Reporter’s note: This article has been edited for clarity.
Christopher Ruszkowski, New Mexico secretary of education, spoke with the Roswell Daily Record on Friday about the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) grades for the Roswell Independent School District (RISD) and surrounding districts in Dexter, Hagerman and Lake Arthur.
An NMPED press release stated this is New Mexico’s seventh year assigning grades based on students’ academic growth. Ruszkowski said students and schools are rising to meet the increasing expectations from the grades. The release also stated the second year of the New Mexico True Straight-A Express tour was launched on Friday to celebrate high performing schools and listen to various districts’ best practice strategies. Ruszkowski said a Roswell visit is tentatively planned for mid-September as part of this tour.
The grades were posted to the NMPED website as of noon on Friday. The public can access the grades by clicking on the “families” tab and then the “school grades” tab. Ruszkowski said the schools’ deadline to appeal is Aug. 31, though very few grades have changed over the last seven years.
At the RISD board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy said the district’s enrollment numbers are at 9,749, with a decline of 197 students from last year. McIlroy also said 500 of these students will be in a new Pre-K program. Jennifer Cole, RISD’s director of federal programs, said Roswell residents can contact the 10 neighborhood schools, Parkview Early Literacy Center, or the RISD federal programs office for more information at 575-627-2582.
Sidney Gutierrez Middle School, a charter school, is one of eight statewide schools that has earned an A all seven years. Ruszkowski said it is harder to earn an A grade than even two to five years ago, but the state schools are showing more increases to A and B grades and decreasing on D and F scores.
Military Heights Elementary School is receiving its first-ever A. El Capitan Elementary School is also receiving an A and Ruszkowski said this has been a steady improvement each year from a D in the first year of grade implementation
Ruszkowski said Missouri Avenue Elementary School is receiving its first F grade and will need immediate attention from the school board and superintendent.
Other RISD schools
Robert H. Goddard High School and Early College High School have retained their C grades. University High School has gone from a B to D and Roswell High School has kept its D grade from the past four years.
For the middle schools, Mesa Middle School went from C to D, Mountain View Middle School D to B, and Sierra Middle School’s grade moved from D to F. Berrendo Middle School retained a C.
The other RISD elementary schools’ grades varied. Berrendo Elementary School retained a C and Valley View Elementary School retained its B grade. Del Norte Elementary School moved from A to B, East Grand Plains Elementary School went from a D to a B, and Monterrey decreased from a B to a D.
Nancy Lopez Elementary School transitioned from an F to a D. Pecos Elementary School improved from a D to B, Sunset Elementary School decreased from a B to a D, while Washington Avenue Elementary School transitioned from a B to a C.
For Dexter, the elementary school’s grade went from B to D, the middle school went from D to C, and the high school maintained a D.
In Hagerman, the elementary school received a B, the middle school went from D to F, and the high school maintained a C.
Ruszkowski said Lake Arthur has never earned an A and he believes in the leadership of Elisa Begueria, the new superintendent, to assist the district in improving. Lake Arthur’s elementary school went from a D to C, the middle school earned its second F, and the high school improved from a D to a C.
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.