Valencia school to focus on student success, parent involvement

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

At Valencia Elementary School, one of the first thing students will learn when school bells ring Tuesday is that “Everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing to learn.”

As principal of Valencia Elementary, Todd Morris wants to make sure that fourth- and fifth-graders also have all of the help they need to learn.

“Our overall goal at Valencia is to really focus on students who are not succeeding and ask, ‘What are we going to do to best meet their needs and create a learning environment that is best for each individual student?’” Morris said.

Morris is now in his third year as principal of Valencia Elementary School.

He added that Valencia will directly focus on students who are most at risk and those that don’t score proficiently on the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards mandated by the state as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

“We had great gains this year. Mathematically we jumped up eight points and increased all across the board, but we missed it by a few points in reading and math,” he said. “We had a good year, but the standards are rising and we have to play catch up.”

To help ensure that no child is left behind, Morris said the school will be stressing parental involvement and said there is always a need for reading and math tutors and volunteers to help in the school library.

“We’d love to have a lot more parent involvement,” Morris said. “That is the key to success at these grade levels. We need parents to feel they can come into the school and work with us and help us. There are many different ways we can use them.”

Valencia Elementary will not waste any time in getting parents involved either. The school has a parent orientation planned on the first night of school, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the school multipurpose room.

“This will allow parents to get oriented and we will talk to them about our expectations,” Morris said. “Then they will go into individual classrooms and teachers will talk about their goals for the year.”

Morris said that another thing Portales Schools is doing overall to help increase AYP scores during the 2006-2007 school year is to have more communication between grade levels.