Join the 2020-20221 ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program!

ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program Class of 2020 with Lt. Governor Howie Morales

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation and AFT New Mexico recently completed our 2019-2020 Union Leadership Program (ULP) and we're ready to recruit candidates for next year. The ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program is intended to support the development of union leaders to also serve as leaders in their school sites and in their districts. The program meets for a full day on one Saturday per month from September until April. Participants conduct action research on topics they are passionate about, speak with policymakers, and examine issues in public education and unionism. We usually have potluck lunches and the program has led to greater comradery and fostered friendships among union members. Participants are also paid a $1,500 stipend from the American Federation of Teachers after completing the entire program.

Our most recent cadre of candidates came from diverse role groups and AFT-NM locals around the state. This year our group included nurses, teachers, educational assistants, and participants from outside Albuquerque. The group featured two newly elected ATF officers, the local president from Los Alamos, and the Vice President from Rio Rancho. Our Saturdays were informed by the richness of wide-ranging experiences our participants brought to our discussions. Our culminating activity took place on Saturday, May 16th, when we held a Google Meet showcase to present our research and findings. You can access the research of each participant below.

Members who participate in the ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program have opportunities to serve on union committees and joint union/district Task Forces. It is our hope that participants will run for union office someday. ATF/AFT-NM ULP participants are part of a nationwide educator leaders network. Through their completion of action research projects this year, ATF and AFT-NM members are taking an active role in influencing policy in areas like:

  • Restorative Justice Practices;
  • Social-Emotional Learning;
  • Multicultural Gifted Education;
  • Teacher Evaluation;
  • Union Recruitment and Organization;
  • Student Access To Fine Arts and Certified Librarians;
  • Student-Centered Learning;
  • Career and Technical Education;
  • Improving Special Education Practices;
  • Student Awareness of Available Counseling Services;
  • Student Perspectives on the Effectiveness of Out of School Suspension;
  • and much more.

We are seeking a diverse group of ATF/AFT-NM leaders who are active in their school communities to comprise next year's ULP. All AFT members are eligible to participate: certified and classified employees.  Download the application and JOIN us here.

Union Leadership Program Class of 2020 Research Summaries and Presentation Materials

April Baca, Middle School Educational Assistant, AFCP Buidling Rep,  "How to keep consistency in the classroom when SPED teachers are absent" (Presentation Included)

Katrina Garcia Spillman, Elementary Teacher, Fed Rep, Organizing Team, "Equity Issues with Gifted Evaluation Practices in Albuquerque Public Schools" 

Aide Gonzalez Espindola, Special Education Teacher, Fed Rep, "In what ways can we improve teaching culturally and linguistically responsive in Special Education?" 

Sarah Hager, Middle School Art Teacher, Fed Rep, ATF Secretary, Organizing Team,  "What role does visual art play in the social-emotional learning of adolescence?" (Presentation included)

Whitney Holland, Elementary Teacher, President of Los Alamos Federation of School Employees, Secretary of AFT-NM, "What Are The Elements Of An Effective Student Survey System?".  Whitney's Presentation

Bonnie Kavanagh, Nurse, Fed Rep, "Building Membership in a School Nurse’s Role Group" 

Phillip King, Elementary Teacher,  Fed Rep, Organizing Team,  "Cooperative Learning & Student Engagement Within a 5th Grade Classroom" (Presentation Included)

Lisa Lopez, Elementary Teacher, Fed Rep, "In what ways does play impact the behavior and emotional well-being in kindergarteners?"  

Cindy Mathews, Elementary Educational Assistant, "Beyond the Safety Team- A Holistic Approach to Disruptive Behavior" Cindy's Presentation

Tracy Nichols, Librarian, Fed Rep, Organizing Team, "In what ways do classroom teachers value a Full-Time Teacher Librarian at their school?"

Julieana Reed, Middle School Educational Assistant, AFCP Building Rep, "How can we help students with disabilities understand and reach their career or college goals?" (Presentation Included)

Paul Reichbach, Technology Teacher, Vice President Rio Rancho School Employees' Union, "The Difficulties in Implementing Distance Learning" (Presentation Included)

Ben Temkin, Middle School Teacher, Fed Rep, Organizing Team,  "Counseling Awareness in Albuquerque Middle Schools"

Derek Villanueva, High School Teacher, Fed Rep of the Year 2020, ATF Treasurer, "Incorporating Mindfulness as a Component of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)".    Derek's Presentation

Bren Vitter, Middle School Teacher, "A Correlation Study of Restorative Practices Implementation and School Climate"

Facilitators: Donna Teuteberg, Ellen Bernstein, Dwayne Norris

Moving Forward: Negotiations Update


Although no one knows what the future holds regarding re-opening during the pandemic, ATF and APS agreed that we would have a common calendar for all schools and worksites. The first issue that had to be settled was the start date and the beginning of the year Professional Development and Preparation Days. You can download the MOU here.


We know that students will return to school next year with a lot of social and emotional needs. ATF and APS had already begun to address these needs by re-booting advisories in Middle & High Schools. These were the Advisories agreements from March 2020. We also sent out an FAQ entitled "Advisory Reboot #1" and "Advisory Reboot #2". Finally, here are a couple of articles that guided the APS/ATF Advisory Task Force to make our decisions: "The Challenge of Advisory and Why It's Worth the Effort" and "Advisory: 22 Ways to Build Relationships for Educational Success".


ATF & APS revised last year's language on Teacher Leader Facilitators (TLFs), drafted additional language, and agreed to continue the program for the coming school year. This is an important position, as educators are able to elect their TLFs and this furthers the cause of democracy in our schools. You can download the MOU here. 


APS/ATF Joint Memos on End of the Year and Re-opening

APS/ ATF made agreements about End of the Year procedures and the tone of our joint work: collaboration. Here is the first Joint Memorandum. You can download the document here.


ATF leadership met the last week of school with APS Administration and released the following Memorandum of Understanding. The two parties are working together to create a re-opening task force that will include administration and practitioners. The task force will work on the 7 areas listed on the Memo.


Spotlight on ATF Members in Action

All over our district, members of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation are stepping up to build online lessons and provide social and emotional stability for students. We want to thank all APS employees who have risen to the challenge of distance learning on the fly by shining the spotlight on some of these dedicated, innovative educators.

Julie Rombach-Kendall (Mrs. R-K), Music Teacher/ATF Member at John Baker ES

“Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water”

As teachers, most of us thought our students would be better than us at navigating online platforms. After all, they visit Tik Tok and Instagram regularly.  Some of them even have their own YouTube channels. However, many students are having to learn the online platforms along with us.  They need moral support!

Music is soul food, and we all need it now more than ever.  After thinking about how to create some stress relief, a morning Dance Break and Friday afternoon Karaoke Party came to mind.  It has provided an online place to unwind and have some fun with the personal touch of knowing the hostess.

Every Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM, I host an online Dance Break through Google Meet. A meeting code is posted on my JBES music, their general education classroom and our library Google pages 5 or so minutes before it starts.  Students of all ages are encouraged to come for a dance or two or stay for the full 30 minutes. The dances are meant to be a break, so we do not spend time going over specific moves unless it is a line dance. With the line dances, we go over the moves quickly and then do it.

