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

Six Portales schools fail to meet AYP standards


August 3, 2009

As was the case statewide, the majority of public schools in Clovis and Portales did not meet the state standards for the annual Adequate Yearly Progress report.

Nine of the 15 Clovis schools tested — the high school, both middle schools and six elementary schools — were among the 69 percent of New Mexico schools that failed to reach state-mandated test standards.

In Portales, six out of seven schools — the high school, junior high school and four elementary schools —did not meet standards.

Schools are evaluated mainly on student performance and participation in math and reading tests administered in grades 3-8 and grade 11. Other factors in the ratings are graduation rates for high schools and attendance rates for elementary and middle schools.

A school will not meet the goal of adequate yearly progress if one of several subgroups of students — black, white, Hispanic, American Indian, “economically disadvantaged” or poor, special education and students with limited English language skills — miss the yearly targets for performance and participation on tests.

Clovis Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said larger schools such as Clovis are more unlikely to reach AYP standards because the student population allows for more subgroups.

At Clovis High, the school failed the standards in seven of the 29 subgroups.

Seidenwurm, though, was pleased in the overall improvement in scores from the previous year, when nine subgroups failed to meet the state marks.

“I was thrilled that our test scores across the district were up. We’ve made some really good progress; of course, that doesn’t necessarily affect AYP,” Seidenwurm said.

Seidenwurm and Portales Superintendent Randy Fowler pointed out that the standards for making AYP have increased from a year ago. The targets will continue to grow to as part of the federal government’s mandate for public school improvement.

The area that kept Highland Elementary from an overall passing grade was economically disadvantaged performance with math. Seidenwurm, though, noted that subgroup improved from the year before even as the standard was raised.

“If you don’t make AYP in any one of those (subgroups), you don’t make AYP,” she said. “Basically, what happens is that small schools make AYP and large schools don’t.”

Across the state, only one high school with a student population in excess of 500 met the AYP standards, and that was Albuquerque’s Volcano Vista, which just completed its second year of existence.

Smaller area schools had a better rate of passing. All of the schools in Texico, Grady, Dora and Elida met the state’s goals.

Fort Sumner had its middle school and high school make the standard, while the elementary did not. Floyd Middle School, Floyd High and Melrose High also failed to meet standards.

For Floyd High, Superintendent Paul Benoit said the scores of the same group of students dropped by 45 percent in two years. Middle school scores also dropped.

The faculty sees good performance on daily work, and Benoit doesn’t believe it’s educationally possible to see decreases in ability like those shown in the high school test scores.

“So there’s something else going on, and I’m not saying it’s the kids’ fault,” he said.

Benoit plans to work with his staff to find ways to improve instruction and motivate students to do their best on tests.

Many schools have been struggling with requirements since the No Child Left Behind Act took effect.

“What we look for is our kids improving, because the whole system is set up to where the schools are going to be failing — according to their criteria,” Fowler said. “We just try to make sure our kids are improving and we’re doing the best we can.”

At Portales High, 17 subgroups were evaluated, and 16 received passing grades. Hispanic students’ math scores were 2 percentage points from passing, which meant the school did not meet standards.

“We had good improvement gains in reading for all students,” Fowler said. “Each year, the proficiency level raises. Next year, it’s going to raise again. Even if you’re improving, it may not mean that you’ll get to proficient.”

2008-2009 Adequate Yearly Progress test results

Curry County schools

Roosevelt County schools

Roosevelt County

Dora Municipal Schools: Both schools made AYP.

Elida Municipal Schools: Both schools made AYP.

Floyd Municipal Schools

Made AYP

• Floyd Elementary School

Didn’t make AYP

• Floyd High School

Groups not proficient: Reading — Overall population

• Floyd Middle School

Groups not proficient: Reading — Hispanic and low-income students; Math — Overall population.

linkPortales Municipal Schools:

Made AYP:

• Lindsey Elementary School

Didn’t make AYP:

• Brown Early Childhood Center

Groups not proficient: Reading — Hispanic, disabled and low-income students; Math — disabled and low-income students

• James Elementary School

Groups not proficient: Reading — Overall population; Math — Overall population.

• Portales High School

Groups not proficient: Math — Hispanic students

• Portales Junior High School

Groups not proficient: Reading — disabled students; Math — Hispanic, disabled and low-income students

• Steiner Elementary School

Groups not proficient: Reading — Hispanic, disabled and low-income students; Math — disabled and low-income students

• Valencia Elementary School

Groups not proficient: Reading — Overall population; Math — Overall population.


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