SANTA FE (KRQE) – School grades are in and, overall, most New Mexico schools stayed the same, or did better than last year. Albuquerque schools earned more “A’s” and fewer “F’s”. Yet, the majority of the district’s schools fall somewhere in the middle.
Here’s a look at the statewide numbers: 332 were graded an “A” or “B”, that’s slightly more than the 323 “D’s” and “F’s”. News 13 looked at how APS falls into the mix.
In August, Kianna Annmarie Pacheco will begin her first year at Tomasita Elementary. Yet, Thursday, she and her grandmother Debra Gallegos found out the school’s score, an “F”.
“That does kind of concern me. I hope this school will be good for her. I thought it was a good school,” says Gallegos.
Tomasita is just one of 14 Albuquerque Public Schools that failed.
Three years ago, the state started giving schools a letter grade, replacing the old pass or fail model. They say this system, which hasn’t come without controversy, shows if schools are improving.
“They’re not just about a static test score and asking a single question like, are our kids on grade level, which is an important question to ask. But they’re asking, are our kids improving, even if they start out behind,” explains New Mexico Education Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera.
It looks like APS schools did improve in some areas.
Here’s how the past two years of numbers compare: This past school year, 15 schools received “A” grades. Last school year, there were only 10. There were 46 “B’s” this past school year compared to 40 last school year. The number of “C’s” dropped by 20, from 50 to 30. On the other hand, “D’s” jumped from 40 to 51. Finally, there were 14 “F’s” this past school year compared to 15 last school year.
Skandera says she’s happy with the grades, overall, but says we still have a ways to go.
“The key for improvements in our school grades is seeing our students improve. The focus on improving, especially for our lowest performing students, they’re improvement is triple weighted in a school grade. Why? Because we want to close the achievement gap,” Skandera said.
“I was not surprised,” says parent Erin McKay-White.
McKay-White will soon send her second child to “A”-rated Sandia High. She says Sandia has always been a top notch school in her mind.
“The experiences that I’ve had, the faculty and the school itself, everybody who works there and the students themselves, as well, are really good. They do actually care about eachother,” McKay-White says.
As for Pacheco and Gallegos? They’re staying optimistic.
Five APS high schools received “A” grades and no high schools received an “F”. The district’s middle schools struggled but, elementary schools improved. The state has broken down the grades by district and school.