PED Secretary Kurt Steinhaus
SANTA FE – A new online course catalog will help the New Mexico Course Consortium expand in the 2022-23 school year after helping 245 students take courses previously unavailable to them this year, including 35 who completed a class online that helped them graduate.
In its inaugural year, the consortium provided online courses ranging from art to space science to 34 elementary school students, 110 middle-school students and 101 high school students in 17 school districts and charter schools.
The New Mexico Course Consortium is a growing, state-led network of public-school districts and charters that serve as supplemental course providers to students across the state through a memorandum of understanding with each student’s district or charter of residence.
“The first year was something of an experiment, and the experiment has been a huge success,” (PED) Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. “The consortium is already expanding horizons for New Mexico students no matter where they are enrolled. This is New Mexico schools helping each other help students get the courses they want and need.”
In its first year, students and families had to search websites operated by each consortium member to find course offerings. The consolidated online course catalog, launched this month, provides one-stop shopping for online or hybrid courses offered by consortium members, including courses for credit recovery, AP, career-technical education, fine arts and more.
“The catalog will make it so much easier for counselors, school leaders and families across the state to look up available courses and get students enrolled,” said Lynn Vasquez, director of the Public Education Department’s Assessment & Learning Management System Division.
The Public Education Department created the consortium last fall to help students across New Mexico access online courses that might not be offered at their school. Students remain enrolled in their home district, which pays a fee ($375 per course, per semester) to the consortium member offering the course.
Bryanna Stephens, a senior at Fort Sumner, took required courses in Financial Literacy, English 4 and Economics and Government through consortium member TriStar Academy this year. She said the flexibility of online learning helped her stay on course to graduation despite working full time.
“Teachers were very understanding and accommodating to that,” Stephans said. “I also had lost the spark to finish graduating. I thought it wasn’t very important and I didn’t need it. But my teachers encouraged me to keep doing it, and now I have my diploma. I felt my teachers understood what I was going through.”
Seventeen districts and charter schools signed memoranda of understanding this year to allow their enrolled students to take online courses from one or more consortium members. The idea is for districts and charter schools to partner rather than compete for student enrollment to offer students supplemental courses.
“It has been an honor to work with these passionate, innovative individuals who see opportunities rather than barriers to educating New Mexico students,” said Gina Corliss, the consortium coordinator at the Public Education Department.
Any district or charter interested in becoming a member of the department’s New Mexico Course Consortium may learn more at New Mexico Course Consortium.
Active consortium members:
- Taos Tiger Connect K-12 Online Academy, Taos Municipal Schools, grades K-12;
- SODA – V, School of Dreams Academy (Los Lunas), grades K-12 and dual credit;
- TriStarAcademy, a consortium of Santa Rosa Consolidated Schools, Fort Sumner Municipal Schools and Vaughn Municipal Schools, grades K-12;
- OWL- Online with Las Cruces Las Cruces Public Schools, grades K-12;
- Pecos Cyber Academy, Carlsbad School District, grades 9-12; and
- TA FLEX, Taos Academy.