The following are longstanding initiatives, which have received grant support from the Foundation. Each major initiative is generally described and regular updates are provided below.
Joe Harvey Boulevard:
Landscaping on Joe Harvey Boulevard
Like many communities with significant economic dependence upon oil and gas production, the local economy has, over time, experienced dramatic cyclical swings. This volatility impacts local employment and the overall well being of the community. For some time, community leaders have expressed a desire to find ways to diversify the local economy to provide a more stable economic base.
Countless economic studies related to the immediate region have concluded that improving livability within the community is an essential prerequisite to meaningful economic diversification. These studies show that in order to attract/retain businesses and the skilled labor they require, the community must be perceived as a desirable place to live for people with diverse lifestyles, cultures, and interests. These studies focused primarily upon two dimensions of perceived livability for which considerable public leadership, planning, and financial investment are required to achieve. First, the community needs to address its physical appearance. Second, there is significant need to provide a variety of engaging recreational/cultural facilities and programs to promote quality of life within the community.
Hobbs residents were surveyed in 2002 to ascertain local interest in making beautification improvements and in developing recreational/cultural facilities and programs. Over 98% of the people surveyed said they believed the City of Hobbs’ image required improvement and over 84% indicated that they wanted to see the City develop major recreational/cultural facilities and/or programs. Given the observations and recommendations of several economic studies and the results of this survey, the Hobbs City Commission decided to initiate an ambitious program focused on improving the appearance of strategic corridors within the City.
In 2005, the Foundation approved a matching grant for up to $15 million to the City of Hobbs, which required the City to provide matching funds of at least $5 million toward the beautification project. The City’s beautification project included planned improvements to three strategic corridors. These corridors include the downtown area, Lovington Highway, and Joe Harvey Boulevard. Above are conceptual illustrations of improvements contemplated to each of these corridors and how the areas look after renovation.
The Hobbs Municipal School District (HMS) requested a grant from the Foundation for $250,000 to explore elementary curriculum initiatives in 1999. HMS was interested in pursuing meaningful education reform at the elementary level, which would prepare students for rigorous Advanced Placement secondary courses. HMS selected a research-based curriculum, the Core Knowledge curricum, which had achieved significant outcomes in many elementary schools across the nation.
Subsequent to defining its interest in Core Knowledge, HMS requested a grant for $1.5 million to help fund multi-year implementation of the curriculum in all 12 of its elementary schools. This grant was awarded in 2001.
In the elementary grades, the Core Knowledge curriculum has been fully implemented throughout all 12 elementary schools, providing a uniform sequence of curriculum at each grade level that is consistent from one grade to the next. HMS began implementing the Core Knowledge curriculum in grades Kindergarten through sixth in 2000, and fully implemented the curriculum by 2003.
Since the Core Knowledge curriculum has been implemented, HMS has seen various successes. They have had 9 of 12 elementary schools designated by the National Core Knowledge Foundation as Official Core Knowledge Schools. The Core Knowledge Foundation has also designated 6 of the 9 Official schools as Official Core Knowledge School Visitation Sites.
Three of the HMS schools designated as Official Core Knowledge Schools, Edison, Southern Heights, and Taylor Elementary, have also been designated as Schools on the Rise by the State of New Mexico. Schools who receive this designation have met Adequate Yearly Progress standards for two years in a row after once being designated by the state as schools that need improvement.
The following HMS schools have received the designation as Official Core Knowledge Schools:
+ Official Core Knowledge Visitation School
For more information about the Core Knowledge program at HMS, please visit the HMS website at the following link: http://www.hobbsschools.net/department/core_knowledge_/
The Hobbs Municipal School District (HMS) made a funding request for $5.3 million to the Foundation in 1998 to implement an ambitious secondary curriculum-based initiative based upon the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program. The proposal envisioned the creation of a secondary curriculum with Pre-AP and AP courses in all four major disciplines (math, science, language arts, and social studies) beginning in grade seven through the twelfth grade. HMS contemplated an overwhelming majority of secondary students participating in the program.
HMS’ plan involved considerable teacher training within the context of specific course content and at the level of AP instruction, the establishment of vertical teams (involving teachers within given disciplines in grades 7 through 12) to align the curriculum with AP standards, incremental pay for participating teachers, and financial rewards for teachers and students for successful AP testing outcomes.
At the secondary level (grades 7-12), Pre-AP courses are available to junior high students and Pre-AP and AP courses are available to high school students. The Foundation has provided funding for both the Pre-AP and AP programs within HMS. The Pre-AP and AP courses are designed to offer students the opportunity for achieving an enhanced level of knowledge in various subject areas. HMS combines these programs with a unique financial incentive package for teachers and students.
Currently, approximately 56% of all HMS students in grades 7 through 12 are enrolled in either Pre-AP or AP classes. In the school year preceding implementation of the Pre-AP and AP incentives program offerings (1999-2000), Pre-AP courses were not available, and only 10% of high school students enrolled in AP courses. Research shows that students who take AP courses and AP exams graduate from college at much higher rates than non-AP students. HMS strives for high participation in AP courses while maintaining a high-quality program.
After completing AP courses, students take exams administered by the College Board and may be eligible to earn college credit for acceptable exam results. AP exam scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible. A student who scores a 3 or higher is considered by the College Board to have obtained a college level of competency in the subject area.
For more information about the HMS AP program, please visit the HMS website at the following link: http://www.hobbsschools.net/department/hms_advanced_placement