Blog

Addressing the Needs of System Involved Students

February 09, 2017 by Grace Spulak, Director of FosterEd: New Mexico

Sen Kernan and the SB 213/HB 301 advocacy team from NCYL and NMCAN

“Our vision is for each and every young person involved in the state’s system to be positively engaged in school and learning, empowered to take charge of their educational futures and have meaningful relationships with caring adults.”

 

 

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A Rare Opportunity to Shape the Future of Education in Communities and States across America

January 26, 2017 by Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL

With a new federal K-12 education law in the United States passed, the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), it is a historic time in public education.  The power has shifted back to state and local systems to plan, design and strengthen public education for each and every student in the future.

 

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5 Reasons to ask your Legislator to Support Alternative Student Assessments

January 19, 2017 by Tony Monfiletto

A special thanks to iNOCAL CEO and President Susan Patrick, for sharing your knowledge with us at our Reimagining Assessment event and for this blog.

Senator Michael PadillaThis year, New Mexico has a unique opportunity to determine on a local level how we want to approach education and student assessment. State Senator Michael Padilla has introduced Senate Joint Memorial 1 to the New Mexico Legislature.

 

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3 New Mexico Ed Organizations to Watch Out for in 2017

December 29, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

“We spent a lot of time working with many partners to move a statewide transformation agenda.  Below are three organizations we collaborated with that will surely make big waves in 2017.”

 

 

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Positive Youth Development Tour Report

December 15, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

PYD ModelIn October we brought sixty people to visit seven middle and high schools in Albuquerque that are doing exemplary Positive Youth Development work supporting students so that they can learn.  Our guests saw some of the most creative ways to ensure that young people are nurtured and able to do their best work when they are at school.  We toured these schools with students, community leaders and policy makers and we have learned a lot about how we can re-imagine schools so that students can reach their full potential.

 

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Guest Blog: Finding Common Ground in Support for our Children

December 01, 2016 by

“In the vast diversity of our plurality, how will we share identity? Perhaps, we’ll find our common ground in our earliest identities – as family members.”

 

 

 

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3 Reasons why it’s important that we invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs

November 16, 2016 by Verge Fund staff

Siembra, the fourth Leadership Network High School, is proud to share a building with Verge Fund. To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week and almost one full semester being just footsteps away from the next generation of entrepreneurs, Verge Fund teamed up with the Center to reflect on the importance of investing in our youth.

“We believe that homerun technologies and companies can be created here, and we know that the teachers and students at Siembra Leadership High School believe the same. “

 

 

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Guest Blog – Heart’s Role in Education – Positive Youth Development Tour Follow-Up

November 03, 2016 by Cynthia Ramirez

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

– Aristotle

 

 

 

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The Relationship Between Schools and Communities is More Important than We Think

October 27, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

“Investing in the social and emotional well-being of our students is a practical investment in our futureand one of the best ways to change some of the troubling trends in our community.”

 

 

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Guest Blog – 3 Reasons Why Positive Youth Development Isn’t More Present in our Schools

October 13, 2016 by Leslie Kelly

As we near the Youth Development Tour, The Center for School Leadership will host a series of guest blogs from Positive Youth Development leaders in New Mexico. Click here to RSVP and learn more about the Youth Development Tour.

If positive youth development is truly a preventative approach to supporting all youth and ensuring their academic, social and personal success, why isn’t PYD engrained in our education system as part of what all educators do to endure student success?

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Guest blog – Children Grieve Too: Supporting Children Through Grief is Important for their Success

October 06, 2016 by Jade Richardson Bock, Children's Grief Network

As we near the Youth Development Tour, The Center for School Leadership will host a series of guest blogs from Positive Youth Development leaders in New Mexico. Click here to RSVP and learn more about the Youth Development Tour.

jade-richardson-bock

Positive Youth Development helps kids find their strength, their gift, and their story.

