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RISD board discusses plans for graduation

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As the end of the school year approaches, Roswell Independent School District is making a plea to the community: Help seniors have as normal a graduation as they can.

RISD Superintendent Mike Gottlieb (Submitted Photo)

“Please get your vaccinations. Please wear a mask, please do all those things to help us try to keep our schools open and our graduation open to our parents and community members. I can’t plead that enough,” RISD Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said at Tuesday night’s meeting of the school board.

Gottlieb told board members the district will be making a video featuring several seniors from its schools making similar requests.

The district is making plans for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies for each school, with weather and school decisions as factors. Under the state’s public health order, indoor and outdoor venues have different allowable capacities for attendance.

Chaves County is in the low-risk Turquoise Level, which allows 75% of the maximum capacity at outdoor venues and 33% for indoor venues. The Turquoise Level is reached after a county reaches the medium-risk Green Level and maintains that gating criteria for four consecutive weeks.

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If the county should regress to the high-risk Yellow Level, capacities will be reduced to 25% for outdoor events and no indoor events allowed. At the very high-risk Red Level, neither indoor nor outdoor events would be allowed.

“We don’t want to get there, folks. We need our community,” Gottlieb said.

“We are trying to do everything we can so we can have a normal graduation this year. It’s very important to our seniors,” he said.

Last year, with the pandemic in its early stages, the district staged graduation parades in the Wool Bowl parking lot on May 23 to celebrate the district’s 550 graduates. 

Gottlieb outlined plans for 2021 graduation for each school:

• Goddard High School: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 5. Outside graduation at the Wool Bowl; inside graduation using both gyms at the school.

• University High School: Saturday, June 5. Indoor graduation would be at 2 p.m. in Pueblo Auditorium and outdoor graduation at 7 p.m. at the Wool Bowl.

• Roswell High School: 7 p.m. Friday, June 4. Outside graduation at the Wool Bowl; inside graduation using both gyms in the school.

• Early College High School: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3. Outdoor graduation at the Wool Bowl; indoor graduation at Goddard High big gym.

Graduation ceremonies next year will also occur in June, as the board approved a revised calendar for the 2021-22 school year to comply with a legislative mandate to add extended learning days. Last year, the board approved calendars through the 2022-23 school year.

The revised calendar for the 2021-22 school year adds 10 instructional days by shortening Thanksgiving break by two days and the winter break by one. The remaining seven days fall at the end of the spring semester. The revised calendar gives a total of 188 instruction days for students and 192 staff days.

Thanksgiving break will now be Nov. 24 to 26. The winter break will still start on Dec. 20, but classes will start a day earlier than originally scheduled, on Jan. 3.

The last day of classes in 2022, originally scheduled for May 18, will now be May 27.

Spring break will remain at five days, but will be a week earlier than originally scheduled, from March 14 to 18.

Parent-teacher conferences will be Sept. 16 and 17 and Feb. 10 and 11.

Teachers will have one less day for professional development than originally scheduled. Gottlieb said the teachers’ union took part in the calendar revisions. Schools can opt out of the extended learning days, but Gottlieb said those that do must write an educational plan using proven data on how they will make up for lost learning time.

The requirement was part of the state’s budget bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“Within five years, maybe less, I think you’ll be pretty close to year-round school. It’s coming. They really would like to have kids in school about 204, 205 days of education,” Gottlieb said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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