Educators FAQ

  • What legislation governs the IDEAL-NM program?
  • Is IDEAL-NM a school?

    No. IDEAL-NM provides online courses to students in partnership with New Mexico schools. IDEAL-NM does not award credit for courses. The enrolling (partner) school awards credit for courses completed through IDEAL-NM.

  • What is the cost of enrolling in an IDEAL-NM online course?

    IDEAL-NM charges schools course enrollment fees. These fees cover the cost the eTeacher/instruction for the course. Most IDEAL-NM courses are textbook independent (with the exception of some AP courses and English Language Arts courses), so the school/district will not incur any costs related to textbooks. An enrollment fee schedule can be accessed on the resources page.

  • Can a school/district pass the cost of the online course on to the student?

    During the summer and regular school year, schools may pass the cost of the online course to the student/parent in the following cases:

    • Students enrolled in credit recovery courses (except for indigent students).
    • Students enrolled in enrichment courses (i.e. advanced placement, honors, dual credit) unless student is taking the enrichment course to fulfill the graduation requirement of taking an online, dual credit, advanced placement, or honors course.
    • Students enrolled in courses taken above and beyond a regular student schedule (i.e. taking extra courses to graduate on time or ahead of time).
    • Students enrolled in preferred electives not offered at the school.
    • Students enrolled in courses due to scheduling conflicts outside of school (i.e. employment or extracurricular activities).

    During the summer and regular school year, schools may not pass the cost of the online course to the student/parent in the following cases:

    • Students enrolled in online courses because the school does not offer the course for whatever reason.
    • Students who are indigent.
    • Students enrolled in online courses that are core requirements for graduation that are part of the students' regular schedules.
  • Does IDEAL-NM offer credit recovery courses?

    Any core IDEAL-NM course may be taken for credit recovery. School site coordinators should let the IDEAL-NM student services coordinator know if a student is trying to recover credit so that the eTeacher may be notified to provide more direct instruction.

  • Does IDEAL-NM offer online dual credit courses?


  • Does IDEAL-NM offer Advanced Placement courses?

    Yes. IDEAL-NM offers College Board approved Advanced Placement courses. Please visit to access a list of courses and to download a printable catalog.

  • Do the courses have textbooks?

    With the exception of some Advanced Placement and English Language Arts courses, IDEAL-NM courses do not require textbooks.

  • Who teaches the IDEAL-NM courses?

    IDEAL-NM courses are taught by licensed New Mexico teachers with endorsements in the content areas they teach. While some of our teachers reside in other states, most live in New Mexico and are teaching full time in a local school.

  • How are the courses structured?

    IDEAL-NM courses are asynchronous—students and teachers access the courses at different times. The courses are delivered via the learning management system (LMS) and are designed to be interactive and engaging.

  • How do students and teachers interact?

    Through various communication tools within the learning management system (i.e., discussion board, messaging, and chat) students interact with each other and their teacher on an ongoing basis. Courses have web conferencing capability, which enables live interaction between teachers and students for individual and group instruction or for parent/student/teacher conferences.

  • How long are the courses?

    Each course includes a pacing guide that can be adjusted for different completion time frames to accommodate traditional and block schedules and to allow students to individually determine pace. However, all courses must be completed within an 18-week time period.

  • How many courses should I enroll a student in?

    Typically students enroll in one or two IDEAL-NM courses that are part of their regular school schedules. The school site coordinator determines student enrollment (academic level, number of courses, and pace). However, we do not recommend that students who are new to online learning take more than one course the first time and no more than two courses at a time thereafter.

  • Have IDEAL-NM online courses been approved for NCAA eligibility?

    After a review from NCAA, NCAA determined that IDEAL-NM courses are not eligible for NCAA approval. IDEAL-NM does not meet the Student-Teacher Interaction, according to their criteria.

    While IDEAL-NM courses do not meet NCAA’s criteria for student to teacher interaction, students interested in taking an IDEAL-NM course may still do so and be eligible to play college sports based on other courses taken through their local district. When considering which IDEAL-NM courses to take, talk to your counselor to be sure that the core courses for NCAA are addressed with courses you have taken at your local school site.

  • How do students enroll in IDEAL-NM courses?

    Public and charter school students must enroll through their local schools. The enrolling school provides the space, technology and support and awards credit for courses. IDEAL-NM provides the online course taught by a licensed New Mexico teacher and support services to ensure students are successful in the online environment.

