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Andrew GarrisonAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
August 15, 2013
 
Dear Public Education Commission,

It is with great honor and pride that I give my professional support to R.I.S.E. New Mexico Elementary. In my eight years of servitude with the Public Education Commission, this is the application I longed for. With a mission to provide relevant and inspiring education through self empowerment, I had to personally delve into this application to determine sound pedagogy.

I find that the collaborative teaching of cognitive and non-cognitive skills places the child-growing focus on the quality of the nurturing. The attitudes, beliefs, self esteem and self efficacy of children and subsequent behaviors are the foundation of all learning; they define what one will become.
As R.I.S.E. Founders build capacity, they have further defined the foundational needs to make the R.I.S.E. model a success: Professional development based on annual strategic planning and comprehensive teacher induction will augment the delivery of dual-purpose education, Asset Based Campaign (ABC) and the CPR model (confidence, persistence and resilience).

They are also venturing into the essential yet chronically underfunded sector of wellness by establishing a commitment from me to establish a teacher wellness education and training program based on a three-tiered socio-ecological model approach: teacher effectiveness, teacher wellness and school safety. In addition, the Vistelar Group out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, stands at the ready to provide verbal defense and influence training to respond to verbal and physical conflict, child bullying, verbal aggression and campus intruders.

As I can personally attest, highly credentialed organizations of change are committed to the R.I.S.E. evolution. Thank you for your consideration. I miss you all and the wonderful work we accomplished together.

Wellness in Mind,
M. Andrew Garrison
M. Andrew Garrison, CEO & President
BODYFACTS Wellness Consulting
08/17/2013 9:18 AM8/17/2013 9:18 AM
 
  
Angela BassAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
August 12,  2013

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great honor and pleasure to write this letter of support for Eppie Lopez as he prepares to open up a charter school.
 
Eppie has been an educator for more than 10 years. He has successfully served in the community of Albuquerque schools and has a commitment and passion to ensure that the youth in New Mexico receive a quality education.
My name is Angela Bass and I serve as Vice President of Partners for Developing Futures.

Partners for Developing Futures recruits, identifies and develops leaders of color to become educational leaders in communities that have been traditionally underserved in order to establish high achieving schools of excellence. Our long term goal is that these school leaders will serve as the next generation of leaders and they will be a catalyst for transformation in public education.  One of Partners’ initiatives is LEAD New Mexico.  Eppie Lopez is one of these talented entrepreneur leaders.
 
Eppie was one of fifteen leaders selected to join our elite a leadership development academy in New Mexico called LEAD New Mexico. LEAD New Mexico stands for, Leadership for Excellence, Accountability and Diversity. Eppie engaged in a rigorous selection process where he exhibited strong leadership skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset. He demonstrated himself to be a critical thinker as well he is extremely thoughtful and reflective. One of the opportunities for the LEAD fellows is that they will be under consideration for receiving one of our grants of up to $230,000.00. 
 
Eppie Lopez is a strong and committed educational leader. He teaches with passion and purpose. During our academy sessions, he has clearly communicated his belief system and expectations for quality education for all children. He understands the urgent need to improve schools and shares his commitment to provide his students a quality education.
As a visionary, innovator and an entrepreneur, Eppie is intentional about providing students with a high quality, meaningful and community based school. His vision would not only provide students who would otherwise not receive such a rigorous, caring and high quality school experience.  It is a noteworthy vision!
 
I have served in public education for more than thirty years as well as my work with Partners for Developing Futures. I have worked with thousands of educators and I believe that Eppie possesses many qualities and characteristics one would hope to find in a leader. He is dedicated to education, he is dedicated to his students’ success, he is a learner and he has a leadership voice that demands access and excellence for all children.
 
