The Santa Fe Public Schools State of the Schools address was last night. As many of you know, there are many great things happening in our schools and last night was a celebration of our successes.
Many talented students performed last night, including our very own Nolan Hall and Cyndi Hall. They danced with SFPS Native American Student Services!
Award-winning SFPS teachers were also showcased, including GCS third grade teacher Mrs. Chrissy Romero. Mrs. Romero has been selected as a New Mexico finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Congratulations Mrs. Romero! (sidebar: we'd like to showcase all of our school's talented teachers and students, so please send us your awards and accolades at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our new Superintendent, Veronica C. Garcia also spoke about the successes and the challenges we continue to face as a school district, including low student proficient rates in reading and math and decreased funding from the state. These two major challenges are things, that we as parents, can help remedy in our school and in our school district.
Dr. Garcia's plan to remedy the challenges in the district is to keep her office and our schools focused on the classroom. Every program and dollar spent should directly support our teachers and students in the classroom. She is calling the emphasize "Project Northstar".
Things we can do, as parents, to help remedy low proficiency rates and decreased funding from the state:
1) Ask your child's teacher if your child is proficient in reading and math. If not, find out why not - don't place blame on yourself, your child or the teacher, it's not productive. Just find out what you can do to help make your child proficient and take action.
2) Contact your New Mexico State Legislators and ask them to properly fund education in New Mexico. Our children and teachers deserve better funding. We will post a template that you can use and modify to send to your legislators before the upcoming session in January.
3) We must also be aware of where our dollars are spent. We can do this by asking our teachers if they have the supplies they need to accomplish their goals, attend SAC Meetings at our school (there is a SAC meeting on December 12 at 5:30pm) and school board meetings. We must then take what we learn and make sure it falls in line with "Project Northstar". If not, we must hold SFPS accountable.
Overall, it was a very positive night and I learned that Capital, Santa Fe High School and ECO (Early College Opportunities) have "Pathways" programs that help students develop skills for early career development, including professions in engineering, medicine, and automotive. Santa Fe High School also has "College Plaza", which assists students in finding the path to college. They help students determine if college is for them, help determine a course of college studies, complete college applications and entrance essays. I'm sure they'll even help with the dreaded financial aid applications!
It's up to parents and students to take advantage of the many opportunities SFPS offers or to ask for what we need as a community to succeed in education.
Great work SFPS!