Study shines a light on student success

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By Jennifer Garcia

The National Council on Teacher Quality plans to release a comprehensive study related to New Mexico’s prospective teachers.


The report is titled “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers: Are New Mexico’s education school graduates ready to teach reading and mathematics in elementary classrooms?”


Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he knows a lot about the teacher preparation study and has conducted a study of his own.


“I’ve been involved since the day after school started, on a listening and learning tour,” he said. “I visited all the new teachers in the district. I’ve been in about six of the seven buildings for extended amounts of time, in not only the beginning teachers’ classrooms, but also the veteran teachers, to get a flavor of what our teachers are like.”


Schmidt said the impressions he’s receiving of the teachers in the Los Alamos Public School system are favorable.


He also complimented the principals and hiring teams in the selection process when it comes to hiring teachers.


“They are top-notch people. Not only do they have good instructional skills, but they have deep knowledge and background,” he commented.


He said what makes LAPS staff additionally attractive is the wide variety of experience they bring to the job.


“Some have expertise from out-of-state, some have traveled nationally and some have been through the Los Alamos system and are now returning.   That combination of backgrounds and skills really opens up the world to our students,” he said.


Schmidt also said the LAPS is currently discussing with Northern New Mexico College, the possibility of getting more student teachers on LAPS campuses.


“We’re going to try to grow that program more,” he said. “I find it very exciting. We look at Los Alamos as a model for teaching, so when universities say they want to put their apprentices in our school district, they want to put them in a good place. The expectations are very high from parents,” he said.


Schmidt said he’s very interested in what’s going on with the care and feeding of the new teachers.


“It’s a delight to see how much our teachers care about the quality of their instruction and their ability to transfer knowledge to the younger one. Life is good in Los Alamos. Parents can  have confidence that good things are going to happen when they send their kids to school,” he said.


The study by National Council on Teacher Quality expected to be released next week is intended to shed new light on why New Mexico’s children aren’t leading the pack and how New Mexico can develop teachers that can help move them to the front, including resources available in trailblazer states and education schools.


Eight undergraduate teacher preparation programs were evaluated: Western New Mexico University, the College of Santa Fe, the University of the Southwest, Eastern New Mexico University, The University of New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands University, Northern New Mexico College and New Mexico State University.


Embargoed copies of the report are available on request, including the analysis of each preparation program.


Contact Julie Greenberg at


202-393-0020 or jgreenberg@nctq.org.