New Metrics Initiative Taking Shape in New Mexico

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The New Metrics Initiative in New Mexico was developed in partnership with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, the McCune Portfolio and The Center for School Leadership with the goal of creating a “high quality school performance framework” as an innovative means of assessing schools.

This framework was created by a group of educators who are committed to ensuring student success, both in and outside the classroom.

The schools within the New Metric Initiative often work with students from tough situations — some have some discontinued schooling and/or are grade levels behind — which led to the creation of a New Metrics tool.

The initiative is the direct result of the challenge that confronts many schools in troubled districts, and that challenge is funding. While funds might easily reach recognized schools that show major transformations in districts that struggle with high attrition rates and poor test scores, that progress seldom is made clear in standardized testing.

Our staff recently had its second meeting with our partners and the six schools that are part of the New Metrics Initiative (Health Leadership, ACE Leadership, Amy Biehl High School, South Valley Academy, Native American Community AcademyAlbuquerque Sign Language Academy). We created four key pillars to guide us as we achieve this transformative work:

  • Pillar I: Design Principles
  • Pillar II: Evidence
  • Pillar III: Process Indicators
  • Pillar IV: Impact

Our task is to facilitate and support the development of a school assessment tool that better captures the transformative work these schools are doing. As a result of a series of strategy sessions led by own Professional Development Center, school leaders were able to find a way for students to display what they have learned through realistic projects that engage interpersonal and academic skills to solve problems they would encounter in the real world.

During our onsite time with these six schools, we tapped into their local wisdom and learned which would be worthy qualities to assess them by in these six areas:

  1. Holistic approach
  2. Leverage multidimensional resources
  3. Intentional relationship building
  4. Staff differentiate practices (students are not differentiated)
  5. Student success
  6. Giving back

Judging students only on their standardized reading and math scores can’t possibly capture the full picture of work the schools are doing. As a result, the new assessment tool represents a means of identifying the value of effective school performance, which we’re now testing when we visit schools and perform observations.

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About The Author: Kelsey Baun is the 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Prior to Eagle Rock, Kelsey worked for City Year in Boston, Mass, and the Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Kelsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, specializing in organizational and innovation management.

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