The Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science at University of New Mexico (AIMS@UNM), a charter school affiliated with the university, will accommodate expanded enrollment in additional classrooms at its current location on UNM’s South Campus, university officials announced.
UNM has set aside five classrooms for a total of almost 4,000 square feet of instructional space to ensure AIMS can keep its commitment to parents and students who are signed up for the 2014-15 school year.
“With the start of fall classes less than two months away, we felt it was time for us to make a firm commitment about the facilities we could offer,” President Robert G. Frank said. “It’s important for their students and ours.”
AIMS has received a waiver from the State of New Mexico Public Education Department allowing it to expand outside of the Albuquerque Public Schools district, the home of its original charter. Most charter schools are “district charters,” which means they operate within certain school district boundaries. However, the Rio Rancho Public Schools has opposed the move into its district and has challenged the legality of it in District Court.
“We remain interested in charting a course for establishing our presence on the west side of the metro area once the legal actions are resolved,” AIMS Principal Kathy Sandoval-Snider said. “But it does not make good educational sense to move students around during the school year. We needed to make a determination where we could locate so these families could make plans.”
Affiliated with UNM since 2007, AIMS@UNM is a highly successful charter school currently located on UNM's South Campus. AIMS features a rigorous curriculum in math and science, and extensive dual credit enrollment for its juniors and seniors. Students at AIMS@UNM enroll concurrently at UNM during their junior year, and begin working on their college education while earning their high school diploma.
Last year U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized AIMS@UNM as one of 12 charter schools nationwide as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2013 based on its overall excellence and or progress in improving student academic achievement.
The UNM Board of Regents voted to approve the expansion in March 2014.