Portales schools fail to meet AYP marks

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico schools are facing an uphill battle trying to meet the state’s adequate yearly progress.

Nine Clovis schools and all five Portales schools fell short of AYP this year. The Public Education Department announced Friday results of the AYP report, which is based on the state’s standards based assessment test.

The report is a No Child Left Behind yardstick used to measure students’ reading and math skills.

The increase followed a state-wide trend in which more than two-thirds of New Mexico’s schools failed this year to reach targets for improving academic performance and meeting student participation standards.

Seidenwurm said this year’s results were expected as schools with subgroups — special education and English language learners, for example — typically fail to meet AYP.

There are about 33 subgroups applicable to Clovis Schools, Seidenwurm said. If the school fails in one subgroup, it will not meet AYP.

“That’s why small schools have such an advantage,” Seidenwurm said.

Seidenwurm added many schools made improvements, but did not meet adequate yearly progress this year because the goal of students meeting proficiency increased by at least 11 percentage points in all grades this year. The increases were 4 percentage points in previous years. The state plans to have 100 percent of schools meeting AYP by 2014.

Clovis High School, Marshall and Yucca Middle Schools and Cameo Elementary School have been marked for restructuring. Lockwood Elementary is marked for corrective action while The Arts Academy at Bella Vista and La Casita Elementary are on the improvement list.

Six Clovis schools made AYP — Barry, Highland, Mesa, Ranchvale, Sandia and Zia elementary schools.

Even though Portales’ schools did not meet AYP, the schools have been showing improvement and growth since 2007, said Portales Assistant Superintendent Priscella Hennnedez.

“James Elementary showed improvements across the boards,” Hennedez said. “We are using this information and data collected over the past three years in identifying areas that need the most work.”

Melrose, Texico, Grady, Fort Sumner, Elida and Dora made AYP. Floyd’s high school and elementary made AYP, while its middle school did not.

“We may not have met the AYP goal for math but we have shown an improvement,” said Floyd Superintendent Paul Benoit.

Last year the percent of proficiency was 9.6 percent, while this year it is 15.6 percent, Benoit said.

Benoit said that the improvement is the result of short cycle testing and hiring a teacher with the specific job of tutoring math ad reading in the middle school.

In the past, the state has said it would take over a school district if it fails to make AYP consecutively for five years. But Seidenwurm said the number of schools entering that threshold would overwhelm the state’s resources.

Instead, the state will work with school districts at a regional level, according to Catherine Cross Maple, Public Education Department deputy secretary.

“We’re trying to take a focus of working more in partnership with districts through a regional structure so that we can get the resources to schools that need to make the improvements,” she said.

Another change this year is removing ninth-graders from testing, according to Cross Maple. She said ninth- and 10th-graders will take a series of diagnostic tests before taking the standards based assessment test in the 11th grade.

“That means teachers will be able adjust and tailor their instruction to meet the needs of students in their classroom,” she said.

PNT Staff Writer Thomas Garcia contributed to this report.

The following area schools did not meet AYP benchmarks for 2008-2009:

Curry County:

• Clovis High School
• Marshal Middle School
• Yucca Middle School
• Cameo Elementary
• La Casita Elementary
• Lockwood Elementary
• Parkview Elementary
• James Bickley Elementary
• Bella Vista Arts Academy


• Floyd Middle School
• Portales High School
• Portales Junior High School
• Valencia Elementary
• James Elementary
• Lindsey Elementary