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Teach Plus New Mexico Teachers Address Quality of Teacher Preparation and Equitable Pre-k Enrollment in New Research Reports

June 7, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Today, Teach Plus New Mexico Policy Fellows released their newest education policy research reports, Tailoring Preparation Programs to Better Fit Student, Teacher, and Community Needs: Recommendations for New Mexico Teacher Preparation and New Mexico Pre-K Checklist: An Equitable Approach for Pre-K Enrollment

Tailoring Preparation Programs to Better Fit Student, Teacher, and Community Needs: Recommendations for New Mexico Teacher Preparation
Available data indicates that much of New Mexico’s high teacher turnover is attributed to lack of training and support. To better understand the issues of turnover amongst novice (Level 1) teachers, who leave the profession in the highest numbers, Teach Plus Fellows analyzed their statewide effectiveness levels. The Fellows also reviewed New Mexico’s proposed Educator Preparation Program (EPP) review cards, and compared these to other states’ EPPs that specifically implement a residency model.

To improve new teacher preparation in New Mexico, Teach Plus teachers recommend the following:

  1. Implement clinical preparation programs as a continuous practice.
  2. Ensure there is timely and comprehensive data sharing between NMPED, EPPs, and LEA’s to inform teacher and school placement process.
  3. Specify the duration and timing of clinical experiences for preservice teachers for different EPP models.
  4. Provide more in-the-field experience at high-need schools.

"Taking a closer look at preparation programs across the nation as compared to those in New Mexico was eye-opening,” said Emily Holtz, kindergarten teacher at Rio Rancho Public Schools and the report’s lead author.  “We found many strong examples of effective programs in states like Colorado, New York, and Washington. The key component of each of these was their implementation of a residency program. By utilizing a strong residency program, the teachers of New Mexico can be first-day ready." 

New Mexico Pre-K Checklist: An Equitable Approach for Pre-K Enrollment
Despite increases in state appropriations for Pre-K services in New Mexico, the lack of accessible opportunities for families, especially in poor districts, to enroll their children in full-day programs remains a problem. Teach Plus Fellows examined the benefits that Pre-K brings to young children and their families and, based on this, developed a statewide checklist to ensure that most-in-need four-year olds in the state receive a timely, high-quality education. 

To ensure a more equitable enrollment process throughout the New Mexico in Pre-K programs, the Fellows recommend prioritizing access for: 

  1. Students who receive special education services in rural and smaller districts (who currently don’t have access to an inclusion setting).
  2. Students who are English language learners. 
  3. Students whose families are on welfare or are low socioeconomic status (SES).
  4. Students who are homeless or in foster care. 
  5. Students with a parent enrolled in the armed forces in the United States, whether active duty or a parent who was killed on active duty.

“Working with Teach Plus has been an empowering and exciting experience,” said Andrea Infantino, 4th grade teacher at Rio Rancho Public Schools and one of the report’s authors. “I am most excited about the checklist that will prioritize students in most need of receiving Pre-K, while we work to ensure that all children across our state have access to Pre-K programs within the next several years." 

“A key aspect of the Teach Plus Fellowship is that teachers learn to think like researchers in order to develop informed and comprehensive policy solutions,” said Hope Morales, New Mexico Policy Director. “By taking the time to research the various aspects of quality teacher preparation and equitable pre-K enrollment, the Fellows were able to bring thoughtful recommendations to the table on two critical issues in New Mexico’s education.” 

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.  teachplus.org