New Mexico declares Carlsbad High as ‘Innovation Zone’ school
New Mexico’s Public Education Department (PED) has identified Carlsbad High School as one of 47 schools that are state “Innovation Zones.” The 47 schools will share $11.4 million in funding to further their ongoing efforts surrounding workplace learning, career and technical education and a range of support services.
Innovation Zone schools will not only receive “intensive professional development, guidance and technical assistance,” per a statement, but also awards to “integrate leadership teams and work-based and experiential learning.” Most schools will receive $200,000, funding that was part of the 2023 General Appropriations Bill to support Career and Technical Education initiatives.
Education Secretary Arsenio Romero said, “Our goal is to identify best practices that can spread across the state over time to improve graduation rates by making high school more relevant and exciting to students on the cusp of adulthood.” He also shared his excitement that the Innovation Zones expand educational pathways to college and careers.
The Innovation Zone 2023-2024 awardees will collaborate with their communities to determine how the school can best serve its local community. As part of the process, each school will create or refine a local Profile of a Graduate, which is a document that states the community’s expectations for those earning high school diplomas.
A report by PED and Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation gave birth to the Innovation Zone pilot project back in February 2022, by championing statewide efforts to improve “the high school experience and provide better college and career preparation,” per a statement from the PED.
One example of how Carlsbad High School’s Energy and Natural Resources Pathway—which is housed in its on-campus STEM & Industrial Science Academy—is already helping youth achieve workplace readiness, can be seen here.