Portales schools see increase in enrollment

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Principals are reporting higher enrollment numbers throughout the Portales School District after the first four days of school.

Todd Morris, Valencia Elementary principal, said there is a slight increase at Valencia Elementary with 210 fourth-grade students and 223 fifth-grade students, totaling 433 students.

The fourth-grade students have hit the ground running. Some fourth-grade students were in a computer workshop on Friday afternoon with the A+ software. Carol Purifoy who works in the technology lab said the purpose of the assessments is so that the students can take math and reading tests similar to the tests taken through the criteria and reference tests (CRTs). New Mexico school students take the criteria and reference tests and those tests help determine whether schools met the adequate yearly progress reports of the “No Child Left Behind” program.

Purifoy said the students take the assessment tests and the computer program identifies which questions the students got wrong and the students can see their area of weaknesses. The students can focus on the areas they are weak on to improve their test scores.

Fourth-grader James Phillips said he has enjoyed everything from his new school, the building, teachers and students. Phillips is making the transition from being in the

James Elementary school last year to the Valencia Elementary this year as is his classmate Andrew Winnett.

“The building is really big,” said Winnett, who has been trying to get used to the building after four days of being in it. “It was tough finding your way around. I was really nervous the first day. I didn’t know anything (about teachers and building).”

Morris said the teachers worked hard before the start of the year getting ready and decorating the rooms so that the rooms would be more welcoming to the students.

“It has a warm feeling to it,” Lisa Jaynes, a parent who has one child, Brandon, in the fifth grade at Valencia Elementary said. Jaynes also has a daughter, Kelsey, who goes to school at James Elementary. “Brandon was looking forward to school. Usually he doesn’t look forward to it. It really surprised me. I was real excited about it (Brandon going to school).”

• Steiner Elementary as of Friday had an enrollment of 257 first-graders, an increase from last year’s enrollment which was approximately 243.

“It’s good to see all of the smiling faces,” Becky Flen, Steiner Elementary principal, said. “I’ve been waiting all summer for them.”

• James Elementary is composed of second- and third-graders totaling 466 students this year. The James Elementary school averages approximately 450 students each year.

There are 242 second-graders and 224 third-graders enrollment for the 2004-06 school year.

“It has really been a smooth transition,” James Elementary Principal Michael Terry said. “I think the teachers were prepared in advance and parents started taking care of paperwork early. They (parents) took care of any corrections needed to be made on the paperwork and we had a good turnout for open house (on Monday).”

• Lindsey Elementary also boasts higher enrollment numbers of 217 students this year. Rick Segovia, Lindsey Elementary principal, said one of the biggest adjustments for sixth-graders is going making it from different classrooms on time. For grade students who went to Portales grade schools, it is their first experience with having six different teachers instructing them instead of just one or two.

• The Portales Junior High has an increase of at least 20 students from the previous year, totaling 436 students from grades seventh and eighth. There are 232 students in seventh grade and 204 in eighth grade.

Brown Elementary is the only grade school which has not started classes yet. Classes at Brown Elementary begin on Monday for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten children.