Every Friday afternoon at 3 PM, we have a 5th Grade Karaoke Party Google Meet.    They are instructed to use two devices:  1) for the Karaoke song and 2) for us to see and hear them. Their songs have to be without swear words, no sexual references (romantic is fine) and no references to getting drunk or high. At first, I thought I was doing it for the kids.  It became clear though after hearing their wonderful singing that it was feeding my soul as much as theirs. There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children singing. It has become a great outlet for our students who love to sing. Everyone has been supportive and encouraging like a bridge over troubled water.


                     Allie Bailey, 5th Grade Teacher/ ATF Member from John Baker ES

Allie Bailey and the 5th Grade Team at John Baker created a read-aloud activity to engage their students based on the popular TV show THE MASKED SINGER. They dubbed their creation THE MASKED READERS. JBES staff donned costumes and created virtual avatars, read books to students, and let them solve the mystery. KOB-TV, Channel 4, featured them on their newscast. See the report here.


Alison Bowles, ATF Fed Rep for Tierra Antigua Elementary

I have been teaching third graders about character traits after reading a story to my class. Students were asked to use text evidence to support their thinking and submit their answers via Google Slides. Students also worked on defining and illustrating two new vocabulary words. On the next Google Meet Call, I conducted a class discussion to extend students’ analysis of key text elements. Students enjoyed sharing their thinking with each other.


 Cherry Malaque, Special Ed. Teacher/ATF Member from Sombra Del Monte ES

“While all the world clamors for more heroes, we find heroes within each one of us”.

Sombra del Monte Special Ed quickly responds to make connections and strengthen relationships with students and families immediately after the lockdown on March 13, 2020. A variety of efforts to reach students and families were made to ensure no student slipped through the cracks. Whenever a  student or family didn't respond after many attempts, teachers felt concerned. Each teacher thought of ways to extend more efforts offering more support to students and families.

It was and still is a roller coaster ride. These pictures show the teachers’ dedication to making connections really authentic. We visited students' residences  (after acquiring permission from parents and following social distancing) and gave them rewards for their performances in iReady, Seesaw and Google Classroom.  To make our visit fun, we wore character costumes and showed signs of support to the families.

The happiness we saw on the faces of our students and families was indescribable and meaningful. We looked at positivity amidst COVID-19. We may be bombarded with fears and uncertainties but we assure families that if we do this together, we will survive. As Sombra says: “ Together we’re better, together we shine”. Now we say: “Together we are braver, together we survive”.  Go, Sombra, go!


Christie Marrs, Title I Reading Teacher/ATF Fed Rep, Zuni Elementary School
"The teachers at Zuni are doing all manner of things to reach our families and keep our students engaged. Most support staff, like myself, have created our own websites and we pop into Google Meets to read to students and just chat. We have a volunteer system set up where staff who feel comfortable doing so can assist in passing out lunches and technology and other items to families through a drive-thru system. We are having weekly virtual staff meetings and our principal has been absolutely amazing during this pandemic. Our principal should be a model to others in how to treat and take care of a staff! He has put zero pressure on us and his main concern has been our safety and health. He has urged a "less is more" approach and has recognized us all for our creativity and dedication and our engagement with one another from a distance. I thank my lucky stars that I work at Zuni! "

Shelly Goodman, Special Education Teacher/ATF Member @ Petroglyph ES

"I teach second- through fourth-grade students with learning disabilities. It has been wonderful seeing all the kids in the online meetings. They are real troupers. I want to say thank you to all the families for helping them get set up with all the technology and learning programs. During our classroom meetings, students have been able to participate in a number of different lesson formats, including online workbooks, learning games, taking a virtual field trip, and participating in writing conferences with peers.

This week, we are writing opinions using Google Docs where students are able to type and add pictures while working online with me and with peers. The students used Google Docs in the classroom this year, so they know how to open it up and share the writing with me during the online meetings. Students are also familiar with the writing accommodations provided by APS that help them with spelling. Another helpful accommodation is the text-to-speech option that allows the writing to be read back to the student by the computer. Some students, who have more difficulty spelling, also use the speech-to-text feature which allows them to get more ideas on the page."


 Matthew Newman, PE Teacher/ATF Member @ Dolores Gonzales ES and his son

"We've made a YouTube channel named "Backyard PE". In the videos, my son and I go through numerous physical activities you can do with everyday household items. We, then, put the videos on our school’s class dojo page where the kiddos can go to see the videos and such.

We created a Google classroom where we put weekly assignments up, strictly optional of course. The assignments on the Google classroom are about nutrition, anatomy, and other health topics. Lastly, we try to go into as many Google classrooms a week to visit with the classroom teachers and students in an effort to touch base with everybody."


Vote Our Values: ATF Unified COPE 2020 Primary Elections Endorsements

If nothing else, this pandemic has brought the shared value of a greater good front and center, as we are reminded daily that we are “all in this together.”

As we have reflected on the last two months, we are grateful that we’ve worked hard to get strong political leaders elected in our state and local governments. These leaders are proving to us that they have the greater good in mind with every decision they make. Currently, we have a governor who has continued to fund our schools and has made sure that all public education employees maintain an income. We have elected state legislators who continue to investigate ways to support our communities, as the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.

It is now time to vote in the Primary Election and it is critical that we continue to support and vote for leaders who share our values. We all value a better life and a better future for all of us—namely:

  • Good jobs;
  • Quality, affordable healthcare;
  • A secure retirement;
  • Affordable college;
  • Great public schools;
  • Collective bargaining; and
  • A healthy democracy with justice for all.

When we vote, our shared values have a good chance of becoming future realities. That future is more at risk now than ever. We must elect leaders who will stand by us and our families, as well as by our students and their families because the fight forward requires strong leadership.

Join the ATF Committee On Political Education (COPE) or increase your dues here!

 Please sign up to virtual phonebank with your COPE Committee.

2020 ATF/AFT New Mexico/AFT COPE Endorsements

Your union does not tell you how to vote. However, you can be sure that we have carefully vetted each candidate to ensure that our recommendations reflect individuals who most closely align with our goals of preserving and promoting public education and labor rights. The endorsed incumbent candidates were recommended by the ATF Unified COPE committee based on their previous voting record. All new candidates have completed the ATF Unified COPE Questionnaire and have submitted to an interview with the ATF Unified COPE Interview Team. The endorsements were ratified by the ATF Fed Rep Council on April 20, 2020. All statewide endorsements and endorsements for candidates outside of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County were vetted by the AFT-NM COPE Committee. National endorsements are made by the American Federation of Teachers.

Thank you to the Unified COPE Interview Team: Sara Attleson, ATF COPE Chair, Kathy Chavez - AFCP President, Therese Saunders - AFTNM Retirees, James Macklin - Fine Arts, Chelsea O’Connell - John Baker Elementary, and Jorge Serrano - West Mesa High.

Important Dates

  • May 5th: Last Day To Register or Change Registration for the Primary/ County Clerks Begin Mailing Out Absentee Ballot Applications
  • May 16th- May 30th: Early Voting
  • May 28th: Last Day To Request An Absentee Ballot
  • All absentee ballots may be returned by mail (with postage already paid for by the state) to your County Clerk’s Office, or in-person at an alternative voting location, mobile alternative voting location, or any Election Day polling location no later than 7pm on June 2, 2020.
  • June 2nd: Primary Election Day 
  • NOTE: All county clerks in New Mexico will provide early in-person voting on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Because of the nature of postal delivery, the Secretary of State encourages any voter considering making an absentee ballot request on Thursday,   May 28, 2020, to consider voting in-person during early voting hours on Saturday, May 30, 2020, or to vote in-person on Election Day, Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Stay tuned for early voting information. Meanwhile... Sign Up for an Absentee Ballot here.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a request for an all-mail election for our state primary on June 2. There is no way to know what our quarantine status will be in early June. Protect yourself and your vote, sign up for an absentee ballot today.

