Pate Elementary School received a grade of D for 2012 by the New Mexico A-F School Grading Accountability System, but Principal Therese Rodriguez said she is in the midst of making changes to make sure that doesn't happen again.

On Thursday, the school received a visit from a local education agency team which will be interviewing teachers, observing classrooms and evaluating curriculums until the end of the school day on Friday.

"The purpose of the audit is to improve instruction at the classroom level through examining systems that both support and monitor teachers and other instructional personnel," said Rodriguez.

"By law, we're required to examine our struggling schools," said Larry Behrens, the public information officer for the New Mexico Public Education Department.

And though Behrens said Pate Elementary School is not in danger of being shut down for its bad grade, the results of this audit will impact the institution's future "This is pretty important," said Rodriguez, who said she knows it's her job to show the auditors that she has plans for significant improvement in the coming year. The auditors expect that all instructional staff must first ensure that teaching and learning meet student academic needs. The school must also maintain a positive, respectful and trustworthy environment and employ effective research and teaching strategies. "We've already put this in place," Rodriguez said, and mentioned the Renaissance School Excellence Program as a comprehensive professional services program she has already implemented.


The RSEP empowers educators by using technology to make curriculum more effective and increase time for practice of core skills, Rodriguez said. The audit is supposed to generate data to inform the school about its performance, said Rodriguez, and it helps the school to develop an education plan for student success - a school improvement plan required by every educational institution in the state.

Rodriguez said that at the end of the audit on Friday, she will sit down with the team to discuss the findings and her solutions.