By Paula Cronic: PNT Staff Writer
Improving student success while closing the achievement gap is Portales Schools’ mission and Priscilla Hernandez, director of instruction for the Portales School District, said at Monday’s school board meeting that is exactly what the district did.
Even though Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results showed Portales schools failed to meet AYP requirements, Hernandez focused on sharing with board members that despite those results, students in the district made significant progress in reading and math subjects.
According to Hernandez, there are 37 categories schools must pass to make AYP and should just one subgroup fail one of those categories, the school automatically fails AYP.
Comparing last year’s AYP results with those of 2005-2006 shows James Elementary had an increase in reading scores as did Portales Junior High, Broad Horizons and Portales High School.
“We have a steady improvement in reading in the majority of all the schools,” Hernandez said.
There were significant gains in math proficiency from one year to another as well. Hernandez said Valencia Elementary, PJHS and PHS all made significant jumps in their math scores.
“All in all the schools all showed a gain in math and reading proficiency,” she said.
Hernandez said the AYP results do not mean there was no improvement in the district because Portales schools are showing steady progress, increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap.
PJHS Principal Steve Harris announced the Laptop initiative program where all seventh-graders will receive laptop computers this year. Harris said they have already received the laptops, but said they will not be issued to the students until teachers have gone through training and students and parents have gone through orientation.
“Teachers will receive training on how to integrate that technology into their classroom,” Harris said. “We want parents and students to receive some orientation on how to use the computer at home so that we feel good about (the students) being safe.”
Harris said the computers should be given out sometime in late September.
Donations were given to the Portales School District including nearly $7,000 to the PJHS to purchase a scoreboard and controller for the football field from Portales National Bank. Other donations came from the Portales Ram Football Booster Club. Wal-Mart and The Eastern New Mexico University Bookstore and Kiwanis Club came together to donate approximately $2,000 in school supplies.
“We divided up the supplies in a way that it was grade appropriate and made sure the kids would get the right things,” Bobby Brunson, a member of the Kiwanis Club, said.
Portales School’s Superintendent Randy Fowler said there are always children with special needs and said the district appreciates what the community and the Kiwanis Club have done.