The following national candidates are endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers:

U.S. President

Joe Biden

U.S. Senate:

Ben Ray Lujan, U.S. Senate

U.S. Congress:

Debra Haaland, U.S. House of Representatives, District 1

Xochitl Torres Small, U.S. House of Representatives, District 2

No Endorsement Until After the Primary, U.S. House of Representatives, District 3

The following candidates are endorsed by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation and the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico:

NM Judicial Races:

Supreme Court, Position 1: Shannon Bacon
Supreme Court, Position 2: David Thomson
Court of Appeals, Position 1: Zach Ives
Court of Appeals, Position 2: Shammara Henderson

New Mexico State Senate (SD= Senate District):

SD 9 Benjamin Rodefer

SD10 Katy Duhigg

SD14 Michael Padilla

SD15 Daniel Ivey-Soto*

SD16 Antoinette Sedillo Lopez

SD17 Mimi Stewart*

SD18 William "Bill" Tallman

SD 19 Claudia Risner

SD20 Martin Hickey / Rebecca Stair dual endorse

SD23 Harold Pope

SD29 Paul Baca

New Mexico State House of Representatives (HD= House District):

HD10 Andres Romero *

HD13 Patricia Roybal Caballero

HD14 Miguel Garcia*

HD15 Dayan “Day” Hochman

HD17 Deborah Armstrong

HD18 Gail Chasey

HD19 Sheryl Williams Stapleton*

HD20 Meredith Dixon

HD21 Debbie Sariñana*

HD22 Jessica Velasquez

HD24 Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson *

HD25 Christine Trujillo*

HD26 Georgene Louis

HD27 Marian Matthews

HD28 Melanie Stansbury

HD29 Joy Garratt*

HD30 Natalie Figueroa*

HD31 Julie Ford Brenning

HD 44: Gary Tripp

HD 50 Matthew McQueen

HD 57: Billie Helean^

HD68 Karen Bash

HD 69: Harry Garcia

HD 70: Anita Gonzales^

* Denotes a current, retired or former member of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation

^ Denotes a current, retired or former member of the AFT-NM

Join the ATF Committee On Political Education (COPE) or increase your dues here!

 Please sign up to virtual phonebank with your COPE Committee.

FEED OUR FAMILIES: A Partnership Between ATF and Roadrunner Food Bank

(artwork: "Our Community Banner" by Marianna Anaya)

Help Combat Hunger During This Crisis! Donate Now!

“Together, we can achieve what would be impossible on our own.”- AFT President Randi Weingarten

We are fortunate and thankful as educators to still have our jobs, our incomes, and our health insurance. All of these things provide a sense of security during “normal” times, much more so during these times of uncertainty and in the midst of a global pandemic. Many, many families across our country, in our state, and in our district have been less fortunate. Shutdowns, furloughs, and cut hours have left many families struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table.

 Unionism is about solidarity and social justice. It is about supporting our fellow workers. It is about lifting each other up. Unionism is caring about the communities in which we live in every possible way we can. With so many of our students' families, fellow workers and neighbors struggling, we have partnered with Roadrunner to come together stronger to feed our families.

Nationally, food banks are reporting a 40% increase in demand, with two, three, and even four times the number of people seeking help to feed their family. We have seen it here, locally, on TV and in the news, our families are also struggling. Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in our state, is running out of funds and is low on non-perishables. In a recent news story, it was reported that they have spent their entire year’s budget in just two to three weeks. They need us. More accurately, the families that are depending on the food bank for survival need us. These are our student’s families. These are our neighbors and fellow workers. This is our community.

Although we are in a fortunate place as educators, we also know that some of our colleagues are struggling as family members and significant others face job insecurity. That being said, we are asking all educators who are able to help out by donating in this time of great need.

Donate what you can. It may be that we can donate what we normally spend on gas since we are not traveling to work each day. Perhaps the money you normally spend to have snacks in your classrooms. Every little bit helps. If all 6,800+ employees we represent pitch in, we can collectively make a tremendous difference in our community and for our families.

Let’s support the community in which we live and serve! Take action! Donate today!


School Climate Matters! Take the ATF Principal Survey!

School Climate Matters! Take the APS/ATF Principal Survey April 6th-13th

Very few employees have the right to provide feedback about their supervisor's performance, but you do thanks to language in Appendix K of your APS/ATF Negotiated Agreement. Your union leaders worked hard so that your thoughts on your school climate are taken into account. Who has this kind of voice? You do! Your responses come to ATF and we compile them before sending them to APS leadership so that your anonymity is protected. Take the survey now. We need 100% of certified employees to chime in about their principals' strengths and areas in need of improvement.

School Climate Matters! Read the March/April Teacher's Voice.

“To improve the quality of teaching,” Dr. Richard Ingersoll says, you need to “improve the quality of the teaching job.” And, “If you really improve that job… you would attract good people and you would keep them.”

Why Do Teachers Quit? And why do they stay?, The Atlantic, Liz Riggs, 2013

This quote from Dr. Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania, speaks to School Climate. Ingersoll's research is concerned with the character of elementary and secondary schools as workplaces, teachers as employees and teaching as a job.

Our union President, Dr. Ellen Bernstein, considers addressing the need for a positive school climate to be “The One True Reform.” In this edition of the Teachers’ Voice Ellen asserts that if we neglect the primacy of school climate, very little can create deep and lasting change. School climate matters.

Check your mail. Hard copies of the March/April Teachers’ Voice are coming to your home.

Until then, hope you enjoy the online copy


The APS/ATF Principal Survey is one of the many initiatives your union fights for every day. Not yet a member? Join your union today!

ATF's Practitioner's Guide to Distance Learning: The Dos, Don'ts and Helpful Hints

For many of us, the thought of teaching online is quite intimidating or overwhelming and can leave educators at a loss of where to even begin.

Fear not!! Our union is working hard to research, question, and consolidate information that will help all of us thrive in these uncertain times. We are pulling from resources already available, as well as our own very knowledgeable, creative, and capable membership.

For most of us, content and curriculum will not be the challenging part. We know our subjects and craft. And through collaboration with colleagues, we will certainly come up with modified lessons and plans that are meaningful even though they will be delivered via the internet.

ATF Launches Distance Learning Resources

Your union has created a Google Doc with links to distance learning resources. Find help with technology, adapting lessons to meet special needs, nurturing students' social-emotional learning, and much more here.


