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Audio: Overcoming Challenges to Close the Achievement Gap

Ladera Del Norte Elementary School

Farmington, New Mexico

Principal Phyllis MaestasOvercoming Challenges to Close the Achievement Gap. Like many schools, educators at Ladera Del Norte Elementary school were committed to supporting the success of all students, but they needed to strategically overcome a number of challenges in their mission to close achievement gaps.

In this audio profile, Principal Phyllis Maestas explains how they improved their use of PLC time, which was “the first big step to closing the achievement gap”. Over time, teachers became more skilled in quickly identifying and meeting student needs. Now, even students themselves “know what they’re supposed to learn and how they’re going to get there.”

Ladera Del Norte also prioritizes community involvement in student learning, especially in support of celebrating students’ heritage and culture. Maestas recommends that schools working to close achievement gaps “embrace the individuality of every child”, and use their unique strengths as the starting place to help them thrive.

To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.

Ladera Crafts
Members of Ladera’s local Native American community teach children about traditional crafts.

Ladera Dancers
Ladera students enjoy learning traditional dances from members of the school’s Hispanic community.

Contact Information
Ladera Del Norte Elementary School
Mrs. Phyllis Maestas, Principal at time of Nomination
308 E. 35th Street
Farmington, NM, 87401-9309
(505) 599-8605
Student Demographics 2019
Number of students K-5 566
Students eligible for subsidized meals 31%
Students receiving special ed services 15%
ELL 6%
African American students 1%
White students 47%
American Indian or Alaska Native students 20%
Asian students 1%
Hispanic or Latino students 25%
Two or more races 6%
Student mobility rate 22%
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