The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Fresh(man) start


August 9, 2007

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks Leigh Morris, an instructional coach at Clovis High School Freshman Campus, shows off the new school logo in the gym Tuesday morning.

Nothing much of the old school building will resemble Gattis Junior High School, save for some memorabilia displayed in the school’s lobby.

Gone are green and gray colors on the doors and wall, replaced by purple and white paint that signifies the school’s transition to the Clovis High School Freshman Campus.

Campus Principal Diana Russell said a plaque that hangs near the front entrance will be one of a few artifacts from the old school that will remain. A memorial for Gattis will be displayed in the main lobby, Russell said Tuesday during a facility tour.

“We feel like Gattis was such a landmark and such an important sight for many people in the community that we really need to honor that, and we need to honor the memories here,” Russell said.

Other items from the old school will go to the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center.

About 580 high school freshmen will walk through the Clovis High School Freshman Campus doors Wednesday, she said.

About 45 teachers from the three former junior high schools will teach at the new campus, she said.

Assistant Principal Mike Rutledge said teachers were divided equally to teach at the school.

“You had a choice to come here, and some (teachers) chose to stay at the seventh- and eighth-grade level,” Morris said.

The school will implement a program in which students are assigned to a group of teachers who teach core classes. The program has been used by some schools in the country, but this is its time to be implemented in Clovis, Russell said.

“One thing the teaming concept lends itself well to is building a relationship really well with students as well as parents,” said Russell, who transferred from Marshall Junior High. “We feel that we’re going to reach that student at a much deeper level than we ever have.”

Approved in the spring, the Freshman Campus is considered part of the high school instead of the junior high system. Russell said freshmen and high school teachers will meet monthly to make sure school curriculums are consistent.

Work on the school cost about $200,000, according to Clovis Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm.

Most of the work on the campus is cosmetic, according to instructional coach Leigh Morris. However, offices have been renovated to accommodate the new staff. And the basketball gym has been converted to a regulation-sized court.

Seidenwurm said location was one of the main reasons the district chose the Gattis school for the new campus.

Fast facts

By the numbers:

$200,000 — cost of renovation and painting

580 — students

45 — teachers

Important dates

Monday — Open house

Wednesday — First day of school

Inside: Education Digest

— Page 3


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