Again, it is with extreme pride that I submit this letter of support. Eppie is a passionate educator who will serve well in any community.  I look forward to his continued contributions and leadership the New Mexico’s educational community. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions at, 858-735-1247.
Best,

Angela Bass, Ed.D
Vice President,
Partners for Developing Futures
08/17/2013 9:22 AM8/17/2013 9:22 AM
 
  
Tom PonceAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To the members of the Public Education Commission,
 
As a teacher in the South Valley, I know the importance of character education and instilling grit in our students. Nothing will make a bigger impact on our kids than the teaching of resiliency in the face of challenges. RISE New Mexico has the chance to start a school from the ground up with a combination of critical thinking pedagogy and resiliency education. It is important that all students have a chance, an opportunity to become more than just successful at standards and tests. To build better people, you need to first acknowledge school’s role in that construction. RISE New Mexico is part of that acknowledgement. 

Knowing personally Eppie Lopez, I know his commitment to making the students the primary voice in any school he creates. His ability to connect with students, to keep his focus on the kids is what will make this school successful. The current climate makes it hard for a new charter to find its approval and rightly so. The creation of an educational community is one of the most vital and challenging efforts we have. No issue matters more than the effective education of our young people. This includes the character education of them as well.

RISE New Mexico has put together a proposal with initiatives backed by the best data available in education. The curriculum proposed is ambitious and well positioned for the highest efficacy. The curriculum of a Dual Purpose education acknowledges the holistic learning that must occur within the education community. The Dual Purpose education includes an Asset Based Campaign, Inspirational Curriculum, Ownership Culture, and School Wide Social/Emotional program. It is for all these reasons above that I recommend that RISE New Mexico is approved by the New Mexico Public Education Commission. Thank you.
 
Sincerely,
Tomas Ponce
6th Grade Humanities Teacher
South Valley Academy   
tom.ponce@gmail.com
08/17/2013 9:26 AM8/17/2013 9:26 AM
 
  
Codie McGeeverShiprock - Dream Dine'
As a former teacher at Shiprock High School and an adaptive education teacher at the Shiprock Adolescent Treatment Center, I can testify firsthand to the importance of opening a charter school as a pathway to academic success for Shiprock students. An environment of achievement, collaboration, and community support for children is absolutely needed. I fully trust that the Dream Dine' Charter School will provide the Shiprock community with much-needed opportunities. I urge the Commission to support this proposal and bring this "Dream" to reality.
08/18/2013 5:02 PM8/18/2013 5:02 PM
 
  
Joyce RockShiprock - Dream Dine'
Will this school include accommodations for teen parents and online learning? With the push from CCSD to close Career Prep an alternative school will be needed in the Shiprock area. Please do not put this school under the CCSD umbrella.
08/19/2013 7:23 AM8/19/2013 7:23 AM
 
  
Shakera CrawleyAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
402 West Court Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88005   575-541-0145
Court Youth Center
 
8/16/13

New Mexico Public Education Department
Jerry Apodaca Education Building
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
 
Dear Public Education Charter Selection Committee,
I am writing this letter to show my support for RISE New Mexico. RISE includes components that are often missing in the education of our youth today.  To include a process that utilizes the non-cognitive skills, not only allow for the development of a self-learning style but also helps a student to realize their potential and excel in any learning environment.   
 
Many students today have disengaged from the current educational system for a number of reasons but one that I hear often is “how does that relate to me.” By implementing a program that allows for cultural relevance will create in all students especially minority students an ownership that is missing in the present education system.  Ownership leads to inspiration, which builds on self-esteem to allow for an empowerment that has not been tapped into by the majority of our youth. RISE will do just that cultivate self-motivating environments to help students succeed in school and in life.  
 
Eppie Lopez and I are partners in LEAD New Mexico’s first cohort. Over the year I have gotten to know him and believe he truly has a servant’s heart for the youth of not only New Mexico but the country as well.  His passion, integrity, loyalty and expertise of the education system are to be commended and I support him in creating a charter school that is unique to the community it will serve.  
 