Have you thought about your environment while delivering lessons and materials online? Lighting? Camera angle? Sound? Space? What will be seen on the screen? Here are a few logistical tips:

  • Space – It is ideal to find a space that is quiet and away from distractions. Maybe setting up a table or desk in a corner of a room would work. Consider hanging something educational behind you or even something like a whiteboard that you can write on. Make your space a “mini-classroom.”
  • Sound – Most laptops have adequate sound and mics, but a cheap headset with a mic can go a long way (especially if you have trouble hearing). Either way, it is important that your space is in a quiet area so background noises are not a distraction.
  • Lighting – This is a tricky one. Ideally, you want something like a white sheet or board behind your computer facing you so that light can be reflected on to you. Try to avoid any direct lighting in the video as it can wash everything out. Reading lamps can work, especially if adjustable, and especially if you have two (one on each side of your head).
  • Camera angle – This is very important. Try to focus the camera at eye level. If the camera is below eye level, it can look like you are towering over your student (plus they’ll be able to see up your nose…oops). Books, boxes, extra packs of toilet paper that you have laying around, etc., can all be used to elevate your computer.
  • Test your setup – If possible, test out your setup with a colleague or friend. Schedule a Zoom or Facetime meeting (whatever you have access to) and see how everything works.
  • Make sure that you're logged into an account where you have the power to mute others' mics. Use an online platform where you can have a virtual waiting room so you can approve who has access to the meeting.
  • Don’t beat yourself up – Remember, nothing can replace proper public schooling in a brick and mortar building where students and educators have actual, in-person interactions. This is a crisis situation and we are working on stopgap solutions. Your students are most likely feeling the same stress and uncertainty you’re experiencing. They will appreciate seeing you, speaking with you, interacting, and just connecting with you. Hopefully, some of these tips will help facilitate those interactions.

Tips for your teaching and building routines:

 Note: These ideas came directly from APS educators and are suggestions, not mandates.

  1. As educators, we should take into consideration that parents may not have the technological knowledge that we do, so we should create detailed instructions that are easy to follow. We should make sure that parents can access online educational materials with as little difficulty as possible.
  2. Try not to teach too many new concepts at one time. Many of us are worried that we did not get to cover all the Common Core State Standards and content that we planned. We can use this opportunity to go back and fill in any gaps to solidify student learning.
  • Projects Based Learning is a great strategy to use. We can assign students a project that they can complete with minimal adult assistance and with daily work embedded. Students can turn in a final project online or by drop-off that demonstrates their mastery of standards.
  • Focus on students collaborating and thinking rather than just "doing." Message boards and Google assignments in groups foster that type of environment.  Having discussions on reading material allows for participation at students' comfort level while still engaging in the material.
  1. Focus on the quality of the work rather than the quantity. Although students can benefit from drill exercises, try not to over assign “busy work.” To expect all students to work at the same pace is unreasonable. All student efforts need to be appreciated. Many of our students are dealing with challenging home life situations. Many parents and families (including our own families) are being challenged with managing multiple children who are being “homeschooled”. We must not add stress to the lives of our students. Many of them are busy babysitting siblings, etc.  Some students and/or their family members may become sick during this timeframe.
  • Tip: Construct lessons and activities that hit 2-3 learning objectives and/or standards at a time. In this way, we can reduce the number of assignments and offer quality over quantity.
  1. Building relationships & fostering social emotional well-being are extremely important. The overwhelming amount of information everyone is exposed to places stress, fear and anxiety on us all. Our greatest fear is of the unknown. That is why having a safe place for students to voice their concerns, share this tough moment, and build hope is essential. The following site is a resource that provides recommendations for educators from experts in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
  2. Meet online in small groups or offer pre-recorded lessons. Trying to talk to 20-30 kids in an online learning platform could be difficult.
  3. If others in your house will be using online learning, that will definitely affect the quality of your internet feed. Try to build a schedule at your house that doesn’t conflict with others and help the families you serve do the same.
  4. Give students/parents plenty of time to respond. None of this has to be done on the fly. Take extra time to explain instructions. Make sure you explain exactly what is expected of your students. Plan to field lots of student questions for clarification.
  5. This is a major historic event! Encourage students to journal and create projects that portray their daily lives in the time of Covid-19.
  6. Parents are working and may not have time to assist their children, so make assignments easy and short in duration. Do not assign a great deal of work and give students plenty of time to complete work in ways that fit their home situation.
  7. If you are using Google Hangouts to connect with students make sure that everyone has left the meeting before leaving yourself. In this way, we can help monitor students’ online behavior and avoid problems.
  8. Teachers need to be aware that parents and other non-student viewers may be watching/listening. Be extremely careful what you say and how you interact with your students. Interactions that may have been "appropriate banter in class” could be misinterpreted by someone when heard out of context.
  9. All of your teaching does not have to occur in an online meeting format. We can record video podcasts using our desktops as recording devices. Use lots of graphics and high-quality videos. Provide links to Khan Academy, PBS, or Discovery Education videos. Use AFT's Create assignments that nurture student creativity such as recording their own short videos or audio products using cellphones or whatever devices they have on hand. Live online classes can then be used for explanation and addressing individual issues in small groups. Don’t be afraid to merely facilitate meetings and allow them to be student-led.
  10. Pick 1 key standard or “Big Idea” each week. These standards should be the most important ones to finish out the year.
  11. Let students share what they are learning on their own while at home. They may be focused on something that has nothing to do with school but is important to them and their family. Offer lots of student choice when designing an assignment. Ex:  Student reads a novel of their choice and presents a summary in a way that works for their home situation.  Some students may use technology where others may create a picture on a piece of paper or cardboard.
  12. One teacher suggested that students have a short reading lesson and math lesson each day. Writing could be done a couple of times a week and integrated into other topics. Another suggestion: social studies could be incorporated into the reading lesson and science could be incorporated into the math lesson.
  13. Find ways to engage students that are fun and enjoyable! These activities often require the least amount of materials.
  • Example: Teach families basic games to practice math fluency and general comprehension questions they can ask about any story they read.
  1. Try to incorporate activities the students can discuss with parents or siblings at home. A time capsule or a daily journal is something students can create with siblings or parents. They could also create this with friends over the Internet.
  2. Parent involvement is crucial for building structure. Encourage families to schedule learning times similar to normal class routine times.
  • Example: Meet with each class in small groups during the normal time you would meet in the classroom. This doesn’t have to be an everyday occurrence: 2-3 times per week should suffice. Use the time for discussion and introducing any new concepts or activities.
  1. Think about what is available in students’ households. Use common items that most people have in their homes.
  • Baking could cover chemistry concepts, ratios and proportional relationships, as well as fractions. Analyzing charts and models can incorporate social studies and math.

These are but a few of the many wonderful ideas members have sent to us. Have a great idea you want to share? Email your lesson or idea to 

We will all learn from this experience. Take care of yourself and your family. Be well.


ATF At-Large Officer Election Results 2020

Congratulations to the New ATF Officers!

In accordance with the ATF Bylaws, the deadline for submission of candidates has passed with only one slate of candidates coming forward for at-large positions. The bylaws state when only one candidate for open positions comes forth, a formal election will not be held. The newly elected officers will hold office for two-year terms beginning July 1, 2020.


Ellen Bernstein, NBCT


Sean Thomas, NBCT, Eldorado HS


Sarah Hager, Cleveland MS


Derek Villanueva, Manzano HS


Dwayne Norris, NBCT, ATF Organizer & Communications Specialist (on leave from the classroom)

Thanks to the ATF Election Committee members: Ben Steiner - Osuna ES, Veronica Forester - Emerson ES, Cheryl Haase - Grant MS, Ginger Koning - Barcelona ES, and David Clare - Roosevelt MS.


