School board optimistic on AYP

By Tony Parra

Portales School District administrators are optimistic they’ll have better adequate yearly progress results than last year, when none of the schools in the district met AYP.
The results will be released Aug. 1.
Priscilla Mestas, director of instruction and assistant superintendent, said during a school board meeting the district has already met two of the three AYP requirements. All of the schools tested — Brown Early Childhood Center, James Elementary, Lindsey Elementary, Steiner Elementary, Valencia Elementary and Portales Junior High — met the attendance requirement. Each of the schools had an attendance rate of 94.41 percent or higher and the requirement was 92 percent. High schools are not measured in the attendance category.
The district also met the graduation rate requirement with a district graduation rate of 91.52 percent — the requirement is 75 percent or higher.
Last year the district also met both of those requirements with an attendance rate of 96.38 and a graduation rate of 86.8 percent. However, it was test scores that caused the district not to meet AYP.
The graduation rate for Portales High School for 2004-05 was 94.44 percent and in 2003-04 was 86.78 percent. The graduation rate for Broad Horizons Educational Center was 71.43 percent in 2004-05, down from 86.96 last year.
“We offered summer school and extended schooling for seniors,” Mestas said about the higher PHS graduation rate. “It gave them (a better) opportunity to graduate.”
Thursday’s school board meeting marked the first for new superintendent Randy Fowler. Fowler started his new position on July 5.
“People have been so very kind to me since I started last week,” Fowler said. “Some of my best years were here, my younger years. We have a good staff and we’ve always had a good staff. I’m looking forward to working with the school board.”
Fowler was a field service agent for the Region 18 Education Services Center in Midland, Texas, the past six years. He worked as Eunice superintendent from 1993 to 1999. Fowler said he worked for the Portales school district for 19 years — from 1974 to 1993.
“I’m tickled to death to have him as our superintendent,” David Brooks, Portales School Board member, said.
School board members approved to award the bid for a new chip sealed parking lot at the Portales High School campus in preparation for the transition of BHEC students to the campus for the fall. The bid was awarded to the Eastwood Construction Company of Clovis for $65,510.99 ($64,763.68 plus New Mexico sales tax).
Portales school officials will pay $11,644 with the New Mexico Department of Transportation paying the remaining total.
Nat Gomez, director of maintenance, is hopeful to have the parking lot completed by Aug. 10. The first day of school is Aug. 16.