Thank you for your time
  Sincerely,

                         
                                   Shakera Crawley
           Assistant Director of the Court Youth Center
08/19/2013 2:59 PM8/19/2013 2:59 PM
 
  
Michael ThompsonShiprock - Dream Dine'
To the Public Education Commission: I am sorry I could not attend the hearing today in Shiprock for hte Dream Dine' charter, but I am meeting my students at San Juan College for their first day of class. However, I would like to make a few comments regarding the Dream Dine’ school charter application and its plan to implement the Common Core State Standards. I have been a part of the community planning group for Dream Dine’ for the past two years. I have also served on a leadership team for the National Writing Project for the past three years, as part of the Literacy Design Consortium specifically concerned with implementing the Common Core. I feel very confident that the Dream Dine’ planning group is committed to integrating the CCSS into its day to day learning process. Let me note briefly a few of the major shifts that the Common Core expects of schools and their relevance to the Dream Dine’ vision: 1. Greater Focus. The Common Core Standards focus on fewer topics but address them in greater depth. This means that the Dream Dine design of balanced learning in both Navajo and English will have the time to engage in-depth learning on specific concepts in both languages, each reinforcing the other. 2. Coherence. In the past, many state standards simply repeated the same topics year after year. The CCS, and the Dream Dine’ school, will build on students’ understanding by introducing new topics not just year to year but season to season, topics that build on the foundations previously laid. 3. Skills, Understanding, and Application. For the CCSS, students will need to know procedures, develop conceptual understanding, and apply their knowledge to solve problems. These goals are absolutely compatible with the Dream Dine’ plan to make experiential learning the heart of its learning process. 4. Emphasis on Practices. Mathematical practices include making sense of problems and persevering to solve them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, using appropriate tools strategically, making sound arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. These practices are also critical to the experiential learning process to be used at Dream Dine’. 5. Informational Text. The Standards call for more emphasis on understanding “informational texts.” For Indigenous people, the earth and its inhabitants have always been the primary source of learning. Dream Dine’s plan for students to learn by exploring the world, and especially the community around them, honors this new emphasis on informational text. 6. Focus on Evidence. The CCSS expects students to use evidence to demonstrate their understanding and to make claims. Students must cite evidence to justify statements rather than rely on opinions. As Dream Dine’s entire approach to learning involves accurate observation, discussion, explanation, and reflection, their students will be well-equipped to use evidence in making claims, both in speech and in writing. 7. “Staircase” of Text Complexity. Students will be expected to read and comprehend increasingly complex texts. This aligns with Dream Dine’s expectations that students will progress to more demanding, more complex performance levels in both English and Navajo on a continuous basis. 8. Speaking and Listening. The Standards expect students to demonstrate that they can speak and listen effectively—aspects of literacy rarely emphasized in state standards. Dream Dine’ teachers expect students to engage in one-on-one and whole-class discussions in two languages and will evaluate their understanding on a daily basis. 9. Literacy in the Content Areas. The Standards expect literacy in history/social science, science, and technical subjects. This reflects an understanding that each subject area requires a unique set of skills. Again, the experiential nature of Dream Dine’s learning process will enable students to develop hands-on knowledge of many subject areas through active learning on a daily basis. I am personally committed to assisting the Dream Dine team in developing a world-class school that honors Navajo language and culture every day and also meets the highest levels of the Common Core Standards. I urge you to approve their application. Michael Thompson, Humanities Dept. SJC
08/19/2013 4:25 PM8/19/2013 4:25 PM
 
  
Joby Mitchelle-WallaceAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
 
Sheryl Williams Stapleton
African American
Performing Arts Center
and Exhibition Hall
310 San Pedro Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM  87110
 
Joby Wallace, President, Board of Directors 
 

August 15, 2013

Dear Committee Members:
I am writing in strong support of the RISE New Mexico Charter School application to the New Mexico Public Education Department for approval to establish the school.
New Mexico’s schools have been ranked nationally in lowest percentiles for at least the last ten years. It has been known that many of the schools in New Mexico are still operating the same way for the last twenty years.  RISE New Mexico focuses on education in a non tradition aspect.  It encompasses the non cognitive as well as cognitive skills for students.
 
 As the President of the African American Performing Arts Center (AAPAC) that operates a community after school education program.   I am well aware of the fact that when students’ non-cognitive skills are developed they performed better in schools than their counter parts. These students also are very successful  on their jobs as well.
On behalf of the AAPAC I strongly support RISE New Mexico application for Charter School.
 