National, State, and Local News

APS/ATF/AFCP JOINT MEMORANDUM: Setting A Tone As We Plan For The Unknown

APS Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) Questions and Answers for the Week of April 20, 2020

The answers (below in blue) are based on questions sent to between 4/13 and 4/17. The answers have been agreed upon between APS and ATF.



  • There has been some confusion about accessing classrooms. Employees are allowed in schools but should stay in their classrooms/offices. No need to call security, but please contact your principal/supervisor first. Also, some people think there is a 15-minute limit. That is not true.
  • Is there a reason we are being told to take the Spring testing proctor course even though we aren't doing spring testing?  This just seems silly. I'm not usually one to complain, but this really seems unnecessary. Because some testing was completed before schools shut down, all principals and testing coordinators should have completed their training. APS must certify to the PED that training had been completed, so even though there will be no more testing if coordinators had not completed the training they still need to do it. Only testing coordinators and principals are required to take the training. Staffs are not.
  • Were there any coronavirus cases at schools other than Del Norte? The answer from the district was that there had been some difficult situations. What does this mean?  Would we be told if there were cases at our school? Classes have now been out for 5 weeks, so any passing of the virus is no longer occurring at schools. For this reason, announcing who is ill would only serve to breach confidentiality. NM Department of Health is reaching out to people who may have come in contact with people who test positive.
  • Should principals have been collecting keys and going through the end of the year procedures like having educators clean out their classrooms? No. Principals should not be taking keys. The school year is not over. Teachers should not be cleaning out classrooms either.
  • We are being forced to give the district a daily schedule of how we are teaching kids with teaching blocks that far exceed the required minutes. It’s a lie, and what happens when we get caught in the lie?  Also, these fictitious school schedules assume that those learning times will work for all families and it is ridiculous. We were also told that the District realizes that we might not be able to reach all students online, oh well, then we teach that smaller class. I am so not OK with that idea. It is my job to differentiate so all kids have access to learning should they choose. Look at sample schedules in CLP. And check your site CLP. APS is not asking employees to exceed the minutes suggested. If you have a school specific issue, contact ATF at


  • I am a veteran teacher and not enough training has gone on to do lessons online.  Our school keeps sending me to view videos and still I am lost. We are being pressured and not enough training has been given. What can be done?
    APS is working on more resources and PD modules. You can put in a ticket (APS intranet under C&I link) and someone will contact you. Or email or Also, if you need some basic “how to” computer information, contact: The help desk is still up and running. Call: 830-8080 or email:
  • As tech savvy as I claim to be... I did not know that we could add our APS email to Google Docs. It might be a good idea to spell that out for others along with how easy it is to do - and what to do when you reopen your computer and it defaults to a personal email. Some people in the district have been using it for years while others had no idea.
    Call the help desk or
  • What are the specific problems using Zoom instead of Google Meet? Security in Zoom is still problematic. There have been instances when a zoom class has been “invaded” by inappropriate content here in APS. It would require training to use it securely as a classroom format.
  • I am wondering if you can make any inroads on an issue regarding grades. I feel strongly that students should have the option of selecting their last six-week letter grade or a P/F for the semester. I have several students who have worked super hard including joining an accelerated class within my class to do extra work in chemistry. They have A’s and A+’s and it breaks my heart that they will end up with the same grade as someone who has a D- mostly from copying. Is there any way it could be a choice? That way kids with A’s and B’s can still have that on their transcripts and kids with C’s and D’s could have the pass. It seems like a win/win for everyone. So far, there doesn’t seem to be a way to overcome the technological inequities that would impact class rankings. Even the idea of student choice on how they want to be graded would still be negatively impacted for those who do not have access to technology and the Internet. APS made this decision because it was the most fair. Educators should strive to give individual students meaningful feedback.
  • We are allowing families to check out Chromebooks from the carts at our school. We fear that many of them may not be returned for the next school year and this will lessen student access to our mobile computer carts. Will lost technology be replaced by the District? APS is hopeful that devices will be turned in. As the administrator of the device, APS Ed Tech has the ability to disable missing devices to make sure student information is secure. APS has money to purchase additional devices and they will be used to replenish missing or damaged Chromebooks, etc. In fact, APS actually has more Chromebooks available for students and does not have to limit distribution to 1 per family.

Developmental Pre-K

I have a couple of questions and concerns about the continuous learning plan for preschool. As you may or may not know Developmental Preschool Classrooms (DPC) has never been a part of NM Pre-K. We were told that starting next year (2020-2021) that was going to change and we would now be required to follow all of PED's rules so that we are able to get verified. During this very stressful time, it seems as though they have already combined DPC and NM Pre-K under one umbrella. We have a coach who we meet with once a week, who we have never met in person before. They are also requiring us to submit a lesson plan every week. They are requiring us to have TWO thirty minute face-to-face interactions every day with our students. They are also requiring us to take attendance of our students, which is not to be done. Not to mention that DPC Teachers are required to still schedule, write, conduct our student's annual and progression IEP's and attend new IEPs because they are still placing new students in our classrooms at this time. We also have to update all of our students on our caseload PWN's to reflect technology use.

I am just a little frustrated and concerned because I feel the biggest message that is being seen across the board is to extend grace but I feel that is not true for the DPC Teachers. I feel as though I am getting two sets of information one from my principal and one from the Early Childhood Department, and to be honest I would rather follow my principal's guidance because expectations are the same for everyone across the board. K-5 teachers do not have half the requirements that we do, they are allowed to do pre-recorded lessons that allow families flexibility so that they are able to watch it when they can. They are also not required to take attendance or submit any lesson plans. I just feel like everyone is getting leniency and we are not. I understand the importance of Early Childhood but all teachers should be treated equally across the board.

We were also told today that we are required to hold live office hours on top of our two thirty minute sessions. They also said we are required to submit Entry/Exit ECO scores for all of our students. These scores get submitted to the state. But my question is how are we supposed to score our students on social emotional and self help skills above many other things when most of our families are in crisis mode. I don't think that is fair. In my opinion, it's essentially just submitting a false score. We were told that we are required to do all of this because of state funding. But I find this very funny because as a DPC teacher we see NO money in our classrooms. NM Pre-K gets funding every year for supplies, we do not. All of this just seems very unfair and I'm not happy, which I'm not the only one.

Another developmental pre-k

We received the following communication from a practice based coach who will be guiding us through setting up instruction this week: "All preschool teachers are to provide copies of their weekly lesson plans to their administration, PreK Coach, and then placed in the lesson plan binder for video conferencing, email or other media, or packets for pick up. Normally, lesson plans are posted on the parent communication board and then stored in the classroom’s lesson plan binder. All preschool teachers, general and special education, will develop lesson plans using the NMPED FOCUS required template."

It is my understanding that the negotiated agreement says we do not have to turn in lesson plans nor do we have to use a required template. I intend to bring this up during our video conference today and would like to have confirmation from you if possible prior to the meeting (8:30 am).

Can you tell me how this will be addressed with the preschool department and when the notification will be made?

The NM PED FOCUS is the guiding document for all public school preschool programs: special and general education.  During school closure and then the development of the APS Continuous Learning Plan, Preschool -12 Early Childhood found a way to support the teachers of preschool across the district. Many of the activities for general education preschool are not asked of preschool special education due to the fact that they are not familiar with many of the FOCUS requirements.