– Jade Richardson Bock

 

 

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The Tradeoff: How The Focus on Test Scores Actually Hurts Our Students

September 29, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

And How Positive Youth Development Can Help

When I cofounded Amy Biehl High School in 2000, one of the first things I was told was that I was part of a bargain that “traded autonomy for accountability.” This meant that we had control over our budget, hiring, governance, and curriculum – in exchange for high scores on standardized tests. If we didn’t perform, then we would be closed.

 

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My Interview with Young People: What Listening to our Youth Can Teach Us About Education

September 15, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

 

Listening to our Youth

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” ― John DeweyPhilosopher, Education Reformer.
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New Mexico Needs to Embrace Deeper Learning

September 01, 2016 by Justin Trager

Center for School Leadership Justin Trager

“Deeper Learning is a fresh perspective in an educational climate that has standardized instruction and learning in New Mexico; an emphasis that has not served our students and families well.” – Justin Trager

 

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Responding to the Student’s Dream: Lessons Learned from Positive Youth Developers in New Mexico

August 18, 2016 by Laurel Meister

Christina Rodriguez

“I envision a future where equity is a real thing, where youth leadership is a normal part of society and it’s accessible… Everyone has a right to consume and produce media, to tell their own story, to make a change in their community.” – Christina Rodriguez

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Accountability Should be Calibrated to the Students a School Serves

August 04, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

Charter School AccountabilityRoughly 40 percent of the charter schools in New Mexico are designed to serve students who are not successful in traditional school.  The overwhelming majority of these schools receive Fs on their school report cards.   This year we have joined with the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools to address this problem –either through regulation or new legislation that will be proposed in January 2017.  read more…


New Mexico Regaining Control of Education from the Fed

July 21, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

Every Student Succeeds Act will replace No Child Left Behind this year, returning education accountability from the federal government back to the states.

Tony Monfiletto

It’s been more than a decade since No Child Left Behind was passed with great bipartisan fanfare. The thesis was, “If we invest in accountability, then the schools and the people who work in them will be compelled to serve students better.” Testing was the theory of change; teachers will do what is best for young people, or we will close their schools and take their jobs away. read more…


5 Steps to Incubating New Schools

June 23, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

WeFive years ago we established a vision to provide the best education for the students who need it the most. Troubling graduation rates, disengage
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Two Things Parents and Young People Taught Me About Our Democracy

June 09, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

2Today I learned two things that are so basic about young people and our democracy that I am embarrassed to call them a revelation. I write this blog on the eve of the primary election in New Mexico and I just returned home from making calls to prospective voters.  I love volunteering for elections because an engaged community makes for a better democracy (and I’m a bit of a government nerd). I want my neighbors to read more…


Three Things You didn’t know about ACE Graduates

May 26, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

It’s graduation time and last week 72 students got a diploma from ACE Leadership High School.  The students completed their studies by doing a capstone project that proved they were ready for college and a career. It’s a huge deal for these young people because nearly all of them had dropped out or were far behind in their credits before arriving at the school.  It’s also a big deal because read more…


Five Lessons About Old People that Apply to Adolescents.

April 21, 2016 by

5How would you know a “mindful” school if you saw it? I recently read Mindfulness by Ellen Langer and I was struck by the parallels between nursing homes and high schools.  They may serve opposite ends of the age spectrum, but they do it in remarkably similar ways.  Dr. Langer is a renowned psychologist who has studied mindfulness through a scientific lens.  She has found that the more control you have read more…


Let’s “Opt In” to Something Better than PARCC

April 14, 2016 by Justin Trager

It is that time of year again. I take my children to their local APS schools and the conversation sparks up about the PARRC test; specifically why I should opt my children out of a test many people question. As a parent, teacher, and education reform advocate, I understand and share that feeling of skepticism and unease. The Opt Out Movement has grown as a way for people to express frustration with the PARRC. However, I believe that we need read more…


