Rocinante High School chosen for program to improve grad rates

Ten schools picked for High School Redesign Network

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
Science teacher Alice Marie Stevens, center, works with Brea Trujillo, left, and Michelle McGrath during their forensics class Jan. 17, 2017, at Rocinante High School in Farmington.
  • Rocinante High School in Farmington will participate in a three-year school redesign project.
  • Five schools from four districts in San Juan County will receive part of a $15 million state support package.
  • The High School Redesign Network is a partnership between PED and Johns Hopkins University.

FARMINGTON — Farmington’s Rocinante High School has been chosen to participate in a New Mexico Public Education Department program designed to help raise graduation rates.

Education officials announced that Rocinante and nine other high schools throughout the state have been invited to participate in the inaugural High School Redesign Network in an April 19 press release.

The program will “focus on redesigning curricula, targeted professional development for teachers and ongoing high-impact support around the planning, implementation and monitoring of individualized, evidence-based redesign plans,” the release states. The program also includes early-warning systems and student career pathways resources.

The goal of the program is to enable students to think “creatively about the structures, systems and practices” that are used and taught in schools, a press release from the Farmington Municipal School District states.

The High School Redesign Network is a partnership between PED and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education Cross-State High School Redesign Collaborative, the PED release states. The 10 New Mexico schools will receive $4 million in federal funds over the course of three years in the program.

Farmington deputy superintendent Phil Valdez said the district is “excited for this opportunity to rethink high school redesigning that will lead to increased proficiency and graduation rates as we prepare students as leaders of the future.”

Rocinante’s graduation rate was 38.5 percent in 2017, lagging behind the district rate of 66.2 percent and the state rate of 71.1 percent, according to PED data.

Last year’s rate fell from 48 percent in 2016, but rose from the 2015 rate of 35.1 percent and the 2014 rate of 25.6 percent, according to PED data.

Seniors Jacob Sharp, left, Augustin Blackwater and Jenecio Avalos work in the computer lab Jan. 17, 2017, at Rocinante High School in Farmington.

Other schools chosen to participate in the Redesign Network include high schools in Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Cuba, Española and Gallup, the PED release states.

Rocinante and other San Juan County schools also have been identified as recipients of additional state funding to improve accountability and support school systems to increase student success.

PED announced in an April 25 press release that 46 of the state’s lowest-performing schools will receive an additional $15 million support package over the next three years.

Local schools that will benefit from the support package include Rocinante, Mesa Alta Junior High School in Bloomfield and Vista Nueva High School in Aztec, as well as Central Consolidated School District’s Career Preparatory High School in Shiprock and Newcomb Middle School in Newcomb, according to the release.

“These awards are part of a comprehensive statewide school-turnaround plan under (the federal Every Student Succeeds Act), including $4 million for the High School Redesign Network (and) continued funding for proven program like Principals Pursuing Excellence and Teachers Pursuing Excellence,” PED Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said in a statement.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or