There are hundreds of students in our state who are currently underserved or not served by the traditional public school system. We seek to bridge this gap and provide underserved students with an excellent education that is relevant, rigorous, engaging, and most importantly, prepares them for their future.

The Center works to promote and accelerate improvement in three spheres of work: Leadership High School Network (LHSN) development, expansion and school design, and creating an enabling policy environment.

The New Mexico Center for School Leadership’s Areas of Work

leadership high school network

The Leadership High School Network

The Center for School Leadership serves as an incubator of the Leadership High School Network (LHSN). The mission of the Leadership High School Network is to foster school environments that specifically support young people who have not been served by the traditional school system. Leadership High School Network schools focus on the overall well being of our community’s young people while also ensuring student success through the development of career-related skills that prepare them for futures in high-wage industries in our state. The LHSN is informed by the three fundamental pillars of effective school design. Each pillar plays a role in ensuring that students are cared for and fully engaged in their learning.

The Center works directly with leaders within the Leadership High School Network to foster innovation and learning, develop leadership and teacher expertise, and ensure rich curriculum design that crosses over industries and geographic communities to ensure our students in New Mexico receive an excellent education that prepares them to navigate a dynamic future.

LHSN schools focus on promoting deep thinking and problem solving skills, and developing nuanced understandings through project-based learning. The design of these schools is grounded in a deep knowledge of industry from professionals, in the direct engagement with LHSN schools and students, and in research and expertise from the Center for School Leadership.

The LHSN is designed to serve roughly 2,000 students per year, graduating roughly 500 students per year when the schools are fully developed. We estimate that 33 percent, or 165 of these graduates, would be “Opportunity Youth” (youth who otherwise would not be working or going to school).

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student and teacherExpansion

Leadership High School Network
One of the Center’s primary goals is to create a tight interdependent network of Leadership High Schools that serve as platforms to connect high growth employers to poor, disenfranchised communities. The Leadership High School Network  is the proving ground for the three pillar model that are core to the mission of each school:

1.) Learning by doing, 2.) 360 degree support and 3.) Community engagement

Leadership High School Network schools share a common school calendar and work together during professional development sessions. All school leaders participate in a year-long residency program where they engage deeply in the practices of the school.

Affiliate Network Members
The second tier of our work is focused on expanding our network to include existing and new schools that share common principles with the Leadership High School Network. These schools see community impact as a foundational element of their work and their practices align with the three pillar model mentioned above. They also collaborate with each other through an emerging professional learning community to refine their practice.

See our Partners in Action. Click the images below for videos!

Technical Assistance
The Center provides high quality technical assistance and professional development to educators who can be catalysts for change in New Mexico through its residency program. The Center residency experience is focused in three areas:

  1. The Critical Path to Opening
  2. Embedded learning in the context of Health and ACE Leadership High Schools
  3. Coaching from external consultants to provide a meta-cognitive frame for the experience

center for school leadershipThe Center also hosts school visits with educators from other communities (primarily in New Mexico) who can observe the ongoing practice taking place at the Leadership High Schools. All visits will have the benefit of pre-conferencing to ensure that the visitor’s time is maximized. These site visits include, classroom observations and critiques, text-based seminars, and “Ateliers” or design studios that can enhance the formative thinking of school founders.

The Center also provides technical assistance to schools that wish to learn about the three pillar design. Schools interested in the Center’s technical assistance do not need to be part of the loose or tight network of Center for School Leadership affiliates.

The Education Landscape

Our goal is to build a narrative for change in New Mexico. Like many places in the United States, our community’s conception of school is limited to our current frame of reference and our goal is to help imagine new models and that can help us visualize new, exciting possibilities for education. Stimulating the community’s imagination will stimulate the demand for change.

If we intend to change the landscape of education reform we need to ensure there are more schools that are connected to more employers, and that these schools are located in more communities. We seek to carefully replicate our model to maximize the relationships with important stakeholders and increase the presence of highly engaging schools. As more schools, young people, and employers embrace our design, and demonstrate the results, the demand for policy makers to respond will grow.

We are place-based and our model is designed backward from the hopes of our own community. Our partners in philanthropy rely on us to be responsive to the community and investments in our work make an impact beyond the students we serve. We invite them to be our financial partners and our thought partners as we go forward to pursue a community development agenda.

Our work is not well understood in the current policy landscape. The impact and potential of performance assessment to measure student learning, new metrics and methods to evaluate school performance, and professional practice that is rooted in our three pillar design is not well understood. As such, our schools still function within an educational system with a singular focus on high stakes standardized testing. This narrow focus threatens the progress we have made. Our goal is to build a policy landscape that accommodates our best work, which is designed to provide the best education for the students who need it the most.