Another year in the books. This time of year, as I recall, is one of considerable activity as you prepare your budget for next year, perform those final evaluations, set up staffing for next year, graduate those students that you have worked so hard to get across the stage, and find the inspiration to begin “visioning” where you and your district are heading next year. From my chair, I want to recognize your hard work and give you thanks on behalf of all of us in the system of public education in New Mexico. Recently, I found data that shows your hard work is accomplishing many of our goals. For example, our graduation rate in New Mexico has been on a steady increase and has moved New Mexico onto par with our nation and in many cases, beyond – congratulations!
As you complete the final consideration of the 2019-2020 budget, thank you for your careful planning and consideration of the challenge of providing equity of access and working to assure that ALL of our students are encouraged to succeed. Many of you have joined in the process of determining what kind of calendar works best for your community. Many of you have talked to me about the challenge of balancing your resources, providing your staff with effective PD, and developing a local answer to how you increase instruction to those who need it while balancing the desires of your staff to take much deserved time off to recharge and prepare for next year. Thank you for your careful considerations and your thoughtful choices.
The State Legislature and the Governor worked hard to provide adequate resources for the public school mission. We will have an opportunity to interact with the LFC, LESC, PED, HED, and Governor’s Office as we work in the interim before next year to review the decisions about extended school year, K-5+, salary increases and their minimums, Educational Retirement Act, our health insurance coverages, and the investment necessary to meet the Martinez/Yazzie Lawsuit. It appears that our state resource will be good for next year and the ability to hold reserves will apparently continue. It is my belief that we still have some work to do to reach the proper balances in our practice which recognizes the need to fully support our students while balancing the fact that “one size doesn’t fit all.” I look to each of you for your insights and leadership in this regard.
The NMCEL Board will be meeting in June to set our goals for the upcoming year. That retreat will focus on the exceptional work that you have participated in over the last two years to “vision” New Mexico Public Education. I challenge each of you to continue that dialogue as we move into the 2019-2020 school year. I appreciate the agreement and inclination of our new Secretary and her Cabinet to embrace our vision and to integrate her efforts to align with each of us in the field to assure alignment of effort and resource. Secretary Trujillo will be the opening keynote for our summer conference, which will be at Embassy Suites in Albuquerque from July 23-26. That keynote will be at our first General Session on Thursday, July 25. This Summer Conference promises to be among the best we have had. Please plan to attend. You will find more information on our website.
As I travel the state and meet with many of you, I continue to be impressed with your drive and your commitment to reaching out to meet the needs of your students. Thank you for your professional perspectives and your dedication to our students!