  • How do homeschool students enroll in IDEAL-NM courses?

    Homeschool students have two options for enrolling in IDEAL-NM courses:

    1. Students may enroll directly through IDEAL-NM and pay the course enrollment fees directly to IDEAL-NM. IDEAL-NM is not a school and as such, cannot award credit for courses completed. If credit for courses is desired, a home school student must enroll through a local school.
    2. Students may enroll through a local school and pay the course enrollment fees to the school. If a home school student is enrolled at least half-time (per enrolling school’s policy), the school may cover the enrollment fees. If enrolled full time per enrolling school’s policy, the home school student becomes a public school student and as such must take the required New Mexico Standards-Based Assessment (NMSBA). Other local school and district policies may apply.

    Home school course fees:

    $250 per enrollment (.5 credit/semester course) for general education courses

    $300 per enrollment (.5 credit/semester course) for Advanced Placement courses

    Parents and students are advised that IDEAL-NM courses are taught by licensed New Mexico teachers. IDEAL-NM eLearning courses are rigorous, and meet or exceed state content standards with benchmarks and performance standards.

    Home school students are also advised not to postpone course assignments and fall behind in their classes. Courses must be completed on time; extensions are rarely granted. Home school students are monitored by the IDEAL-NM student services coordinator.

  • How can nonpublic schools gain access to IDEAL-NM courses?

    As per the requirements of statute, students enrolled in nonpublic schools may participate in the distance learning courses offered by IDEAL-NM if the school in which the student is enrolled enters into a contract with the school district in which the nonpublic school is located.

    The Distance Learning Rule does not stipulate the form or contents of the contract. To facilitate timely access to needed coursework, nonpublic schools may register students directly with IDEAL-NM by indicating that a contract is in process, and to whom the course fee invoice should be sent.

  • How is student progress monitored?

    The school site coordinator has access to the student information and learning management systems. It is the site coordinator’s responsibility to monitor student progress within these systems using the tools that are available. Additionally, teachers send academic watch reports weekly for students not logging in regularyly or for those earning below a 60% in a course. The student success coordinator phones parents and site coordinators if a student does not make progress after three academic watch reports have been sent.

  • How is student progress reported to schools?

    Site coordinators and learning coaches have access to the student information and learning management systems. Within these systems, tools are available for tracking and monitoring student progress.

  • How are grades reported to schools?

    Site coordinators and learning coaches have access to student grades in the learning management and student information systems. They also have the ability to access and print out student transcripts. IDEAL-NM provides a percentage grade and it is the enrolling school’s responsibility to translate the percentage grade into a letter grade per district policy and to record grades on students’ transcripts.

  • How should schools report IDEAL-NM distance learning classes in STARS since they are taught by teachers who are not employees of the district?

    Report the Staff ID in the Course Instructor template for distance learning teachers as 888888888 (Distance learning including Internet based classes). Do not submit these records in the Staff and Staff Snapshot templates.

  • Will the distance education teacher code 88888888 flag our school as not complying with the HQT portion of NCLB?

    No, teacher code 88888888 is not included in the HQT reporting formula.

    The above information is adapted from the STARS manual published on NMPED's website. Search for STARS in the A-Z Directory then look for the manual or search for STARS MANUAL.

  • Can students with disabilities or limitations take IDEAL-NM courses?

    Yes. School site coordinators are responsible for notifying IDEAL-NM of students with disabilities or limitations. This identification occurs when the site coordinator creates a student account in the student information system and marks the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) block on the registration form. Additionally, site coordinators are responsible for submitting IEP accommodations to the student services coordinator. IDEAL-NM eTeachers make the necessary accommodations in accordance with students’ IEPs/504s and in collaboration with the onsite school staff.

  • Are IDEAL-NM teachers evaluated using the NMTEACH evaluation plan?

    The NMTEACH Observation Rubric has been adapted to address the online learning environment. The NMTEACH Online Teacher Rubric is used to observe IDEAL-NM teachers. Teachers are not entered into the NMTEACH database, nor are formalized multiple measures included in IDEAL-NM eTeacher evaluations. Student surveys have always been a practice at IDEAL-NM, and the feedback from these surveys is given directly to eTeachers as are the formal observation results for Domains 1, 2, 3, and 4.

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