Portales headed back to school

Tony Parra

Students shuffled into the Portales High School cafeteria Thursday to pick up their schedules for the 2003-04 school year.
For freshmen, it included an orientation segment by Student Council advisor Dale Jones.
Jones encouraged students to get involved in several of the school activities. He went over a quick summary of organizations such as the Spanish Club, rodeo team, Future Farmers of America and the speech debate team.
“I’m excited about the different students that we have and the new class that I’m going to be teaching this year,” said Jones, who doubles as a mass communications teacher. “I’m going to be teaching mass media. It’ll will be a small class newspaper, and we’ll study different types of things like television and radio media. It gives students more options.”
School begins Monday for all Portales public schools except Broad Horizons, which begins Tuesday.
“I’m excited,” PHS Student Council vice president Russell Knudson said. “Our Student Council is open to anyone that wants to join. I wasn’t involved in Student Council as much when I was a sophomore or junior. I wish I would have.”
PHS adopted a new attendance procedure in which there will be different punishment levels for being tardy or absent in a nine-week time frame. The first level of punishment is lunch detention, followed by in-school suspension.
The previous attendance procedure allowed students to choose from in-school suspension or suspension on a Saturday. It was also on a full-semester time frame.
“We have tougher procedures in place to ensure students are prompt,” PHS interim principal Melvin Nusser said. “We believe that we can develop productive thinkers and that being on time leads to better learning skills. Whatever it takes to deter tardiness.”
Broad Horizons has a four-day school week from Tuesday to Friday. Last year, the four-day school week was from Monday to Thursday.
“We changed it from last year because a lot of the holidays fell on a Monday,” Portales Superintendent of Schools James E. Holloway said. “We did it so that the students didn’t miss that many days and to avoid three-day school weeks.”
The Portales Junior High renovation is still underway with unfinished work with touch-ups to the vocational and fine arts building. The major improvement to the junior high is the new Kenneth Livingston Gymnasium. The renovations are expected to be completed by Oct. 1, according to Holloway.
Students will continue to use the old gymnasium until the new one is built. They will use both the old gymnasium and the Kenneth Livingston Gymnasium after the Livingston Gym is completed.
James Elementary is also being renovated with new ceiling tiles and the completion of a new roof.
Elida finished its first week of school Friday.
“Everything went smoothly,” second-year Principal Donna Tivis said. “We have veteran teachers who made sure that everything ran well.”
Dora schools began registration and classes on Thursday under the direction of Principal Bill Stockton while Floyd High used Thursday for registering students and Friday was its first day of classes.
“We are trying to stress to students to take more responsibilities for their academic success,” Floyd High School Principal Chris Duncan said.
Duncan has taught for 25 years at Floyd and served as the principal for the last two years.
Faith Triumphant begins its school year on Sept. 2 under its new name. The school was previously named Faith Temple and it is the only Christian school in Portales after the closing of the New Mexico Christian Academy.