As you may imagine distance learning is not designed for young children. We are matching the expectations from the PED for preschool classrooms across the state and then making adjustments as insurmountable road blocks appear.

  • Recording the meeting with children has been canceled
  • Preschool special education teachers are not required to use the lesson plan template from the PED during this school closure
  • Office hours will match what the school site has stated for K-5
  • Practice-Based Coaching is replaced with consultation and support model
  • Educational Assistants involvement has been modified

We will continue to make changes to the plan as we experience the need. 

Pre-K Coaches are providing a preschool collaborative check-in every two weeks for one 30-45 minute meeting. The meetings are to provide an opportunity for the teachers to share what is working, what is not, and find solutions that have been discovered.

Daily 30-minute video meetings with 10 or fewer children in a session.  If the family does not have technology, other means to make contact are required to check in on the young children and provide learning activities. 

Using the lesson plan template that is required of all PED preschool teachers is not required at this time from special education preschool teachers. If they feel they can start to explore the template, that is great. Next school year, all APS preschool teachers will use the required template.

Attendance is not taken through Synergy just paper pencil for the teacher’ records. They will not turn it in to anyone but recording it is advisable.

APS Continuous Learning Plan (CLP) Questions and Answers from the week of April 6th

The answers (below in blue) are based on questions sent to between 4/6 and 4/9. The answers have been agreed upon between APS and ATF.


  • Will assignments need to be graded? The requirement is that meaningful feedback should be provided, but not grades.
  • What happens with report cards? Ongoing meaningful feedback to students is important. Guidance on communication to parents through the SBPR will be forthcoming.
  • Why are we requiring only 60 mins of learning a day for 2nd graders but then wanting them to check in two or three times a day? How will they have time/ability to do that in families with siblings who are also trying to get their work done online? We will know the work is complete when they submit it (Google Classroom). The CLP recommends checking in at least 2 times per week with students
  • Are we allowed to teach Stepping Stones? You can use Stepping Stones as one of the resources you use to re-teach concepts and deepen students’ understanding of concepts.
  • Is there a way to have the standards being taught on PBS in advance so we can do lessons on the same topics? NM PBS has a detailed version of the lessons on their website. A menu of what is taught, times, and supplies needed for lessons will be forthcoming from APS.
  • Alternative Calendar schools were asked to complete the missing marks in the first-trimester section of the progress report. With all of the problems and time-consuming solutions offered by the district, the first-trimester progress report should stand as it is. No more work should be required by teachers for the mistakes made by others. A teacher at our school emailed SIS about this matter and received the response that it would be good to finish the missing marks, but it was not required. How should we proceed regarding this matter? (Personal Opinion: We are fed up with this first-trimester nonsense and ready to let it die. This will certainly be a strange looking 2019-2020 progress report card, but that's life. Let's move on.) You do not need to fill in the first-trimester progress reports.

Middle School

  • We are required to meet with our Advisory class for one hour, twice a week and assign independent student work for the other three days of the week - FOR ADVISORY.  In addition, we have to create Google classrooms for all classes and provide supplemental work to the online programs we use; as well as hold office hours for 2 hours per day M-Th. Am I required to do this much for Advisory?   The Advisory decision is site-specific and will be discussed by the principal and Zone Associate Superintendent. Scheduled office hours allow students a time when they know their teacher can respond to their questions, etc. It also helps teachers avoid being “on” all the time.
  • Middle School Grades: As per the CLP, all Middle School students will pass this year. To save teachers work APS SIS will be placing a “P” in Synergy for all middle schoolers.

High School

  • We had a staff meeting today and the PowerPoint we were shown said no new curriculum, assignments/activities are optional and will be graded. However, admin said they will NOT be graded. Are students getting graded on new work we put online? We were told to focus on students that aren't passing. If they complete make-up work, will it be graded and added in as points so we can see if their overall grade is passing or not? I think once teens figure out they aren't getting graded, they will stop trying to complete the activities we put out there. What kinds of work are we expected to put up if we aren't grading them and if students are going to put effort in once they find out work isn't being graded?      You are encouraged to have a holistic view of student progress and knowledge. The unexpected move to distance teaching and learning leaves many teachers and students scrambling to adapt to new instructional methods and expectations. At this time of transition, it may be difficult to accurately identify a student's learning with a level of specificity. We are advising that teachers take a holistic approach to gauging a student's understanding of the essential standards and skills addressed during the semester rather than a more granular view of individual assignments and grades.
  • Does instruction for seniors end May 22 like everyone else or earlier like normal? Does the end date vary based on who is passing or failing? So basically, how long do seniors' teachers need to provide assignments and when will their grades be due? Instruction will end on May 21st. Students who were not passing before the school closure will continue to be required to complete assignments up to May 21st. If lessons are engaging and meaningful, students who were passing will probably stay engaged. It is the hope that parents will help maintain student attendance.
  • APS keeps saying high school classes will be thirty minutes of stuff but they can’t exceed three hours a day as PED says. Thirty minutes of seven classes exceeds three hours. They need to be saying 25 minutes a day per a class....  The CLP needs to be edited and 25 minutes will be the stated time.

Teaching and learning

  • We are being asked to spend 1 hour per week on feedback related to content and 8 hours per week in an advisory / SEL related role. I understand that these times pose particular needs in the SEL realm, but most of us are not trained social workers, counselors, and/or SEL experts. We are also being told that if we are teaching something that gives students a leg up next year over another student, that we are in violation of the CLP.  NO NEW LEARNING! What exactly are we supposed to teach?  In an English class, it's easy.  I can have students read something new and apply new skills.  However, in Social Studies, we're being told we cannot include any new content. If it's in a standard that we haven't covered, we aren't allowed to teach it. How is that doing the students, parents, and society a service? The request in the CLP is to provide assignments that ask students to apply previous learning and deepen understanding which will allow them to use those skills when encountering new concepts. Think: Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Levels 3 & 4.
  • With proper precautions, why can't certified teachers be trusted to properly manage a live, interactive classroom? I think I know why. Liability. It’s not about trust or liability, but about scheduling. If you can schedule, you can do it but be mindful of conflicts within families. We cannot penalize students for not being able to log on, especially when we can’t know the reasons.
  • I was told to not teach 'new material'. The only problem is that most of what I teach is 'new'. Otherwise, I wouldn't be teaching anybody anything. Question: What is considered 'new material' and who is going to be deciding what is 'new material'? The request in the CLP is to provide assignments that ask students to apply previous learning and deepen understanding will allow them to use those skills when encountering new concepts. Think: DOK Levels 3 & 4.


  • Do we take daily attendance? No, however, taking notes on student attendance, as part of progress monitoring will help you know which students need a “check-in”.
  • We have been told that we can record our meetings, as playback for students who cannot join, as long as we let the students know they are being recorded.  Is this correct?
    • As a parent: how do I keep some creep of a parent from recording my daughter during her Google Meets time with her teacher. Students/parents can’t record from their view. When teachers record, a link is sent to participants so that students can revisit the lesson. Turn off the camera if you do not feel comfortable.