10 Ways to Pop the Traditional School Bubble

April 07, 2016 by Laurel Meister

10 Ways to Pop the Traditional School Bubble-3You’ve been told not to pop your bubblegum in class—but what about in a school with no classrooms? One innovative initiative among New Mexico charter schools is breaking the school rules, encouraging students out of their desks and into the community. Recognizing a need to better serve at-risk students left uninspired by traditional education read more…


5 Takeaways from the Gates Foundation for Education

March 24, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

On March 18th the Stanford Social Innovation Review ran an article called Making Good Ideas Go Viral (we recommend giving it a read). The piece reminds readers of the seemingly obvious but oft forgotten reality that teachers are human beings working in schools- which are human institutions. read more…


A Visit With Ashley Smith

March 10, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

IMG_2247 (1)Ashley Smith, the Executive Director & Founder of the Artesian Community School in Memphis, Tennessee visited us recently to learn about the way we develop schools deeply rooted in the community. read more…


Community Connections as a Problem of Practice

February 18, 2016 by Tim Kubik, Ph.D.

Kubik_Color_webSchooling is often thought of as a transaction. That’s part of the founding philosophy at ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had the good fortune to attend the Second Annual Capstone Networking Event at ACE last week, and it was proof that at ACE, transactions are much more than a deposi read more…


It’s Time to Re-Imagine Our Public Schools

January 11, 2016 by Tony Monfiletto

Photo Credit: By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 http://bit.ly/O4HoxD]

Photo Credit: By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 http://bit.ly/O4HoxD]

This is a moment in time when we could chart a future that connects our schools to our future prosperity. The Federal ESEA re-authorization, which has now been signed by the President, gives states the freedom to set out their own expectations for their students. The Federal dominance of education policy is shifting back to the states and we could take the initiative to build a consensus about our future. What does our own community think young people should know and be able to do?

In 2015, the State of New Mexico spent $2.8 billion on public school operations and the Albuquerque Public Schools spent $687 million on the same purpose. In addition, APS spent $650 million on buildings, transportation, and other items read more…


New Mexico Center for School Leadership Report Preview

December 10, 2015 by MediaDesk NM


Bottom Up Strategy

October 29, 2015 by Tony Monfiletto

CSLAndy Cook is a Milken Award winning teacher at Manzano High School. The Milken Award is reserved for our nation’s most respected teachers. Some call it the Grammy™ of education. And Andy is a well deserving recipient; he is beyond dedicated to his school and public schools in general. He is skilled at engaging students and inspiring colleagues. He is just the kind of dedicated, thoughtful, and talented teacher that read more…


Big Money, Quick Answers and Unsuccessful School Reform

October 15, 2015 by Tony Monfiletto

IMG_1379Newark, New Jersey was once poised to become America’s leader in education reform. In 2009 an effort emerged that sought to bring critical changes to a community whose students were experiencing progressive inertia in their educational performance. The then Governor, Chris Christie, Mayor, Corey Booker and philanthropists collectively dreamt about making Newark the  “sexiest” place in America for school reformers. They wanted to do some good, and do it quickly. read more…


What Would Albert Do?

September 24, 2015 by Tony Monfiletto

“Don’t go off on your own and forget about us” was the last comment APS Board Member Barbara Peterson made to me after she abstained from voting on our charter proposal for the new entrepreneurship-focused Leadership High School, which was approved this month to become the fourth leadership high school in the LHSN. Peterson’s comment is a reminder that I’ve been operating outside the traditional school system for seventeen years in order to carve out a niche that would
allow innovation in public schools to flourish. When I co-founded one of Albuquerque’s first autonomous charter schools, Amy Biehl High School, in 1999, I did so after read more…


Op-ed: Creating New Leaders Through Entrepreneurship

September 03, 2015 by Moises Padilla

Entrepreneurship High School SummitEntrepreneurs drive the economy and account for the majority of the nation’s new job creation. Almost 80 percent of would-be entrepreneurs in the U.S. are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four. In 2005 a poll by Junior Achievement found that nearly 70 percent of teenagers interviewed wanted to be entrepreneurs. The question is: how do you start to create meaningful curriculum around this need? How do you foster an environment that creates and nurtures a creative spirit in our youth? read more…


