TURQUOISE TRAIL CHARTER SCHOOL NAMED 2014 NMCCS CHARTER SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
Award presented at the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools’ Annual Conference in Albuquerque this week
Santa Fe, NM, October 31, 2014: Turquoise Trail Charter School was named the 2014 NMCCS Charter School of the Year at the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools’ annual conference, held in Albuquerque this past week. The award is presented each year to a school that exemplifies the best in charter school education in the state.
“We have worked hard to make improvements in the school, so this award is a gratifying recognition from our peers.,” said Head Administrator Dr. Ray Griffin, on accepting the award on behalf of the school. “We’re thrilled to be celebrated in this manner, especially as we will be celebrating 25 years as a charter school in August of 2015.”
The school is especially deserving because of the measurable achievements of its students, teachers, and staff in the 2013-2014 school year. For example, test scores improved, especially among the lowest performing cohort; the school is moving into the future, potentially as a state-chartered institution, on a sound financial footing; the school earned many accolades in national and state extracurricular and academic programs; and despite its rural location, the school is in more demand than ever for student enrollments from pre-kindergarten to grade 6.
The 2013-2014 school year at TTCS was quite extraordinary as far as student achievement. In July 2013, TTCS received a “D” grade on the 2013 NM School Report Card and welcomed a new principal to the school. One year later, as a result of extraordinary cooperation, hard work and commitment from all constituencies, TTCS improved in all assessment categories on the NM School Report Card school measurement system – and achieved an “A” grade. Most importantly, the school is one of the very few Title I schools in New Mexico that showed an improvement in the performance of its lowest performing student cohort.
Speaking earlier this year of the “A” grade, Floyd J. Trujillo, the president of the TTCS Governance Council, said, “This [achievement] represents an incredible effort and hard work at every level of TTCS. Governance Council members, the administration, and staff have all done an amazing job of focusing on improving the school’s grade -- while NEVER forgetting that our No. 1 priority is preparing students academically and socially for lifelong success.”
The latest honor is the second award from NMCCS for the school. In 2009, Principal Sandy Davis was awarded the “Principal of the Year” Constellation Award at that year’s annual conference, also held in Albuquerque. She was nominated by the school’s Governance Council, an active group of concerned parents, teachers, and community supporters. She was cited for her leadership in developing the school’s reputation as “an excellent, stimulating and stable environment” and as “one of the most respectable and desirable schools in the Santa Fe district,” according to her nomination letter.
In September, Santa Fe mayor Javier M. Gonzales declared September 19 “Turquoise Trail Charter School Celebration Day” in honor of the school’s “A” grade for the 2013-2014 school year, calling the improved New Mexico State Report Card score “significant and notable.” At a ceremony at La Fonda on the Plaza that evening, Deputy Mayor Peter Ives presented Dr. Griffin with a laminated plaque of the proclamation, and the newest award plaque will be displayed beside it in the school’s lobby.
Dr. Griffin, with colleagues Randy Freeman, the school’s business manager, and Sandy Beery, a charter school consultant helping TTCS become a state charter this year, made a presentation at the NMCCS annual conference: “A Multiple Constituency Approach to Improve Student Achievement.” The talk focused on the steps TTCS took to excel in the 2013-2014 school year, as well as expectations for the future welfare of the school as it applies for acceptance as a state charter school.
The New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation formed in May 2002. It is the only statewide professional organization serving New Mexico’s charter schools. Its mission is to increase student academic achievement by serving charter schools and advocating for charter school quality, growth and autonomy. Prior to 2002, attempts to organize a collective entity had not been successful, and each charter school operated without support or communication from the larger public charter school community. Guided by a three-year strategic plan and operating under a 12 member board of directors comprised of industry and education leaders, it is now the leading advocate of charter schools and an important source of technical support and professional development for the schools’ teachers, administrators and governing council members.
Turquoise Trail Charter School is located on State Highway 14 in rural Santa Fe County, in an area of rapid expansion and new housing. Four hundred and sixty-five students attend pre-kindergarten through sixth grade at Turquoise Trail. As a charter school, Turquoise Trail exercises independent control of its curriculum development, hires its teachers and other staff, and manages its own money. All of New Mexico’s charter schools are public schools funded by the state and federal government.