General work questions

  • Will my personal days rollover to next year since I was unable to use them?      The contract is still the contract. Page 61 of the APS/ATF Negotiated Agreement states: “One (1) day of leave with pay each year is granted to an employee for personal matters which require the employee’s absence during school hours. This leave may be accumulated up to five (5) day.” Note: accrued personal leave over 5 days rolls over into sick leave.
  • What do we do if we get sick (not Coronavirus)? Can we hold off on video meetings if we are sick? You can use sick leave if you are unable to work. You should call in these absences to SEMS. If you need to reschedule a class you can. A buddy teacher is also recommended in case you need some help adhering to your schedule.
  • Uniformity of work expectations across the district.
    • Are we expected to do report cards at the end of the year? We just completed report cards and P/T conferences.
    • The CLP says "no new teaching", however, my principal has said that we should write progress and feedback on report cards. *See elementary answer
  • Are teachers expected to teach live for the given learning times on the table (ex: 1st grade 45 minutes)? Some schools are saying that their teachers must be live rather than uploading videos or activities. You have flexibility as to the delivery of instruction, but you need to check in with students. There is an important social emotional component to actual interactions.
  • “Pull-out” teachers (Gifted, SPED, etc.) have difficulty scheduling around general education teachers. Schools and educators need to develop protocols for this. There are 5 pages of CLP guidelines for SPED starting on page 24.
  • It was brought to my attention in a librarian meeting that there are many librarians across the district who work Part-Time at one or 2 Schools. Do we have guidance for them about how to spend their work time? If you have questions about coordinating with two principals, reach out to ATF. Library services provides this information: If this aligns with guidance for other half-time/at two schools teachers/other personnel, we would recommend the following for librarians:  Teacher-librarians who are half-time at two schools: *Should work to support both school communities, while making sure not to work beyond their contract day in total.  *Aim to split their time equally but flexibly; this is a difficult situation and flexibility will be needed. *Have their principals encouraged to give them a great deal of understanding as we all work to figure out how to split schedules in a Continuous Learning Model. *Reach out to Library Services for extra support, if needed. Library Services can help with orders, resources, etc. Having two schools is always a challenge and Library Services wants to offer support however it is needed. *Be prepared to make modifications as the weeks go on and we learn how to best provide Continuous Learning while also giving everyone involved flexibility. Teacher-librarians who are half-time at one school: *Should work their contractual hours, in total, but with flexibility if needed. *Determine schedules collaboratively with administrators and fellow teachers, in order to provide support while also giving everyone the flexibility that so many of us need right now. Managing a half-time schedule is always a challenge Library Services wants to offer support however it is needed.  The above can be adjusted to better align with the APS/ATF contract/current arrangements/other role groups. 
  • What is the role of the Teacher Leader Facilitators?  Are they responsible for creating schedules? TLFs are still there to support the teacher learning at their school. They might need to help build in collaboration time in the schedule.
  • Our leadership is requiring us to collaborate weekly? I didn't see that in the CLP.  Is that supposed to occur?  Collaboration is still important, maybe more than ever. The times that grade levels or subject teams collaborate is a site-based decision.
  • We were told yesterday at IC that we are supposed to document 8 hours per week that we are working. No formal documentation is being collected. One other thing to note: pg. 10 of the CLP states," Teachers may find they have to scale back and adjust after the first week."  Page 47 of the APS CLP has at the bottom of the page, “Consider the following: Establish a set schedule and routine for educators The APS Site-Specific Continuous Learning Plan - due from principals, with input from ICs, to Zone Associates April 13- has a place to share a schedule of instruction.
  • I just wanted to tell you that today we found out that our admin team is going to have us do about 60 extra IEPs.  As far as we could tell, we only had about 35 IEPs left to do this year. Our principal told us that the "District" gave her a list of IEPs due next year that they wanted us to do now. This has never been done before. It is actually against the rules. I think that they just want to take this opportunity to exploit us some more. The IEPs that need to be done for the remainder of the year are:                                                                                   
  • Annual IEPs that were scheduled March 12 - March 27 because schools were closed and 1,111 IEPs were scheduled during those 2 weeks.   
  • Annual IEPs that were scheduled for the remainder of the school year April  6-  May 22.                                                                                                                             
  • Any additional IEP that a school or parents request to schedule during the         remainder of the year.
  • Annual IEPs that are due within the first month of school - through September 1,  2020....we usually have the IEPs that are due August and September before school is out because it is extremely difficult for a teacher to know their students well during the first weeks of school....No one is exploiting anyone - we do this every year as standard practice - it is actually better for the student because the teacher that actually knows the student is doing their IEP.  
  • This year - because of the difficulty to schedule IEPs - we are only requiring schools to schedule IEPs that are due in August instead of August and September.  So we (the APS Special Education Administration) are actually trying to help teachers out in this hard situation.
  •  It is not a new procedure - it has been given to head teachers for a number of years and is the expectation.                                                                                           
  • Rules and Rights
  • What are my teacher rights with regards to videotaping my distance learning lessons? I feel extremely uncomfortable with this when it was discussed today at our staff meeting. There was a staff member telling us we had to. Teachers can but are not required to record their lessons.
  • We are told at Bandelier that we may not read books in Google Classroom without emailing each title to the librarian) first.  Can you clarify if this is the expectation per the district? It goes against my understanding of fair usage.  Besides, isn’t it about time to put the kids before the corporations?  Let me know if I have to get the librarian’s permission or not to do read-alouds. You can record yourself reading a book as long as you cite the title, author, illustrator, and publisher.  
  • How many meetings with admin are we supposed to have in a week during this time? This will be site-specific. The first couple of weeks are requiring a lot of collaboration and communication. Going forward, work with ATF on this issue.

Technology and technical support

  • If we maintain a specific Google Meets link for meeting with students, won't students be able to get on and "hang out" with their friends unsupervised at any time? Guidance on how to stop this from happening is on the Ed Tech website and will be going out to principals soon. or look at
  • Can any teacher "choose" not to do any live videos? Yes. But you should use online tools to “check-in” with students and monitor understanding.
  • I have had questions about what to do if teachers don’t have internet access at home. Let your administrator know if you do not have access to internet. You may use your designated time in the classroom to log on to the internet. More information will be coming on this.
  • Why is the district pushing to lend Chromebooks to so many students if they are not going to be graded on future work? Student learning is the goal. 
  • Our home wifi is limited and most likely will not support my children and I online at once all at once. Is there support for this? Do your best to build a flexible schedule.
  • Am I required to complete IEPs for my students using my personal cell phone, because I do not have a home phone? I am not willing to expose my personal cell phone to parents. When I am at school, I use APS phones exclusively to contact parents. What support is available to me as I will most likely need to upgrade my home wifi to support my job and my children's responsibilities for school. My older son's classwork is crucial to his graduation credits and academic standing.    What are my options for getting IEPs done? I am not willing to use my personal cell phone. *67 will block your phone number from caller ID. Use Google Meets to set up a phone call. Using Hangouts, you can make a phone call from your computer. (Go to Ed Tech website)
  • Why aren't there more Ed Tech classes offered through APS? See schedule of trainings here. Webinars/trainings are being recorded for future availability. Email with specific questions.
  • What internet can we use if ours is inadequate or keeps dropping the connections? The city is setting up hot spots many of which are school site ( and staff should have access to the building and their classrooms following the school schedule.
  • If we distance ourselves from others, use masks, etc can we use our portables or classrooms for the APS internet?
    Yes, staff should have access to the building and their classrooms following the school schedule. The CLP does not designate specific school schedule, the school does. The limit is one person at a time in any one place and strict 6ft minimum distancing.
  • The April 3 Joint Memo (4th paragraph) states:  For those of you who don’t have a laptop and/or Internet: APS will disseminate a plan to use the school building in shifts. Specifically, access to phones to call families, computer access, instructional materials, and other work that needs to be done from the room. The plan will include a “do’s and don’ts” list. For example, staff may ONLY enter their own room. They cannot congregate in the lounge or enter any other spaces. Social distancing is an absolute imperative. If an educator needs to access the workroom, there should be only one person in the workroom at a time, and then sanitize any equipment that was used immediately after.
  • Some parents have requested hard copies of tasks similar to the homework assigned before the school closure. Our Administrators have said there no additional access to the school outside of food service and custodial personnel. Teachers have asked for further clarification on this discrepancy. Staff should have access to the building and their classrooms following the school schedule. Materials that are dispersed in hard copy should be essential to learning. Otherwise, using online materials is best practice.


