NM Governor Touts Graduation Program at EMHS

Gov. Susana Martinez stopped by East Mountain High School last Thursday to announce the statewide launch of a program designed to help students stay on track to graduate.

The Early Warning Dropout Prevention System started as a pilot program a couple of years ago and East Mountain was one of the first schools to participate, implementing it in 2014.

Under the program, the school utilizes a committee of staff members, which includes East Mountain’s principal Monique Siedschlag, to use weekly grade reports to identify students who are struggling.

Once a student has been identified, the committee looks at factors such as attendance and behavior, and then comes up with strategies for the struggling student such as tutoring or help with homework.

The committee will typically reach out to the family as well, Siedschlag said. “The program has reduced the number of students that we see who are off-track—failing two or more courses—by 12 percent. To us, even one student is significant,” Siedschlag said.

During last Thursday’s visit Martinez, state education secretary Hanna Skandera, and state representative Jim Smith—a former East Mountain teacher—all spoke to a group about the effectiveness of the early warning prevention program.

“It’s a good time to remember what’s important—graduating our kids. It’s super important,” Martinez told the group.

The group included 15 to 20 East Mountain students who have participated in the program. Some of them spoke about how much the program has helped them.

“We are continually refining our strategies and trying to find new ways to help students be successful,” Siedschlag said afterward. “We were honored and excited to have her use our school as a location for this announcement.”