IDEAL-NM Leveraging Technology to Promote Equity, Access & Opportunity


Equity Picture:

The New Mexico Public Education Department’s Innovative Digital Education and Learning New Mexico (IDEAL-NM) program is entering its sixth year offering a statewide supplemental virtual school in partnership with NM schools and districts. Over 70 public and 30 charter schools have participated and the program has maintained a pass rate of 85% and 7,636 course completions.  Experience has shown that strong site support models are critical to student success in the IDEAL-NM environment.  While IDEAL-NM provides the online courses taught by licensed New Mexico teachers, the enrolling school provides the space, technology and support including a site coordinator and/or learning coach who monitors and supports students at the school site.

Expanding Options:  Through the IDEAL-NM, NM students are not limited to the educational offerings of their local schools.  This has been significant for NM’s small and rural schools.  After losing a science teacher this past spring semester, Eunice High School was able to provide science courses to students using IDEAL-NM online curriculum and teachers.  This was a great success with close to 60 course completions and there are many more success stories like this one to tell.

Not Just For Rural Schools: IDEAL-NM has also been a strong partner to NM’s largest school districts.  Albuquerque Public Schools has had close to 600 course completions and Las Cruces Public Schools close to 500 course completions, both with exceptionally high pass rates.

IDEAL-NM Courses: Students now have access to over 126 semester-long online courses including core high school and middle school courses, Advanced Placement, credit recovery, honors, and many electives.  These courses are asynchronous and students may access their coursework wherever they have Internet access.  The courses are rigorous, interactive, engaging and aligned with standards (i.e., New Mexico Content Standards, State Common Core Standards, and iNACOL quality standards).

What makes this program different from other full-time online providers?  Funded through annual legislative special appropriations, IDEAL-NM works in partnership with schools versus in competition.  Within a statewide teacher-sharing structure, IDEAL-NM charges enrollment fees that cover the cost of instruction provided by the licensed NM IDEAL-NM teacher.  All other services provided by IDEAL-NM come at no cost to partner schools.  These fees are significantly lower than most for-profit online course providers.

Building Capacity:  In the past two years the program has focused on supporting schools in the meaningful integration of technology and the implementation of online and blended learning programs.  This has proven to be a great success with Las Cruces Public Schools (second largest school district in the state of NM) taking a leadership role in the state.  IDEAL-NM provides (at no cost) access to the statewide Learning Management System, which serves as a platform for the delivery of online courses and programs.

New Mexico Teachers Taking a Leadership Role: Close to 300 teachers have been trained as online teachers statewide and many have taken leadership roles in their schools in the implementation of online and blending learning programs. This school year, IDEAL-NM will ramp up its training this year to include blended learning instruction and models.

Leadership for the 21st Century:  IDEAL-NM in partnership with Innovate Educate New Mexico will be offering a training for New Mexico leaders on Educational Leadership for the 21st Century through a grant from Intel Teach.

Also Supporting State Agencies:  IDEAL-NM also supports New Mexico state agencies in online training and professional development for state employees.  The Human Services Department (HSD), State Personnel Office (SPO) and Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) have taken on a leadership role.  This past fiscal year, all state employees were required to complete a Civil Rights training online through the State Personnel Office and will be required to take an online Ethics training this fiscal year.  These courses were developed and delivered within the State Personnel Office web portal. Thus state employees were able to complete the training from their desktops, saving the state significant travel costs.

Kudos to the IDEAL-NM team and partners for the innovative work you are doing to provide equity, access and opportunity to all NM K-12 learners!!!

If you are an IDEAL-NM student, teacher, partner or advocate and want to voice your support for IDEAL-NM, please comment on this blog with your personal testimonials!

Do you want to learn more about what’s happening with K-12 online learning at the national level?  Visit:  Also visit: to read about the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning.

IDEAL-NM Vision: 

We envision robust educational options for students in New Mexico that ensure all students have access to the full continuum of student-centric online and blended learning opportunities regardless of zip code or socio-economic status. Further, we envision that:

  • All public and charter schools are positioned to offer personalized learning opportunities to students through the entire continuum of student-centric online and blended learning (i.e. traditional, online, and blended learning).
  • As digital learners, students have options for creating personalized and meaningful learning experiences inside and outside of the physical classroom and school day/structure.
  • All teachers embrace a student-centric vision of education, are proficient in 21st century teaching and are able to leverage technology to support 21st century learning for students.
  • All school leaders understand the importance of digital education and inspire the technology innovations necessary to that modernize our education system and support personalized learning for students.  Source: