In just a few short weeks, the holiday season will be upon us; and as if we don’t have enough to do with our full time jobs of leading schools and school districts and our other full time job which comes with being part of a family, now we have the added pressure of preparing for the holidays ahead! It’s enough to make anyone want to throw up their hands and give up. Yet, educators don’t do that at all.
In the midst of so much negativity about public education, we also hear about the great work being done in our schools. Just recently, one superintendent remarked about how tired he is of hearing that New Mexico is ranked 49th and 50th when it comes to educating and caring for our children. Yet, he reminded us, why don’t we hear about the many Blue Ribbon schools in New Mexico? Doesn’t that demonstrate that we have great schools in New Mexico? The process for achieving Blue Ribbon status is not a simple one and of the thousands of schools in the country, several New Mexico schools have received these awards—most recently in Dora and Gadsden. So why is it that we hear the negative press about public schools, but rarely about the great things that are happening throughout our state?
The NM School Boards Association along with various partners, NMCEL, NMSSA, AFT, NEA and others are working to remedy that situation. In a few weeks, the NMSBA will release a video produced by Christopher Productions showcasing New Mexicans who have gone through the public school system who are successful, productive role models. Our hope is that this will serve as a catalyst for districts to also showcase all the positive and productive outcomes in their districts. We, in the public schools, are not very adept at tooting our own horn; we believe that our communities can see for themselves what a great job we are doing. We all need to do our part to remind the public that public schools have been and remain the great equalizer. Public education is available to everyone regardless of their background, ability, beliefs or heritage; regardless of whether they are rich or poor, regardless of their intellectual ability. Every public school employee makes a difference in the lives of the children they serve every day.
This year as we sit around our family gatherings, let’s think about all those unsung heroes and heroines in our schools: the ones who give up their own family time to think about and plan lessons for your children and my grandchildren, the ones who take money from their own pockets to provide for kids who don’t have someone to do that for them, the ones who carry the burden of the heartbreaking stories of their families; yet stand in schools every day to provide the best instruction they can and to give hope to the children of New Mexico. We all acknowledge that we have lots of work to do to improve schools in New Mexico, but let’s do it by also acknowledging that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources, the skills and the knowledge they possess. Each of us has the power to help change the public perception of public schools—lets’ work together to make that perception a positive one.
Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving season.
Gloria O. Rendón
NMCEL Executive Director
President, Crit Caton, Superintendent from Artesia. Erik Bose, APS Principal was elected President-elect.
Welcome back to the 2014-2015 school year! I hope everyone had the opportunity to re-charge your batteries over the past two months. A special thanks goes out to all who attended our NMCEL conference this past July. Our NMCEL Organization truly appreciates the support you show through your attendance and hopes that each of you gained some valuable information to assist you this coming year. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for being a vital part of our educational system in New Mexico. Thank you for your hard work and dedication as we look forward to another exciting school year.
Crit D. Caton, Ed.D.