ATF Communications Since School Closures 2020

The following Email Communications can be downloaded at

Principal Survey, New CLP Q & A, Teaching Support, Absentee Ballot April 20, 2020

June Primary, Census Competition, Principal Survey, Termination Notices, PED Panel  April 16, 2020

CLP Q & A, Distance Resources & Support, Principal Survey, & Census 2020 April 13, 2020

Fed Rep of the Year, New AFT Benefit, & More (Members-Only) April 8, 2020

Take the APS/ATF Principal Survey & More April 6, 2020

APS/ATF CLP Info, NM PED Licensure Info, APS Evaluation Guidelines & More April 3, 2020

Spring Break, Evaluations Suspended, Census Day, Your Union's Website  April 1, 2020

VERY IMPORTANT: OPEN TODAY!!!   March 30, 2020

Contract Negotiations Have Begun, Governor's FAQ, & PED Info   March 24, 2020

School Climate Matters! Read the Teacher's Voice. Take the Principal's Survey.  March 23, 2020

Lots of Clarifications and Information   March 20, 2020

APS/ATF Joint Letter on Work Expectations & School Closures     March 19, 2020

Work Expectations, Helping Others, Progress, Reaching Out to Students  March 18, 2020

NM Gets a Shout Out on MSNBC, AFT History Video, APS Educator Stories March 17, 2020

Updates: COVID-19 Information and ways to stay engaged  March 16, 2020

Time on your hands? Nominate Your Fed Rep for Fed Rep of the Year! and more March 16, 2020

DON’T WORRY BE HEALTHY!    March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Information & School Closures  March 12, 2020


Governor: K-12 school closings must continue to prevent potential spread of COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020 | Press Releases

SANTA FE – New Mexico public education will shift to a learn-at-home model as schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state education and child care officials announced Friday.​

The decision is part of a two-pronged plan to protect New Mexicans from COVID-19 and ensure that children are protected, fed and educated and that families are supported through this crisis.

The governor previously ordered all public schools closed for three weeks, March 16-April 3, but warned at the time that an extension could be needed. It came Friday with a new executive order that extends the closing through the end of the school year. The executive order can be found here. See answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the order here.

New Mexico had 136 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, including some that are being investigated as community spread, the state Health Department said. School closings are designed to minimize community spread.

“We’re working very hard to contain the virus, and we have to continue to take aggressive steps to mitigate the spread and protect New Mexicans of every age all across the state. It is more important than ever that we make sure all New Mexicans are heeding the imperative to stay home,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Keeping schools closed is one of the most important tools we have to support the social distancing that can help us reduce and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

“Schools will not be required to make up the missed instructional days between March 16 and April 3, but for the remaining weeks of the school year to be waived, districts must develop both technology-based and non-technology-based continuous learning plans,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said.

“We know that this decision will have tremendous implications for our families, but we must act to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Stewart said. “We also know that we have extraordinary teachers, support staff and school administrators in New Mexico. If the temporary closure period has shown us anything, it’s that our creative educators and school support staff are committed to meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of our students in challenging circumstances.”

High school credits will be awarded based on flexible approaches, including completion of work, demonstration of competency for course completion and expanded equivalency like work experience. The Public Education Department also recommends schools move to pass/no credit rather than grades during this period.

“While it can be difficult to view the current situation with anything beyond anxiety and apprehension, we believe the wide-reaching consequences of this moment present a tremendous opportunity to transform education to serve all students, especially students who have traditionally been furthest from opportunity,” said Deputy Secretary Kara Bobroff.

“The decisions we make today are made with all of our students in mind. During this unprecedented time, we will continue to build into the public education system healing opportunities for students, families, communities and all New Mexicans,” she said.

Public colleges and universities are not included in the closure order, but most have either extended their spring breaks, moved classes online or both.

School-based health centers, educational programming for youth in facilities, and licensed child care facilities (centers and homes) serving workers whose jobs have been deemed essential will continue operating.

The closing plan includes these provisions:

Students with special needs will receive all feasible supports and accommodations that can be delivered while maintaining safe social-distancing. School districts must continue to support the transition of children from early intervention into preschool special education. Schools offering behavioral health services will remain open for that purpose.

Individual districts will design measures by which seniors can demonstrate eligibility for graduation. Those measures could include testing, completing a series of assignments, achieving a set score on a college entrance exam or demonstrating applied work experience. Schools will be required to identify and support students in danger of not being able to graduate.

High school seniors will have until June 19 to demonstrate eligibility, and those who fail to do so will be offered credit recovery in the summer; they can also appeal to their local school board or to the secretary. No student will be denied graduation for lack of access to demonstrate competency.

Actual graduation ceremonies will be postponed or held virtually, depending on the prevailing public health order at the time.

Many high school seniors will have completed a college entrance exam already; additionally, many higher education institutions are expected to waive that requirement, and both the ACT and College Board are considering offering those exams in the summer.

Advanced Placement exams will be offered online and will be limited to material students should have covered up to March. Accommodations will be made for those students who need access to technology to take the tests.

School personnel and contractors will remain on call and continue being paid as usual. Districts have already received guidance on activities employees can continue performing during the closure. Bus contractors are encouraged to continue operating bus routes to deliver food and hard-copy lessons. Special education and other service contractors are encouraged to provide virtual services, collaborate with general education teachers and maintain documentation.

Every New Mexico school district has a plan to continue providing childhood nutrition during this period. You can see those plans here.

The Public Education Department is also seeking permission to distribute Electronic Benefits Transfer cards that would allow qualifying families to purchase meals with their free breakfast/lunch allotment.

With schools closed, some children may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect in their homes. In addition, teachers, school administrators, and other school staff are often the first to notice changes in behavior and appearance that may indicate abuse or neglect. New Mexicans must fill this void and be extra aware of the safety and well-being of children they know and those in their neighborhoods. Any citizen can report suspected child abuse or neglect by dialing #SAFE from their cell phone or by calling 1-855-333-SAFE from a land-line.

The Behavioral Health Division of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department is working with the New Mexico Human Services Department and managed care organizations to help providers and families create digital access to mental health services for children and youth.

Tribes, pueblos, and nations are located in some of the most rural parts of New Mexico and often experience extreme health care provider shortages. The governor and state agencies are collaborating with tribal leaders to support their needs in these times.

These state agencies will continue working with the tribes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Education to support students who attend BIE and tribally run schools: Indian Affairs Department, Public Education Department, Children, Youth and Families Department and Early Childhood Education and Care Department.