Sincerely,
Joby Mitchell-Wallace
Joby Mitchell-Wallace, President
08/19/2013 6:00 PM8/19/2013 6:00 PM
 
  
Anita SinghAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
Dear New Mexico Public Education Department,
 
My name is Anita Singh and I am currently a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership student at The University of Southern California. I also serve as the Career Services Specialist for University of Southern California's Rossier Online Programs, http://rossieronline.usc.edu/. Through my role as a Career Services Specialist, I worked with Mr. Eppie Lopez.
 
I am writing in support of RISE New Mexico because of the school's curriculum design. The fact that the school plans to use curriculum that embeds the best cognitive approaches with character skills will help students grow into productive members of society.
 
When it comes to opening up a charter school, it is essential that the team developing the school's model involve the community where the school will be located. With RISE New Mexico, Mr. Eppie Lopez designed a school community that will meet the needs of students in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. He is thinking about the students not just members of a school community, but as a member of the global community.
 
As a graduate of University of Southern California's Master of Arts in Teaching program, Mr. Eppie Lopez enhanced his ability to meet the needs of all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background. He is extremely passionate about working with high-needs students, and he will make RISE New Mexico one of the top-performing schools in the country.
 
Best,
Anita Singh
08/20/2013 3:24 PM8/20/2013 3:24 PM
 
  
Martin OleaAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To whom it may concern, I write this communication to express my enthusiastic support of R.I.S.E. Academy. Having grown up in circumstances similar to the children that will be served by this visionary school, I can personally attest to the great need of viable alternatives that emphasize the affective domain and emotional intelligence in conjunction with academics. Too often, our schools implement technocratic approaches to education that are void of any considerations to the unique issues our highest- at- risk students in our great state. We will never grow our own educational vision and its moral imperative as New Mexicans, if we continue to subscribe to paradigms from people who aren't rooted in our communities or understand where are children are coming from. R.I.S.E. is a great opportunity to implement a new way of doing school from a ground truth new mecican perspective, with the intent of truly meeting the unique cultural, social and emotional needs of our children. Martin Olea
08/20/2013 4:56 PM8/20/2013 4:56 PM
 
  
Martin OleaAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To whom it may concern, I write this communication to express my enthusiastic support of R.I.S.E. Academy. Having grown up in circumstances similar to the children that will be served by this visionary school, I can personally attest to the great need of viable alternatives that emphasize the affective domain and emotional intelligence in conjunction with academics. Too often, our schools implement technocratic approaches to education that are void of any considerations to the unique issues our highest- at- risk students in our great state. We will never grow our own educational vision and its moral imperative as New Mexicans, if we continue to subscribe to paradigms from people who aren't rooted in our communities or understand where are children are coming from. R.I.S.E. is a great opportunity to implement a new way of doing school from a ground truth new mecican perspective, with the intent of truly meeting the unique cultural, social and emotional needs of our children. Martin Olea
08/20/2013 4:58 PM8/20/2013 4:58 PM
 
  
Raymundo LaraAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
August 20, 2013
 

To Whom it may concern:
 
RISE New Mexico, an idea born of a vision of an equitable education for all children regardless of socio economic status, of language, of disability and of poverty. RISE NM began as an idea to foster a caring creative way of teaching children while making their learning relevant to today’s student culture while providing opportunities for creativity and inspiration through an understanding of self. It is this understanding that not only empowers the students and their parents; it impacts community as a whole and serves as a fundamental agent of change to our communities.
 
RISE NM represents the best in education, a genuine concern for the community in which it will serve, this is demonstrated by Eppie’s and Vanessa’s commitment to the children and community in which they live, this is clearly outlined in their application as its based on research and data such as the Persistence, Resilience and Confidence (CPR) model, their Asset Based Campaign (ABC) and their use of
the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional (CASEL) learning program.
 
What RISE NM is not: It is definitely not your run of the mill type of operation where someone sets up shop in a poor community to make money who then hires all of their buddies to fill positions at the school. RISE NM is about two teachers who will take a “whole child” approach to teaching, who will in turn create a learning community which will benefit the larger area it serves by encouraging children to love learning by making school a positive and exiting experience. With this letter I wholeheartedly place my support behind RISE NM, a school for positive change in which must be duplicated in other parts of my state, New Mexico.
 
