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

Area school grade results split


August 18, 2018

New Mexico Public Education Department scores for 2017-18 show mixed results for eastern New Mexico — 11 schools saw their letter grades go down while eight saw them rise.

Area administrators expressed their belief that what is shown in that one letter grade does not truly reflect performance at those schools.

In Portales, four of the district’s six schools saw their scores drop a letter grade from the previous school year.

“Well you know, it’s kind of a mixed reaction of how we did because I don’t think in any ways these scores reflect what’s going on in our schools,” Portales Superintendent Johnnie Cain said.

Lidsey-Steiner Elementary and Portales High dropped from a C to a D, Portales Junior High and Valencia Elementary went from a B to a C, while James Elementary and Brown Early Childhood Center remained at an A and a B, respectively.

Cain said he did not yet know what to attribute the falling school scores to, noting that the district has instituted a new literacy program and has seen improvement with its recently developed math program.

“These teachers come into work every day, they put their hearts into this job across the school district then they’re faced with something like this and you can see how it might be discouraging,” Cain said.

“But our teachers are going to go back to the classroom and get our kids ready to graduate.”

Elsewhere in Roosevelt County, both Dora and Elida high schools saw their A grades from the previous year drop down to B. Floyd scored Bs at its elementary and high schools, while the middle school earned a D.

Clovis schools also experienced a mixed bag of results. The district has two fewer D and F schools than last year, but also one fewer A and B school.

Superintendent Jody Balch said he was not surprised or concerned by that, due to the difficulty of maintaining a top score.

Barry Elementary took the biggest hit in its score, dropping from an A to a C. Balch did not know what to attribute the falling score to.

“Don’t know. They had a great school year, they have great kids. Their principal was there only one year so I don’t certainly believe he did anything, in fact he had a great year, so I have no idea,” Balch said.

Like Cain, Balch said he did not believe the scores truly reflect student progress.

“My first reactions are I don’t think the grades are indicative of the good things that are going on in all of the buildings,” said Balch, who saw four schools improve their grades and three schools regress.

Balch said he did not understand how Clovis’ middle schools Marshall, Yucca and Gattis posted a C, D, and F, respectively, while the Freshman Academy made the jump from a B to an A.

“Why can you have C, D and F middle schools but an A freshman academy? Did they turn into geniuses in seven months at the freshman academy? And the answer is no. How can that jive?”

Balch said Gattis, the district’s only F school, was .05 points shy of receiving a D.

Elsewhere in Curry County, Grady's high school and elementary school remained at an A and B respectively, while the middle school dropped from a C to a D.

Texico schools boasted all As and Bs for the fourth straight year, though the middle school did drop from an A to a B.

Melrose schools also received all As and Bs with the only change from last year coming at the elementary school, which bumped up one letter grade to an A.

Fort Sumner saw the most improved results among eastern New Mexico school districts, posting two Bs and one A. The elementary and middle school both jumped up two letter grades from last year's results.


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