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

Curry, Roosevelt schools make passing grades


November 18, 2018

The good news for Curry County and Roosevelt County public schools on Thursday? Everybody passed, although some — see Melrose — finished a little better than others.

The bad news? It wasn’t quite honor roll-level good, with the C’s outnumbering the A’s.

Melrose received the area’s only A, while four schools — Elida, Dora, Grady and Texico — received B’s. Clovis, Portales and Floyd received C’s.

A detailed report for each school is listed at

• Clovis (C): Three of the 16 schools rated in the Clovis system received A grades — Clovis High School Freshman Academy, the Arts Academy at Bella Vista and Mesa Elementary. The middle schools struggled, with Marshall scoring a C, Yucca a D and Gattis an F. Gattis was marked as a school in need of Targeted Support or Improvement, with specific subgroups performing below their fellow students.

Overall, Clovis Superintendent Jody Balch said, “We’d always like to do better.”

Balch noted larger schools within districts, and larger school districts, tend to have the biggest challenges in the evaluation process. He said sometimes a standardized test doesn’t reflect the challenges a child has going on outside of the school.

“Typically larger schools are a lot more diverse, and have all populations,” Balch said. “There’s a larger population of special education students, a larger percentage of impoverished students. We believe all students can learn, but they can’t always learn at the same rate.”

Despite its A grade, CHSFA is listed as a school in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement. Balch wasn’t sure how that conclusion was reached, but said, “You can make an A and still have deficiencies in some areas, as long as you cover most of your bases.”

Clovis High received a B, as did Sandia and Zia elementary schools. Other C’s went to Bickley, La Casita and Barry elementaries; D’s went to Cameo, Lockwood, Highland and Parkview.

• Portales (C): Portales High received a D, and is the only school of six in TSI status. James Elementary fielded the lone A, while Brown Early Childhood Center scored a B. Valencia Elementary and Portales Junior High each had a C, while Lindsey-Steiner had a D.

“I don’t think it’s a true reflection on what we do,” Portales Superintendent Johnnie Cain said of the report cards. “But I noticed we’re in line with all of the other schools of our size in the state. Clovis, Lovington, Artesia are also all sitting there with a C.”

Cain knew Lindsey-Steiner was going to drop in grades, but he wasn’t sure what happened the caused the grade to fall to a D.

“In the high school, we focused on those (problem) areas,” Cain said. “We received a grant from the state to work on some of those subgroups at the high school and the junior high. We’ve got literacy coaches to work with all of our teachers, and not just the English teachers. We did training in math last year on the standards, so I think we’ll see something happen in the math.

At James, Cain said the good grade comes down to a good group of experienced teachers, with strengths in reading education.

• Melrose (A): Melrose’s elementary and junior high both received an A, while the high school scored a B. Melrose is above state averages with an 80 percent graduation rate inside four years (71 for the state), 95 percent inside five years (76) and 90 percent inside six (77). The difference in the percentages is the result of the state looking at the classes of 2017 (four-year), 2016 (five-year) and 2015 (six-year) when computing.

Superintendent Jamie Widner said the district has a culture to be proud of, noting he was at a state volleyball championship game Saturday and a football semifinal Friday night.

“We do excellent in academics, athletics and activity. (Our employees) try to do what’s best for kids all the time, and that’s a big deal.”

Widner credited an effort by English teachers in every grade getting together to find ways to improve reading ability. He doesn’t know the particulars, but said they work hard and have a common goal.

Regarding the notion smaller schools have an advantage, Widner agreed and noted all five districts that got A grades were small schools.

“My high school principal knows every kid in the high school,” Widner said. “My elementary school principal knows every kid in the elementary school. That makes a difference.”

• Texico (B): Texico High scored an A, while its elementary and junior high both took a B. The school’s four-year graduation rate of 73 percent is close to the state average of 71 percent, but those numbers jump to 97 and 98 percent, respectively, in the five- and six-year timeframes.

• Grady (B): Grady High School received an A, while the elementary scored a B and the junior high a D. The school has high marks for graduation, with 97 percent graduating within four years, 94 percent in five and 97 percent in six. Additionally, all five school board members have met state standards for annual training.

• Elida (B): Elida only has an elementary and a high school considered for grading, and both received a B.

• Dora (B): Dora’s elementary received an A, and the high school took a B. There is no percentage for four-year graduation rates, but the five-year (91) and six-year (83) are both well above state averages.

• Floyd (C): Both the elementary and high school received a B, while the middle school scored a D. The graduation rates were 88 percent inside four years, 90 percent inside five years and 93 percent inside six years.


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