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HomeNewsAlbuquerque Public Schools Sets Ambitious Five-Year Goals to Boost Student Achievement

Albuquerque Public Schools Sets Ambitious Five-Year Goals to Boost Student Achievement

As part of the ongoing implementation of the district’s new “Emerging Stronger” Strategic Plan, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) outlined a series of annual targets for each of the district’s four goals. The annual targets create an opportunity for the community to track the progress of district towards executing the goals. As mandated in the district’s Emerging Stronger strategic plan, APS set targets focused on reaching the district’s goals. These goals focus on improving student results, including literacy, math proficiency, post-secondary readiness, and key skills and mindsets aligned with life success.

Incoming Superintendent Gabrielle Duran Blakey detailed the new annual targets during the Board of Education meeting on April 17, emphasizing the strategic approach known as “Sleep, Creep, Leap” to gradually enhance educational outcomes by 2028. 

Duran Blakey compared implementation of the strategic plan to a plant. She described year one as “Sleep,” where the roots are developed; year two as “Creep,” where systems develop and growth begins; and year three as “Leap,” where the systems are established, allowing for the plant to flower and results to emerge.

According to Duran Blakey, the annual targets are designed to be milestones toward achieving significant improvements in student achievements across various demographics, especially those identified under the Yazzie-Martinez decision and African American students.

Duran Blakey’s contract stipulates that her performance evaluations are directly linked to APS’s success in achieving the goals set in the strategic plan.. Duran Blakey was required to be involved in crafting the annual targets, which were approved by the board of education.

Literacy Proficiency Goals

Goal 1 of the Emerging Better Strategic Plan calls for a 10 percentage-point gain in third-grade student literacy proficiency by 2028.

“Our literacy goal is ambitious yet essential. We aim to elevate third-grade literacy rates significantly, setting a foundation for lifelong learning and success,” Duran Blakey said. “By progressively increasing our targets each year, we’re committed to ensuring that more of our students achieve grade-level proficiency in English Language Arts, which is crucial for their academic and future career success.”

Addressing literacy, the percentage of third-grade students demonstrating grade-level proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) should rise from 27.3 percent in 2023 to 37.3 percent by 2028, according to the goal

The annual targets set for the next five years aim for a gradual increase in third grade proficiency, starting with a target for 28.3 percent of students to reach proficiency in 2024.

  • 2025: 29.3 percent
  • 2026: 31.3 percent
  •  2027: 34.3 percent
  • 2028: 37.3 percent

To improve third grade rates, APS is tracking the proficiency of their kindergarten, first grade, and third grade students.

Math Proficiency Goals

Goal 2 of the strategic plan focuses on math. Aiming to increase the levels of proficiency among eighth-grade students, the strategic plan calls for an increase from the current 11.1 percent proficiency rate to 21.1 percent by the end of the five-year period.

“Improving math proficiency is critical for our students’ ability to succeed in a rapidly evolving world,” Duran Blakey said. “Our goal to double the proficiency rate by 2028 reflects our commitment to this essential skill. With a structured approach, we are dedicated to providing our students with the strong mathematical foundation they need to excel in higher education and beyond.”

Like literacy, the math targets are structured for gradual improvement, with a 2024 target for 12.1 percent of their eighth grade students to reach proficiency.

  •  2025: 13.1 percent
  • 2026: 15.1 percent
  •  2027: 18.1 percent
  •  2028: 21.1 percent

To track their progress towards this goal, APS will monitor their sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students’ proficiency rates.

Post-Secondary Readiness

Goal three represents APS’s commitment to ensure that students are not only academically prepared but also equipped with the credentials needed to advance in today’s competitive work environment by graduating students with certificates and skills. 

Goal three promises an increase in the number of students who graduate with work certificates and college credits from 39.6 percent to 49.6 percent by September 2028.

“Our goal for post-secondary readiness is to ensure that more of our high school graduates are equipped with the necessary credits and certifications to thrive in higher education and the workforce,” Duran Blakey said. “By increasing the percentage of students who engage in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Dual Credit courses, or earn an industry certification or Bilingual Seal, we are setting them on a path to success and making a profound impact on their future opportunities.”

APS is tracking the number of students graduating with these certificates and credits, setting a 2024 goal of 40.6 percent of graduates obtaining at least one of the targeted credentials. The annual targets for Goal 3 are: 

  • 2025: 41.6 percent
  •  2026: 43.6 percent
  • 2027: 45.6 percent
  •  2028: 49.6 percent

APS is looking to accomplish this goal by tracking the rate of student dropouts, enrollment in  courses that offer work certificates, and the enrollment of classes that offer college credit.

Skills, Habits, and Mindsets

With Goal 4, the district is taking a new approach, aimed to ensure students have the skills, habits, and mindsets essential for success.

“Fostering the right skills, habits, and mindsets in our students is essential for their success in all walks of life,” Duran Blakey said. “Our goal is to nurture perseverance, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and social awareness, ensuring that our students are not only academically capable but also emotionally and socially prepared to face the challenges of the future. By measuring these attributes separately, we can provide targeted interventions that promote holistic development and truly prepare our students for life beyond school.”

Goal 4 aims to increase the percentage of students who demonstrate the skills, habits, and mindsets most aligned to life success: perseverance, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and social awareness as measured by an evidence-based and aligned tool from: 

  • Perseverance: 51 percent in 2023 to 61 percent in 2028
  • Self-Regulation: 65 percent in 2023 to 75 percent in 2028
  • Self-Efficacy from 44 percent in 2023 to 54 percent in 2028
  •  Social Awareness from 58 percent in 2023 to 68 percent in 2028

This strategic framework, according to Duran Blakey, ensures that APS remains focused and committed to delivering high-quality education and achieving measurable improvements in student outcomes, aligning with the community’s vision and educational values.