Stories

FOCUS on Young Children's Learning
FOCUS is New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). It offers a framework for quality improvement in early care and education programs. FOCUS provides criteria that defines what high quality programs can do to support children and their families. FOCUS also provides programs with consultants to help them understand and meet the quality criteria. Child Trends has been contracted to conduct an evaluation of FOCUS that will inform continuous improvement of the system. Read More »
Farmington Public Schools Principal Recognized as Outstanding Educator
President Theodore Roosevelt’s message crediting the person who dares to enter the arena to achieve something important despite the hard work and the critics involved is as relevant today as it was in 1910. The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) FOCUS staff chose President Roosevelt’s speech as an inspiration for the type of educator they wanted to recognize with The NMPED PED FOCUS TQRIS Outstanding Educator Award. This year’s recipient is Mrs. Rhonda Attaway, Principal at the Career and Technology Education (CATE) Center. This award recognizes exemplary public school preschool programs in the state of New Mexico. The award plaque states: In Appreciation for Daring Greatly to Provide High Quality Early Childhood Education and Inclusive Practices for All Children. Read More »
Building an Early Learning Continuum
The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT–ELC) is a federal grant awarded to New Mexico on January 1, 2013 to improve New Mexico's early learning system. “Through the $37.5 million, 4-year grant, we are creating an environment that allows young children to build a strong foundation for learning. As a result, we will see more children ready for school, reading at grade level, graduating from high school and growing into engaged citizens and productive workers,” explained RTT–ELC Project Manager Kathy Ytuarte (PED). Read More »
Achieving Positive Outcomes for Our Children with Reliable Data
"ECIDS will provide population-level outcomes on how children are faring throughout New Mexico." Making informed decisions about programs, policies and decisions that promote positive outcomes for New Mexico children requires reliable information. Read More »
KOT is Making a Difference
This school year, teachers have a new tool to help them meet the needs of each child to succeed in school –– the Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT). “What a great tool … KOT forces you to observe the whole child so you can identify early on where they need help and how I can better educate each child in my classroom,” said Bonnie Williamson, kindergarten teacher at Coral Charter Community School in Albuquerque. Read More »
Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge is …
Raising Quality by ensuring a highly qualified and skilled workforce to best support children’s optimal development and implementing FOCUS, a rating system that supports early learning providers to improve quality and allows parents to identify high quality early learning programs. Investing in Communities by identifying where children are at the greatest risk and prioritizing services to meet needs in those areas. Promoting Accountability by developing a single data system that integrates data from across early learning programs serving young children to measure child outcomes over time and to enable planning for early learning investments. Supporting Schools in Meeting Each Child’s Needs by developing a tool to assess school readiness to understand individual child needs at the beginning of kindergarten and provide early interventions for positive learning outcomes. Read More »
FOCUS Benefits Children, Staff and Centers
As one of the first New Mexico early learning centers to pilot FOCUS back in 2012, Little Forest Playschool Executive Director April Wade is excited by the drastic growth realized in the children, staff and center as a whole. “Through FOCUS, our center has adopted an environment of continuous learning, reflection and improvement,” April noted. She explained that the FOCUS approach has enhanced the quality of the Los Alamos center’s program as well as taught staff how to recognize and zero in on meeting the individual developmental needs of each child in their classroom. Read More »
T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships Grow in Enrollment and Eligibility
With the expansion of the FOCUS quality improvement program and the Race To the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant, there has been a boost in the number of early childhood educators seeking degrees in early childhood education at the Associate, Bachelor, Master and PhD levels. The diversity of the educators now eligible for Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H.) Early Childhood® Scholarships include home visitors, early interventionists, parent educators, FOCUS Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System consultants, consultants in NM PreK, child care licensing staff, early childhood special education preschool teachers in public schools and community college faculty in early childhood. Read More »
KOT Launched
Teachers have begun using Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT) in their classrooms to gather valuable information about what their students know and can do within the first 30 days of school. As part of the ongoing communications work, a video was created with teachers, KOT trainers, and administrators to introduce and share the story of the KOT with various stakeholder groups. View the video here. Read More »
Pyramid Framework Promotes Social Emotional Development and School Readiness From Birth
Implementation of the Pyramid Framework, a model that supports building social and emotional competence in infants and young children, is well underway in New Mexico. Over the last 12 months, a Master Cadre of 10 trainers strived to bring additional high quality professional development to the field of early learning. Read More »