Sincerely,

Raymundo Lara
Las Cruces, New Mexico
eIrayzi n@aol.corn
08/20/2013 6:41 PM8/20/2013 6:41 PM
 
  
Rose FasthorseShiprock - Dream Dine'
I am in full support of getting Dream Dine Charter School operating as soon as possible.  I have grandchildren who will be enrolling. 
I was at the public hearing and I absolutely am shocked at Scott Nicolay from Central Consolidated School District misinforming the Commisioners about several things.  First,  their immersion school is all disorganized and full of ugly politics with the latest being that two teachers were forced to teach immersion because the district could not recruit highly qualified native teachers due to the political mess they have created.  Second, he was saying that the people starting the charter school were disgruntled employees.  We all know who the members of the planning committee are and they have been planning this for a couple of years.  They have retired from CCSD or no longer there, not disgruntled.  Third, he said Lula Begay violated Dine culture by using Navajo emergance stories, but he's so ignorant about Navajo culture that he didn't know that Lula Begay didn't tell an emergence story.  These are examples of the dirty politics that have infected our children's schools at CCSD, so Dream Dine is going to be a blessing for our community. 
Please give our community of Shiprock and Gad'ii'ahi a chance to show NMPED that we are able to be self sufficient in guiding our children and grandchildren to be successful through a culturally relevant education.  Please, I beg you to give us a chance.
Thank you.
08/20/2013 10:33 PM8/20/2013 10:33 PM
 
  
Jack NoschisyShiprock - Dream Dine'
I have been reading and hearing on news reports how bilingual people are much more better learners.  I beleive a kindegardener or preschool who learn some things about their cultuire will grow up with a knowledge and pride that others peers will not possess.  Also, research has proven that children ages 2 to 5 years old will learn a second language the best, which is probably the best reason to approve this charter school.  If only 5 to 8 of 30 children take a sincere intrest a school year or semister, then those are the ones that may be leaders to preserve some language, cuilture and pride in communities.  So we need you to approve Dream Dine Charter School to start operating in Fall 2014!
08/20/2013 11:00 PM8/20/2013 11:00 PM
 
  
maxine arvisoShiprock - Dream Dine'
Thank you all for having a public hearing locally in Shiprock for Charter school vision of Dine education also known as "Dream Dine", which is really an idea that implements the modern native Navajo in every aspect. That is exactly what I observed as the vision there at the Shiprock Chapter House. Not going back in any way, but moving forward into the future and implementing all those ideas that sustained the Navajo people over time. If we embrace the vision with the task force people who are taken on the task, then all we should see is Navajo children taking back all that education that might be lost. Our Navajo children will also see Navajo adults and elders interested in their children's and grandchildren's education, a good role model from the task force, keeping that Navajo interest in mind for our children to see. This keeps our minds on the positives. Good work! I saw the article in the Daily Times newpaper dated 8/20/13, it was a good article. It reflects what truely took place there at the Hearing. If other local schools are concerened, will lets keep them on their toes. Thank you people on the NMPED panel for listening, and thank you for honoring our differences, and to see that our Navajo people will put Navajo/Dine learning first and formost, this is a long time coming for the Shiprock area.
08/21/2013 8:21 AM8/21/2013 8:21 AM
 
  
maxine arvisoShiprock - Dream Dine'
Thank you for holding a public hearing locally in Shiprock. What I observed was a vision for Dine education through the "Dine Dream" process of a charter school. This vision helps us all to look forward into the future and involve the modern native Navajo concepts for education for Navajo children. I did not see, for us to look back in anyway, but to move forward into the future. I support the task force because of the positives, and the vision. They have in mind our Navajo children, as they are Navajo role models themselves serving their community by giving back and working on this task force to see this charter school through. Good Work! I saw the article of the local newspaper the Daily Times and it was a good article telling the truth about what took place at the hearing and its intent. If other local schools are concerned, maybe they should be, keeps them on their toes and working harder for our Navajo children, to ensure that Navajo Dine education is first and formost, not just an on the side learning. Thank you Shiprock Chapter house for holding this public hearing it shows that you value education, and the communities interest. Thank you NMPED panel for hearing our concerns, our interest, our differences, and honoring what our little community in Shiprock, New Mexico is concerned about. Thank you.
08/21/2013 8:38 AM8/21/2013 8:38 AM
 