The New Metrics Initiative: A Student’s Opinion

August 27, 2015 by Laurel Meister

Laurel Meister

Laurel Meister

If students grasped the opportunities that await them here, they would see that New Mexico’s vibrant culture and strongly woven community foster an ideal learning environment. As a graduate of Sandia High School and a current student at Trinity University, I regret that I learned to love New Mexico only after packing my bags for Texas. I think that was because my high school education remained well within classroom walls when it could have urged me into the surrounding community I was never able to fully appreciate then. read more…


Learning By Doing

August 20, 2015 by Center Staff

Learning By Doing One of the great myths of traditional school systems is the so-called “real world,” a separate realm or reality that students travel to only after graduation; a reality far from that of the school. The New Mexico Center for School Leadership strives to dispel this myth. The Center encourages students to discover how they interact with our living world on a daily basis. We believe the classroom should not merely resemble the “real world” but play an active role within it. This approach is a response to a community call for career readiness, as identified in the Learning Alliance of New Mexico’s 2015 Community Dialogues report, which emphasized the importance of Learning by Doing. read more…


360 Degree Student Support

August 13, 2015 by Center Staff

360 Student Support

It takes a special kind of school to get students out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, it even takes a staff member knocking on the door. This is precisely what Steve Sanchez did when he and one of his fellow social workers at ACE Leadership High School decided to pick up a student who had been read more…


Community Engagement

August 06, 2015 by Center Staff

Community Engagement

Photo Credit: greensudbury via flickr CC

Moneka Stevens-Cordova asks questions that have stumped schools for years. “How can we engage students? How can we ignite a passion in them and help them discover the assets that they can bring to their community?” As the Community Engagement Director of the innovative Health Leadership High School, Stevens-Cordova found answers that most traditional schools could never imagine, and she helped the studentsof Health Leadership High School plant a few seeds of their own in the process. read more…


New Metrics – Schools That Go Beyond Test Scores

May 11, 2015 by Center Staff

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 5.51.57 PMCan a standardized test summarize a student’s preparedness for life after school? The response is often a resounding “No.” A collaborative, two-year effort is underway in Albuquerque, NM to develop new methods of evaluation that lay the groundwork for innovation and improvement in our education system. The New Mexico Center for School Leadership, the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center and the McCune Charitable Foundation have convened a cross-section of leaders from innovative New Mexico charter schools. The Initiative seeks to identify new metrics of evaluation that support and incentivize schools that provide students with the educational experiences and skills they need to become successful adults. read more…


Education Cities

January 13, 2015 by Tony Monfiletto

Education CitiesThirty years ago I found myself at a Coalition of Essential Schools conference.  I was a college student and It was the annual Fall Forum and it was being held in Albuquerque.  My parents were teachers and they were close friends with Don Whatley the former head of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (AFT) who let me join him as his guest.  I didn’t really understand why my parents wanted me to go, or why Don cared enough to invite me, but I’m glad I went.  It was an exciting time to be a teacher and the Coalition of Essential Schools focus on personalized learning for students had captured everyone’s imagination.

A lot has happened since that Fall Forum in Albuquerque.  CES has struggled to remain relevant in the age of technology, standardization, and high stakes testing.  Their core values of equity, using one’s mind well, and local control have lost their luster as the locus of power has migrated to Washington DC, state capitals, and district central offices.  However, I believe we are coming full circle as now that we’ve been bitten by the unintended consequences of master planning where its common to expect every student to be on the same page in the same book at the same time as every other student. read more…


NPR New Orleans

October 14, 2014 by Tony Monfiletto

Photo by Alberto G. Licensed under CC 2.0 G

Photo by Alberto G. Licensed under CC 2.0 G

I am a former school principal and I currently lead an incubator for new schools in my home town, Albuquerque New Mexico.  The schools are focused on Project-Based Learning as a way to provide a thrilling and relevant education to young people who are off track to graduation or who have dropped out of school and returning to earn a diploma.  Yesterday I was listening to NPR while making my daughter breakfast. Cooking a meal from scratch for her is a highlight of my day, and most times we listen to one of her or my favorite Pandora stations while we eat. But yesterday, we happened to be tuned into NPR and a report entitled A New Orleans Charter School Marches To Its Own Tune came on.

