Two Portales schools placed on probationary status

By Mike Linn

Two Portales public schools have been placed on probationary status by the New Mexico State Department of Education — while the remaining six met the state’s accountability standards.
The NMSDA placed probationary status labels on both Broad Horizons and Valencia Elementary, which fell from meeting standards last year.
Portales Schools Superintendent Jim Holloway expressed overall pleasure with the ratings for Portales schools and noted that school officials now have a barometer to gauge overall student success.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the number of schools that met standards in the statewide testing,” Holloway said. “It was only when you start looking at various segments of the school that did not meet their yearly growth that we got probationary points.”
Statewide, 78 percent of public schools met or exceeded standards, and about 22 percent of the schools fell into the probationary category.
Valencia and Broad Horizons, an alternative school, are among 81 other schools that fell into probationary status for the first time.
Holloway noted that certain barriers, such as English as a second language, may have affected test scores. A new federal law requires all students to take English-language tests after three years in American public school system.
The stipulation is part of a new law known as the No Child Left Behind Act, and state school officials said they are beginning a three-year phase-in period to account for requirements in the act.
“Education is on the rise in New Mexico and we’ll continue that course until every child reaches proficiency according to state and federal expectations,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis explained in a press release Monday.
But Holloway said it’s hard to pinpoint areas that need improvement, since there are several varying factors that affect scores.
After further study on the testing areas, Holloway said a more specific approach toward improvement can be obtained.
Outside city limits, the Roosevelt County schools met standards, even though schools in the Floyd and Elida district dropped from higher ratings the previous year.