  
Blake MinnerlyAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To: New Mexico Public Education Department Charter School Division I am writing this letter in support of the charter application of the RISE New Mexico Charter School submitted by Eppie Lopez. I believe that RISE New Mexico would be an outstanding addition to the educational landscape of our state and would well-serve many, many students who would benefit from it's combination of cognitive and non-cognitive pedagogies. I am a level three licensed New Mexico educator with over twenty years of classroom experience at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary level. I have worked at public, private and charter schools and am currently co-department head of media arts at the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School. I am also a National Artist- Teacher Fellow, granted by the Surdna Foundation and a LEAD New Mexico Fellow, granted by Partners for Developing Futures. This wide range of experience has provided me with substantial insight into what works and what does not in terms of educational pedagogy that can reach underserved populations. I can say with confidence that RISE New Mexico will work, because it understands that underserved students require much more than just academic support. They require personal, emotional and communal support as well. RISE NM will provide that balance by developing curriculum that is culturally relevant to the population they serve and thereby inspires those students to see themselves as part of a rich, vital culture that can and will succeed educationally. RISE's target population is traditionally a low-income underserved population that has long struggled to achieve academically. I believe strongly that RISE's approach is an innovative and caring response to this problem. As a LEAD New Mexico Fellow, I have been privileged to work with mr. Lopez as part of our cohort and have been privy to his plans for RISE NM as they have developed. I have found him to be a highly dedicated, passionate and caring educator and a talented administrator. I have no doubt that he will be able achieve RISE New Mexico's mission and provide a caring, balanced educational experience to students who have too often slipped through the cracks of our current educational system. I ask you to grant him that opportunity. Thank you, Blake Minnerly, MSME Media Arts Co-Department Head Media Arts Collaborative Charer School
08/21/2013 12:24 PM8/21/2013 12:24 PM
 
  
Titus J NezShiprock - Dream Dine'
I'm in support of the Shiprock Dream Dine Charter School. As a elected official I feel this is vitally important to continue our Navajo language and culture. For years my elders have been talking about how we can re-vitalize our language, teachings, culture and basic way of life. They have seen the negative effects of modern main stream america and how it is shaping out nation. After reviewing the plans and work of the administrators and community members I feel this is something we need for our future generations, who one day will lead our great Navajo Nation. A lot of homes within the Navajo Nation have families that still to this day speak 80% Navajo and 20% English. When educators teach our Navajo children they only speak in the English language, this causes our children to understand small portions of the teachings. By allowing this Charter school to begin we will see promising results in the common core and standards set the Public Education Department.
08/21/2013 2:01 PM8/21/2013 2:01 PM
 
  
Josh SalazarAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
Dear Public Education Commission,
 
As a new parent my priorities have changed to the development and care of my child. During this phase in my son’s life his educators are his grandparents, aunts, uncles and most importantly his mother and myself. Our role as educators are to provide him with basic life knowledge and skills but as we all know time passes quickly and soon he will be in grade school. This new transition for him will be a crucial time in his life and as his father my decision in which school to send him to is equally important.
 
Looking back to my childhood I wish my personal talents would have been focused on rather than just learning a basic curriculum. This would highly benefit the development and future success of every child exposed to this type of education. This is what I believe RISE New Mexico will bring to our community.
 
We have too many public and private schools that revolve around the same political philosophies. These practices have proven time and time again to be a failure because they don't put the children first. This is a huge reason why our state is ranked so low in the country.
 
RISE definitely seems to be a solution to the problem and I completely endorse this bright new idea on how to educate our children. I'm looking forward to a better learning experience for my son through RISE New Mexico.
 
