It’s back to school for Portales

By Tony Parra

No more swim trunks, no more waking up at noon, no more relaxation from studying for a test. It’s back to school.
Portales schools will have their house openings on Thursday, allowing parents to visit with teachers and administrators and take tours of the classrooms.
Evelyn Ledbetter worked a fruit and vegetable stand with her daughter, Alex, who was bagging corn on Monday at the Portales Farmer’s Market. Ledbetter said the summer job taught her daughter about a work ethic, but now it’s time for Alex to go to Valencia Elementary.
“We’ve been busy selling at the market,” Ledbetter said. “She’s ready to go back to school and see her friends. (My eighth-grade son) Spencer has been looking forward to playing football. We’re looking forward to getting back into the routine.”
Ledbetter will get an opportunity to meet Alex’s teachers and new principal Todd Morris on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Valencia Elementary is the only Portales school which will have an open house after 5 p.m.
“This gives parents the opportunity to meet their kids’ teachers after 5 p.m.,” Morris said. “It helps accommodate their (parents) schedule by having the open house after work hours.”
Morris was the Lindsey Middle School principal last year. He said he was working with a staff of about 20 people last year, but this year will be working with a staff of about 40. Valencia Elementary has fourth and fifth graders while Lindsey Middle School has only sixth graders.
“The experience has been great,” Morris said about the change to Valencia Elementary. “I think I have an advantage because I know what the teachers at Lindsey expect the students to know.”
Morris said at the open house he will give an introduction, followed by students and parents meeting with their teachers.
Kyle Wagner will be making the transformation from junior high to high school when classes begin this fall. Classes for most Portales schools begin on Friday.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Wagner said. “I wish classes would start on Monday instead of Friday. You go one day then the weekend starts. I would rather start out with a full week.”
New student registration for Portales schools students continues from Tuesday to Thursday. New students to the district need to bring birth certificates, immunization records and social security numbers if possible.
Faith Triumphant Christian School is about to embark on another school year and its students will experience something different than four walls and a desk. Students will not have math, English, or history classes on Fridays — in their places are music, arts, drama and film classes. Faith Triumphant principal Todd Terry said they will continue to have math, English, history and other classes from Monday through Thursday.
“One thing it’s going to do is give them (students) a more hands-on approach,” Terry said. “They are going to be more interactive classes. Students will get to leave the classroom to work with cameras. They’ll work with lighting, editing and get a chance to make a documentary.”
Terry said the students are raising money for purchasing filming equipment.
A couple of events are already going on in preparation for the new school year. Special Students Services is having a screening process from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Brown Early Childhood Center at 520 West Fifth. The screening is for kids from the ages of newborn to four.
“We screen them to make sure they don’t have any sight or learning problems,” Twila Herrington of the special student services department said. “We have bilingual people to assist parents.”
Another event is a school supply drive which is being held at the First Financial Credit Union at the Portales branch. People can donate school supplies and then the donators can grab out of a grab bag, such as movie tickets, fast food coupons and even a DVD player.
Supplies will be donated to Roosevelt County schools and can be donated until Aug. 31. People can also make donations to a school supplies fund held at First Financial Credit Union.