MAS Newsletter | Fall 2021

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Welcome to the Fall Issue of the Mission Achievement Success School newsletter.

MAS students were back to school in person this year, starting on August 2, and despite needing to observe precautions related to Covid, we were glad to have our students back in the classroom.

Prior to the start of the school year, MAS conducted its teacher professional development, starting two weeks before school for 8 hours a day. Not only does the training orient teachers to MAS and focuses on how to help students be successful in the school year, but the training also serves as an opportunity to share school values, goals and help teachers grow professionally. MAS sets high standards for its teachers, staff and students.

What are some of the MAS goals for the 2021/2022 school year?

  • 70 percent proficient or higher on all state assessments for reading and math in grades 3 – 8 and science grades 4 and 8.
  • 90 percent proficient or higher on Istation reading assessment for grades K -2.
  • 95 percent average daily attendance rate for all grade levels.
  • 100 percent daily implementation of SEL curriculum.
MAS teacher orientation also includes establishing norms and expectations including removing distractions, ensuring all voices are heard and taking care of yourself. Teacher professional development doesn’t just end at the beginning of the school year. It is provided throughout the school year through meetings, workshops, assigned readings and other professional development opportunities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that schools need to return to in-person learning for the healthy development and well-being of children. 
Reference: AAP

A Look at the MAS 2021/2022 School Year

  • This year MAS has a total of 141 teachers for our students in PreK through grades 12, an increase of students since last school year.
  • Our commitment to diversity is exemplified in our teachers and staff. This year, we have 66 teachers from different countries including the Philippines, India, Taiwan, and Thailand. We believe this provides our students a broader perspective about their studies and a greater understanding of their own cultures and relating to other people.
  • We continue to offer all support services for students and families. Our students receive three healthy meals a day, socioemotional learning, medical services including dental clinics and immunization clinics, free school uniforms and school supplies, and more.
  • We continue to partner with Roadrunner Food Bank to host an on-campus food bank for families once a month.

The Role of Socioemotional Learning in MAS Student Success

Recent news of student violence in our community is unsettling for all of us as it destroys the lives of young people and their families and makes children feel unsafe in the school environment where they should feel safe. While there are absolutely no guarantees that schools can make to prevent violence, there are a variety of new and different approaches that focus on violence prevention. 

The morning at MAS Charter School is punctuated by a fundamental yet different approach to helping children become successful in life. At 8:20 a.m. each day, 12th-grade math teacher James Boshart leads a mindful moment on the school’s intercom system. This time is for classrooms to become silent. Students are then led in deep breathing exercises and are encouraged to envision their intentions for the day. This is repeated at the end of the third period.
The mindful moment exercises are part of a larger approach to socioemotional learning at MAS. According to the Committee for Children, social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. People with strong social-emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially. From effective problem-solving to self-discipline, from impulse control to emotion management and more, SEL provides a foundation for positive, long-term effects on kids, adults, and communities. Not only do schools and students thrive with an SEL mindset, but workplaces and social benefit as well.
Part of the MAS commitment to socioemotional learning is offering the Choose Love curriculum for all MAS students. Scarlett Lewis founded Choose LoveTM Movement after her son, Jesse, was murdered during the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December 2012At six years old, Jesse, alongside 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators, died. Law enforcement said that Jesse used his final moments to heroically save nine of his friends. (See 
The program, which has reached more than 2 million children in more than 100 countries, focuses on key socioemotional components such as post-traumatic growth, a growth mindset, self-awareness, self-regulation and mindfulness. The curriculum, which varies for each grade level, helps children to learn basic concepts such as listening for others, taking responsibility for their actions, holding each other accountable, setting goals and showing random acts of kindness. After consistently using this curriculum, educators say they see students getting along better, having a more positive attitude, and having increased academic performance.  
A meta-analysis released by Child Development in 2017 found that students from kindergarten to high school significantly benefit from school-based, universal SEL interventions. The study shows that 3.5 years after their last SEL intervention, students fared markedly better academically than their peers in control groups by an average of 13 percentile points, based on eight studies that measured academics. Additionally, researchers saw that conduct problem, emotional distress, and drug use were much lower for students with SEL exposure than those without. 
MAS has been using the SEL curriculum since 2013 and is continuously finding ways to improve the use of these important lessons.
MAS Spotlight

MAS Teacher, Staff, and Student Spotlights

We are pleased to kick off our MAS Featured Teacher, Staff, and Students in our quarterly newsletter, featuring just one of the many committed and talented teachers we have at our school. You can follow along in the weeks ahead through our Facebook page or continue to read the full bios below.

