Museum of Art Education staff will be training a new class of volunteer docents to lead school groups. The training will begin in 2016 and end in 2017 and will focus on inquiry-based, engaging strategies that are developmentally appropriate and directly related to Common Core Standards focused on English language that include reading and writing standards through visual literacy. The New Mexico Common Core State Standards are a different approach to learning, teaching, and testing that engender a deeper understanding of critical concepts and encourage a practical application of that knowledge using 21st-century skills.
Step 4:
The Department of Cultural Affairs will initiate Wonders on Wheels! (WOW!), an interactive, experiential education museum housed in a 38-foot RV, scheduled to visit rural communities across New Mexico. The Mobile Museum is 300 square feet of arts, culture, history, and science on wheels that will carry carefully curated exhibits to communities throughout the state, most of them remote, underserved, and under-resourced. The exciting hands-on exhibits will provide a rich, experiential curriculum delivered by trained educators who engage students in diverse subject matters ranging from New Mexico history to pueblo arts, and natural science. This unparalleled out-of-the-classroom experience will provide a critical educational experience for approximately 15,000 children annually, reaching students who live too far away from, or don’t otherwise have access to, informal museum learning programs in New Mexico.
Step 5:
The Human Services Department (HSD) and the Indian Affairs Department (IAD) will work together to implement the PAXIS Good Behavior Game (GBG) in certain public and Indian schools throughout the state. The GBG makes class time a game, where teams of students get fun, silly rewards—like jumping around or tapping their pencils for 30 seconds—if they have fewer than three undesirable behaviors, called “spleems,” during a set time. As a result, the GBG teaches self-regulation to make “behaving” fun for students, and classroom management easier for teachers. PAXIS research suggests that the GBG may have long-term benefits for students who play it, including stronger academic performance and lower probability of drug use or crime.
Step 6:
CYFD continues to collaborate with various agencies to strengthen multi-disciplinary teams to improve the outcomes for children and families, especially with a 2016 launch of its new PullTogether campaign to make our state the best place to be a kid.
© 2014 New Mexico Children's Cabinet