It’s a story that hit close to home and adds a new dimension to the school reform movement. read more…


The Political Science of School Reform

August 10, 2014 by Center Staff

In The Allure of Order, Jal Mehta states “will we recognize that education is inherently a question of politics and justice, and that logics of efficiency will never replace the hard political choices that will be needed to give a better education to our most disadvantaged citizens.”  He contends that if we put more resources into creating better teachers and funding the schools adequately, then performance will improve for disadvantaged students.  The distribution of performance is a result of having under-resourced schools and affluent schools at the extremes of a bell curve with most students in the middle.  If we adequately resourced the schools where most poor performers are, then we would shift the curve.

Distribution of Student Performance

Distribution of student performance

“Good Money After Bad”

While investing more time and energy into the current system could have a positive effect, it is not a strategy that is likely to get traction.  read more…


A Charter School in No­-Man’s Land

April 10, 2013 by Tony Monfiletto

tony monfilettoOriginally published in Education Week’s Teacher Blog, Living in Dialogue by Anthony Cody.

I was pleased when Anthony Cody asked me to write for this blog. I believe he asked because he respects our work and he is worried that we are vulnerable. I am a co­founder of Architecture Construction and Engineering (ACE) and Health Leadership High schools and we do not have a home on the current school reform landscape­­ Anthony thinks we are in “no­-man’s land.”

I’m definitely an outsider, but off the grid? My partners and I have avoided aligning ourselves with many of the traditional players in the school reform debate. Our work is fundamental to good schooling but only tangential to the controversy over standardized tests and charter schools. read more…


Incentives

March 23, 2013 by Tony Monfiletto

Student Exhibitions at Health Leadership High School

Student Exhibitions at Health Leadership High School

Richard Rothstein is a prolific writer about education reform.  In Grading Education he documents the effect of perverse incentives on schools and other public institutions, everything from the Soviet Union to the Atlanta Public Schools. The cornerstone of the problem he identifies is the standardized tests we use to measure whether schools are effective. He quotes Donald Cambell in his central argument against them:

The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.

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Ice Cream for Dinner

May 12, 2012 by Tony Monfiletto

Health Leadership High School Students

Health Leadership High School Students

I have been reading a lot about the future of Career and Technical Education (CTE) lately and I must say that I do not understand where this sector of our public education system is headed. Maybe that is because I don’t know much about that world from personal experience. I never took shop in high school and the “Industrial Arts” classrooms were in a different wing of the comprehensive high school from where I used to teach. Yet, one could argue that I am now the founder of a CTE school. How is that possible for a guy who has to remind himself of the “lefty loosey and righty tighty” rule when using a screw driver? read more…


Launch Letter

March 02, 2012 by Tony Monfiletto

IMG_1386On February 17, 2012 we launched the New Mexico Center for School Leadership. Our first formal activity was to host all of the new New Mexico charter school applicants for two days to help them imagine create the most innovative solutions to design challenges they face. We were heartened by our guests’ passion for finding new answers to sticky problems faced by our public schools. Below is a letter I have written to the ACE Leadershsip faculty that outlines the importance their role in helping new school leaders visualize the change they wish to see in their schools.

Dear ACE Leadership High School Faculty,

Thank you for welcoming visitors to our school and into your classrooms. On February 17, we launched the New Mexico Center for School Leadership, Networking and Re-design (the Center) by hosting 16 potential school founders and their teams. read more…


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