Sincerely
Joshua Salazar
Computermuscle87@msn.com
08/21/2013 2:12 PM8/21/2013 2:12 PM
 
  
Shauna PointerAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To whom this may concern,
 
     I am writing to express my support of RISE New Mexico and their purpose and vision for their school.  I believe their passion in raising up strong students academically and with the drive and persistence that's needed in our community is vital to leadership in our schools.  As a parent of a 4 and 7 year old, I think about building character in our kids more than just learning from books.  I want our kids to have confidence, passion, drive, and to be able to bounce back when they fail.  Many times, it's the life experiences that teach you more than what you were taught in school.  Specifically, I believe this school initiative is needed in the South Valley of Albuquerque to raise up students with a good work ethic and the confidence to be a great leader (no matter what field they fall into).  This school would be an asset to Albuquerque and to all the families of the students that may attend.
 
Shauna Pointer
(505) 315-9779
08/21/2013 3:57 PM8/21/2013 3:57 PM
 
  
Edward RiveraAlbuquerque - Explore Academy
Members of the Commission, I submit my support on behalf of Explore Academy. As a teacher, citizen, and parent of a student of appropriate age, I feel that this school would meet the needs of so many students in the Albuquerque area. Its greatest strength is in that it can meet the needs of the individual student, a promise that most schools make but no school has the ability to keep. Explore Academy is built around that notion, not just as a talking point, but as an element that is core to its philosophy. As a parent of a student who would potentially attend the school next fall, I am excited to finally see this school get a chance to positively influence the educational landscape of the Albuquerque area. Its philosophy is so innovative, and yet simplistic, that I am confident it will serve as an example from which other schools will model themselves in the future. Thank you for your attention- E. Rivera
08/21/2013 9:33 PM8/21/2013 9:33 PM
 
  
Henry J. AbeytaAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
I am writing in support of the critical mission proposed by RISE New Mexico in educating our future generations. As a graduate of Espanola High School in the 1970s, I know personally how important it is to have the right influences in life and the tremendous opportunity for our educational system to be an important contributor. While I personally benefited from individual teachers who inspired me to reach beyond what I thought possible, my overall assessment is that the system in place was similar to what many students face today in Albuquerque's South Valley, the very place RISE New Mexico proposes to focus on. I base these comments as a result of having participated in the MANOS program, an educational outreach initiative of Sandia National Laboratories emphasizing Math and Science, encouraging middle schoolers to consider a educational path that would lead them to become future scientists and engineers. What I experienced directly is that with the right inputs, students do respond with self-confidence and motivation to invest in their own futures. I believe that the approach proposed by RISE New Mexico has the necessary ingredients to make a difference through the combined approach emphasizing both cognitive and non-cognitive character skills. Through similar influences in my early life, I was challenged to pursue an engineering degree that ultimately led to a Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. This opened up opportunities through my career at Sandia National Laboratories to contribute to critical national security programs both in the US and internationally. It is my assessment that RISE New Mexico through its commitment and approach will inspire many to reach beyond their imaginations, give them the knowledge-base and skills to succeed, and provide opportunities to future achievement that will reflect well on our city and state. I whole-heartedly endorse this proposed Charter and hope you look favorably upon it as it moves forward! Henry Abeyta
08/22/2013 4:07 PM8/22/2013 4:07 PM
 
  
Don ShalveyAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
Dear PEC Commissioners,
I am writing to publically endorse the petition filed by RISE New Mexico and its founder Mr. Eppie Lopez. I have known Mr. Lopez for a number of years including his time at USC where he honed his skills and an education entrepreneur. Mr. Lopez and his team are deeply committed to serving the youth of New Mexico and RISE NM has both the will and skill to succeed and meet the aspirations of the students and families who will place their trust in the RISE team.
I have the honor of being a public educator for 40+ years including a decade as a California superintendent, the founder of California’s first charter school (the second in the nation) and co-founder of the nation’s first charter management organization (Aspire Public Schools). I am proud of the fact that all parents have the ability to choose the school’s their children attend and believe that all schools must serve students well. I am a proponent for closing or reconstituting low performing schools and do not believe low capacity charter petitions should be granted.

