“Extended School Year” Becomes Extended Days


Noah Shandler, Author

There has been a lot of talk about the extended school year bill passed in the New Mexico 2023 legislative session. How will it impact Santa Fe High? Don’t worry, Principal Vincent said: There won’t be any drastic changes.

“The new schedule will be very similar to this year’s block schedule,” Mr. Vincent said.

Mr. Vincent says he disagreed with House Bill 130, which requires that the schools in New Mexico add up to 60 hours to meet the 1,140 minimum hours to the school year. “I didn’t feel the new school year should be longer than it is now,” he said.

According to the bill summary, schools have to add up to 60 hours, but they have some choices in how those hours are used. The bill recommends the hours be used are for “enrichment programs that focus on problem-solving and cognitive skills development; content that provides technical knowledge, skills, and competency-based applied learning; research- or evidence-based social, emotional, or academic interventions; and instruction that occurs at the same time breakfast is served or consumed in accordance with the breakfast after the bell program or federal requirements.” In secondary school, up to 30 hours may be used for “professional work.” 

You may ask, how this will affect Santa Fe High? According to KRQE, in an April 11 article, the high school calendar will include 176 days of instruction and begin on August 15…. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 23. School will start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 4:05 pm. 

To “find” more of those required minutes within the existing number of days, passing periods will be reduced from eight to six minutes, and the lunch period will be reduced from 40 to 35  minutes. 

Another change to come next year is the reinstatement of the advisory period (44 minutes on Wednesdays). Mr. Vincent said, “We hope to take care of things we weren’t able to do this year.” 

Digital Learning Coach Kate Gomez stated the purpose of advisory is to have a homeroom class where students can have a teacher check up on and support them. Also, things like registration can get done in this period instead of during precious class time. And, students can also get work done.

Another change is that students will be able to take classes at ECO, and ECO students will be able to take classes at Santa Fe High. To allow for that, the schedule had to be aligned with ECO’s schedule. (Capital High also has the same schedule.)

Two students are launching a movement against the new schedule: Reina Duran and Josh Almeida. Both students may be found in VA-102 during first period.