Year in Review: Portales consolidates schools

PNT staff report

Consolidating Lindsey Elementary and Steiner Elementary into one school was one of many changes in education in 2010.

The Lindsey and Steiner buildings were in the top 10 of the state education department’s list of schools in need of renovations.

Superintendent Randy Fowler said refurbishing both buildings would cost $26 million, but creating one building would cost $12 million, or less than half.

Lindsey-Steiner Elementary opened in August and is for Portales fifth- and sixth-graders while first- and second-graders attend James Elementary and third- and fourth-graders attend Valencia Elementary.

Other developments with Roosevelt County schools and Eastern New Mexico University included:

• Statewide this year, 644 schools or 77.9 percent didn’t reach the goals for “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That’s up from 560 schools, or 68.2 percent, last year.

Brown, James and Steiner elementary schools showed improvements in the scores for their overall populations, but Portales High, Portales Junior High, Lindsey Elementary and Valencia Elementary schools showed decreases. Gains and losses in proficiency varied among subgroups and overall population at the schools.

Dora and Elida schools and two of Floyd’s three schools met AYP standards for 2009, according to the scores.

Under the federal law, states are to increase their performance targets each year until 100 percent of students are proficient on tests by the 2013-2014 school year.

• Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble and Dona Ana Community College President Margie Huerta signed an articulation agreement in November. Now, when students with associate degrees from DACC want to transfer to ENMU for a bachelor’s degree, the university will accept 90 credits of their work and guarantee acceptance for any students who completed a program at DACC with at least a C average.

• The ENMU music building, Buchanan Hall, reopened after its remodeling in April.

Wendel Sloan, ENMU’s director of media relations, said the remodeling opens an avenue to bring in professional musicians and offers a rehearsal area for students.

The project cost $9.5 million, according to information from the university, and includes the addition of a 4,500-square-foot band rehearsal room. The ENMU technology building was also approved for remodeling in July and construction is currently under way.

• During the Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting in September, Assistant Superintendent Priscilla Hernandez showed data indicating average ACT scores for Portales High School have been increasing over the past five years and are above the state average in the composite and in all measured subject areas except science.

The percentage of Portales students meeting ACT-score benchmarks indicate college readiness was above the state average in English and social science. However, Portales’ percentages were below the state level in math, science and the combination of all four subject areas, according to the data.

• Longtime Portales educator David Brooks, who served as teacher, counselor and principal in Portales elementary schools for 25 years, died in July. He was a school board member for 13 years and made his mark with tough love and dedication to the school system, the community and his family, according to those who knew him.

Portales High School Principal Melvin Nusser said what he most remembered about Brooks was the man’s dedication to the schools and community.

Antonio Sanchez Jr. of Portales was sworn in as a board member in September to fill the position left open by Brooks. He is running unopposed in February school board elections.