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FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Public Education Department is presenting a series of meetings statewide to solicit input on the future of education for students as part of implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The state education department has partnered with the nonpartisan public policy organization New Mexico First to organize meetings in six cities, including Farmington, to seek community input on the state’s ESSA plan.

State Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said she was excited to talk with teachers and community leaders in Farmington on Thursday and Friday, which will be the second stop of the tour.

She cited the performance of students in the Farmington Municipal School District — who have make large improvements in their results on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC exam — for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Farmington is just really moving and putting kids first,” Skandera said.

Skandera will host a family outreach meeting 6 p.m. Thursday with PED teacher liaison Alicia Duran at the district's 20th Street Conference Room, 1400 E. 20th St.

Three community meetings will take place Friday at the San Juan College School of Energy building.

The ESSA was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 10, 2015, replacing the previous version of the law — the No Child Left Behind Act — enacted in 2002.

Heather Balas, president and executive director for New Mexico First, said every state was asked to organize an opportunity for the public to engage and inform officials as they develop the state’s ESSA plan to better support students and educators.

The organization produced a background report to update New Mexico residents on the status of education in the state and what potential changes the state education department can make as part of developing a plan to implement the ESA.

New Mexico First is collecting the community input for a report it will submit to the state education department.

“What matters the most is people can talk about what they want to see in their school district,” Balas said.

She also said community members can share what they see is working well in their district and what items could be addressed to improve student achievement.

Topics including school accountability, student assessment and graduation requirements, along with support and funding flexibility for low-performing schools are areas up for discussion.

Skandera said the meetings allow the state education department to focus on how to support teachers and identify resources the department can provide to parents to support their children.

Registration is required to attend the meetings and can be completed on the New Mexico First website.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

If you go

What: New Mexico Public Education Department community meetings

When: Business and community leaders meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, all community members meeting at 6 p.m. Friday.

Where: The Merrion Room at the San Juan College School of Energy building at 5301 College Blvd. in Farmington.

For more information: For more information and register for the meetings at www.nmfirst.org/event-details/excellence-in-education

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