RISE however has displayed its capacity and will to develop an educated citizenry and ensure that RISE students will realize their deepest hopes and aspirations. RISE will enrich the quality of life for their students as well as prepare more youth to do what they love and earn what they need.
Eppie Lopez and his RISE petition are a concrete example of what can happen when passionate individuals recognize the dignity of being an educator and commit their hearts and minds to better the opportunity equation for youngsters whose dreams deserve a chance to become their reality.
I fully endorse Mr. Lopez and his RISE NM vision and encourage you to approve his petition as a gift the PEC can give to the citizens and students of New Mexico.
Deepest regards and thank you for your service,
Don Shalvey Ed.D.
Deputy Director US Programs
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
08/22/2013 6:41 PM8/22/2013 6:41 PM
 
  
Adriana GarciaAlbuquerque - R.I.S.E. New Mexico
To the Public Education Commission
 
Growing up I never felt confident in school. I later on was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and found that the best learning environment for me were smaller classrooms and teachers who cared. Unfortunately the teachers I had only stuck with their syllabus and didn't care whether their students passed or not. As a new mother I want my son to have a fun learning experience and attend a school that actually cares about his education, potential, and self being. I believe RISE New Mexico stands out in that way and will give my son the confidence he'll need not only in school but in life!
 
Adriana Garcia
08/22/2013 6:48 PM8/22/2013 6:48 PM
 
  
Susan CoatesShiprock - Dream Dine'
testing - should not be able to post comment at 7:51 pm on Thursday 8/22
08/22/2013 7:50 PM8/22/2013 7:50 PM
 
  
Andrew GarrisonAlbuquerque - Explore Academy
Dear Public Education Commission, I write this letter in support of the Explore Academy application and the unique curriculum the founder promotes. This applicant presents a very unique educational design that warrants opportunity: - The school plans to operate with shorter classes, called seminars (22 school days in length), leading to greater accountability. Assessment of students is more precise and specific given the shorter units of study. - At the conclusion of each course, students will take an exit exam over the content covered within the seminar to determine whether they receive credit. - Each seminar will be offered in three versions, allowing for student choice for every class in which they enroll. - The school will offer 20 seminars for core-class credits. Students have three learning options for each seminar and thus there exists myriad ways each student can earn those credits. - Beginning in their sophomore year, each student will explore one of over twenty degree programs designed to provide students with exposure into the content and rigor of the areas of study to prepare them for what they will see in college. The application claims that no two students will share the same educational experience and will receive preparation for college through the school’s degree programs. Over the last two approval cycles, this ambitious seminar structure has created questions regarding the issue of capacity—the ability to follow through on rich educational promises. I have not scrutinized this year’s rendition and but hope issues of capacity have been resolved. I look forward to seeing this unique school structure come to fruition. I wish you all the best in this very thorough approval process. I enjoyed being a part of it for six years. Sincerely, Andrew Garrison M. Andrew Garrison Former Member, Public Education Commission
08/22/2013 9:02 PM8/22/2013 9:02 PM
 
  
Roberto and Isabel GutierrezDeming - Columbus Community School
First of all, as residents and supporters of the Columbus Community charter school, we would not encourage antagonism against Deming Public Schools or anyone else in the field of education.  In fact, the main idea is to work, cooperate, and enhance with all whose true mission is to educate.
 
In the near future, you have to decide on a charter school application for Columbus.  Do it with the principles of freedom and equality in mind.  Freedom to allow 400+ American students and their parents to choose a school in their community, and with equality for that school to offer similar opportunities as other schools in New Mexico do for their communities.
 
Present day reality is that a small group of people are taking on the task of trying to obtain permission for a charter school in Columbus.  They are ordinary persons with a mission and limited educational skills and have done their best with budget and curriculum and education logistics.  Once the permitting process allows for funding, they will obtain the needed, specialized help in the different areas of importance for setting and maintaining a charter school.   Yes, there are serious concerns on the difficulty of this endeavor but the potential reward is highly important to this community.  And very significantly, it will have the state education establishment to provide vital assistance.  Thank you.
 
Roberto and Isabel Gutierrez
Columbus, N.M. 
08/26/2013 2:50 AM8/26/2013 2:50 AM
 
  
testAlbuquerque - Explore Academy
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08/30/2013 4:10 PM8/30/2013 4:10 PM