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Charter school council approves admission policy change

Principal Joe Andreis and governing council member Yasmin Armstrong discuss the Sidney Gutierrez Middle School admission policy during a Monday special meeting at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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[Note: This post has been updated to correct the spelling of a council member’s name.]

The admission policy for Sidney Gutierrez Middle School has changed following a special meeting Monday of the charter school’s governing council.

Now, in alignment with state statute, the school will give preference to eligible new applicants who are siblings of current students or currently enrolled students, but it will no longer extend that preference to siblings of past students. Siblings are defined as blood relatives or legally adopted brothers and sisters. Currently enrolled students in good standing will continue to be given slots for the following academic year year.

The second reading of the revised policy occurred at a special meeting so that the council could vote prior to the 2019-2020 application period.

Although no parents or people from the public attended the meeting, Principal Joe Andreis said that the school had received numerous inquiries about the policy. He added that the school will inform people of the change on 2019-2020 applications and the school’s website.

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Prospective sixth- to eighth-grade students for the 2019-2020 academic year can apply from Jan. 14 to Jan. 29. The lottery to select new students for open slots is scheduled for April 8.

Roswell’s only charter school, Sidney Gutierrez is also the most highly rated public K12 school, having earned seven consecutive “A” grades from the New Mexico Public Education Department. Since its creation 17 years ago, the school’s reputation and its alumni body have grown to a point where the number of applicants far exceeds the number of available openings each year, which is why a lottery is held each spring to draw names for slots not filled by current students or their siblings.   

“As the school has grown and the reputation has grown, giving opportunities to other children is what we are supposed to do as a charter school,” said Yasine Armstrong, vice president of the governing council.

Andreis said that he does not know at this point how many openings will be available for the next academic year. The school is limited to 66 students by its charter, which is authorized by the Roswell Independent School District. 

The school recently received approval from the school district to expand to elementary grades. The governing council and administrators are now pursuing funding options for new buildings to house the students and plan to open enrollment to a few grades each year, beginning with kindergarten through second grades, as facilities become available.