Governor Susana Martinez today announced the expansion of the "New Mexico Reads to Lead" reform initiative to now include every school district in the state. Starting this month, the $14.5 million initiative will provide at least $50,000 in new funds to every school district in the state. In addition, more than 40% of districts will receive funding above the base amount.
The "New Mexico Reads to Lead" initiative provides districts with critical resources to increase student reading levels starting in Kindergarten through 3rd grade. The latest student achievement results highlighted the impact of the program, as 3rd grade reading scores from 13 initial participating districts and schools improved by an average of 7.8 percentage points, compared to the statewide increase of 2.9 percentage points.
"Grade-level literacy should be the minimum expectation for every student in our state," said Governor Susana Martinez. "We know all too well that students who can't read on grade level will face ever-increasing challenges in school and in life. The ability to read is the key to excel in every other subject and serves as the foundation for success inside and outside the classroom."
The "New Mexico Reads to Lead" initiative will fund resources such as reading coaches, common screening tools, professional development for teachers, and reading interventions for more than 100,000 students in New Mexico. There will be at least 14 regional reading coaches available to assist teachers with best practices for teaching reading to elementary students. Districts and schools can also use additional funds to hire what is expected to be dozens more reading coaches to serve their teachers and students. During the first year of the "New Mexico Reads to Lead" initiative, 46 reading coaches were hired statewide.
Additionally, funding will be used to provide a common screening tool utilized across New Mexico. This essential element means students who need reading interventions are not only indentified early, but their progress is also monitored, maintained and easily understood if the student moves to a new school or district.
Funding for the "New Mexico Reads to Lead" initiative will begin later this month and will include:
* Nearly $6 million distributed directly to 36 school districts that will receive more than the $50,000 base award.
* Over $2 million for regional reading coaches and professional development for teachers, coaches, and administrators on effective reading instruction and data-driven decision-making.
* Over $2 million toprovide a K-3 Screening Assessment (DIBELS Next and IDEL) for use in all elementary schools to identify struggling readers as early as kindergarten.
* Over $1 million for state-wide reading professional development.
Districts that submitted applications to receive more than the base amount had to present a plan for how they would utilize the funds to improve K-3 reading. Specifically, they had to outline how they would utilize reading coaches, help struggling readers, provide professional development to their teachers, and engage parents. Districts receiving more than the base award are as follows:
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