Teacher Spotlight

K. Briscoe
Katie Briscoe was one of the many talented teachers that joined the MAS team during the 2019 – 2020  school year, an incredibly challenging year for both teachers and students.  She currently serves as a kindergarten teacher at our Yale campus.
Katie has taught at MAS for three years now.  She joined MAS because she felt the core values exemplified at the school were aligned with what she was looking for in a school teaching position.
What has been her most rewarding experience so far?  Successfully teaching students how to read fluently.  She says she was thrilled when  the students were so excited to sound like “real readers.”
Katie says she has been very pleased with the growth she has experienced as a teacher during her tenure and she looks forward to adding many more tools to her teacher tool belt. In her personal time, Katie is very committed to her family and loves the outdoors.
Thank you for your continued dedication to our students Katie!     
A. Hedrick
MAS teacher Ali Hedrick is the  Assistant Principal of Old Coors elementary.  She moved here from  Wisconsin this summer and is a self-proclaimed University of Wisconsin  Badger forever fan.
Like Katie, Ali was attracted to MAS because of its core values such as  “no excuses” and the goal of having a post-secondary plan for all kids to attend college, the military, or trade school. 
Ali has especially enjoyed the focus on academic data and student improvement at MAS and is impressed by the growth and improvement she has seen students make in the short time since the start of the school year. She feels her biggest accomplishment so far is making connections with students and helping them to adjust to being back in the classroom after last year’s challenging year due to Covid.
One of Ali’s goals at MAS is to coach teachers in Guided Reading, which will support and grow student proficiency in reading. 
C. Donaghe
Carlton Donaghe brings energy and excitement to his classes and his interactions with students. He started working at MAS in 2013, the second year the school was open.
Carlton started his teaching career on the Mescalero Apache Reservation where he helped open the first high school on the reservation. “I had long hair back in those days and when I visited the reservation I would get mobbed by kids,” he recalls. With professional experience ranging from Jimmy Carter Middle School to CNM, he has found his home at MAS  Charter School. 
This year, Carlton is teaching U.S. History and Government and Economics to juniors and seniors.  He is also an enthusiastic and passionate science teacher, having taught both biology and chemistry.  He remembers that at NMSU he was “killin’ it” in chemistry when his professor approached him and asked about his plans. He said he was a history major  and the professor said, “You need to be a chemistry major!”
When asked what he has liked best about his years at MAS, Carlton identifies two things: “The fact that I have been able to write my own curriculum and THE KIDS. I am behind these kids 100%. I come from the same background as these kids. I was on my own by the time I was a  junior in high school.” 
Students in his classes are fired up by the classroom discussions and they are developing an important understanding of American history and government that will serve them throughout their lives.
Thanks for your passion for teaching Carlton!     
R. D.L.Paz
Robert De La Paz is one of a  group of teachers who came to MAS from the Philippines, saying he was attracted to MAS because he is passionate about training students for life, not just academics. He serves as a 3rd-grade science teacher at the Yale campus.
He has especially enjoyed the teacher professional development relating to classroom management at MAS, and the administrative support he receives as a teacher.  Robert’s most memorable experience so far at MAS  has been in the last week of the school year when one of his more challenging students asked if Robert could also be his teacher in the next school year. 
Robert is using his lessons learned at MAS and sharing them as part of a  shared education program for Filipino teachers. New Mexico seems to be the perfect place for Robert to be given he says he loves spicy food,  and the spicier the better!                   

Staff Spotlight

M. Murphy
Marty Murphy is the Purchasing and Facilities Manager at MAS, after having started at MAS in 2020 when he was given the opportunity to be a 7th-grade math teacher.   Marty has an important job at MAS, helping to ensure that teachers and students have all the supplies they need to be successful, making sure our facilities are in excellent condition and helping to manage the construction of a new Coors campus, scheduled to open in 2022.
Marty says he enjoys the culture that MAS has established through its mission and values.  He loves the constructive feedback he receives from his colleagues because he believes in professional growth and learning.  Marty believes the experience he has gained from these values and expectations helps promote the learning and safety of students, teachers, parents, colleagues, and other stakeholders that are part of the MAS community.
Focusing on building rapport between students and his colleagues has been a priority for Marty since he started at MAS and he is committed to his goal of being a good role model for students and showing them his  100 percent work ethic. 
Marty loves his family (his children attend MAS) and his interests are church, family, and friends.  Thank you for your ongoing commitment,  Marty!         

Student Spotlight

1th-grade student Elani Villanueva started at MAS in 6th  grade and has loved her experience at school.  Elani believes that her  MAS teachers are invested in her future and are caring and supportive of her efforts.  For example, one of her MAS teachers helps proofread her papers for a CNM course!
Elani loves reading and is proud of the reading level success that she has accomplished since attending MAS.  “The Outsiders,” authored by S.E.  Hinton in 1968, tells the story of teenagers struggling with class issues, romance, and more and is one of her favorite books.
Elani’s goal is to complete her college basics in Albuquerque and then transfer out of state to focus on studies in psychology.  We are proud of you Elani and committed to your future success!           
C. Hoagstrom
Cassidy Hoagstrom, a 4th  grader at MAS, has a dream of being a doctor or school nurse when she grows up, and her success so far at MAS has her on the right path!   Cassidy started at MAS in kindergarten after her mother discovered the school on the Internet.
Cassidy does not yet have a favorite class but has enjoyed Physical  Education and the Wit and Wisdom classes. She also loves writing and is already reading at a 7th-grade level as a 4th grader! 
Cassidy says her MAS teachers have been nice but also sometimes strict,  but says they are all “awesome.”  “MAS is open to all different races so  I can be friends with everyone,” she said. Cassidy loves to sing and play the piano and has a recital coming up this month!  Keep working hard on achieving your dreams, Cassidy!

Other MAS News

MAS, JoAnn Mitchell
MAS Founder and CEO JoAnn Mitchell was featured in the September 26, 2021, edition of the Albuquerque Journal after speaking to the Economic FORUM of Albuquerque, an organization of business leaders dedicated to the continued improvement of the regional economy. She took the opportunity to describe her founding philosophy behind offering quality education at MAS, the MAS school successes and some of the ongoing challenges she experiences as a charter school administrator.

Check out the article at

Photo credit: Roberto E. Rosales/Journal

MAS Wish List

MAS Charter School occasionally has needs for outside contributions to help us serve our students. We still need resources for new teachers who have moved here from other locations, including international J1 Visa teachers. Some of our teachers are not only new to MAS, but they are also new to our community and country. We have various needs for these teachers including a used vehicle for transportation to and from school, furniture and other household supplies
Can you make a donation or know of a community partner that can help?  Let us know by contacting us at 505-242-3118.