By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Portales Municipal School officials say state-hired consultants recently visited two schools in the district that failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress and reported that, overall, they were both doing a good job.
Prinicipals from two of the three schools in the district under corrective action after not making AYP gave the Portales School Board reports on recent Public Education Department visits during Monday’s board meeting.
Becky Flen, principal of Steiner Elementary, said Carlos Pagan visited her school in October, and Steve Harris, principal at Portales Junior High School, said his school got a visit from Patricia Williams in November. They noted that while Pagan had some minor criticism, Williams had hardly anything negative to say.
Both schools completed questionaires and faculty surveys in advance of the visits and then the consultant spent two days in the school interviewing teachers, parents and students and observing classes.
“Dr. Pagan said the model we turned in should be the model for the state,” Flen said. “He said he wouldn’t hesitate putting any of his own children in school at Steiner.”
Flen said that Pagan noted that programs for special needs students were not sufficient. She said her school’s goal teams had met and were taking care of the problem areas.
Pagan also wanted a shorter cycle on assessment testing and recommended that the goal teams meet regularly rather than as needed.
PJHS hasn’t received a written report from the visit, but Harris said Williams didn’t make any recommendations before leaving.
“It was a tremendous validation for me and my staff at Portales Junior High,” Harris said. “From what she told us, we felt really good about Portales Junior High.”
According to Fowler, Pagan visited James Elementary earlier in the year with similar results .to the Steiner visit
“What struck me is Dr. Williams said she was going back to the state and saying they’re doing all they can do,” Fowler said. “Basically there were no suggestions.”
School Board President Rod Savage said board members had recently been in meeting with the PED about AYP scores. He assured the principals that Education Secretary Veronica Garcia understood what they were going through.
In other business board members:
• Conducted an evalutation of the Superintendent. No action was taken.
• Heard reports from band and choir on recent activites. Portales High School choir had 16 students named all-district and 11 named all-state. PHS band had nine named all district and eight all-state.
• Approved a $4,000 donation from the Altrusa Club to purchase band instruments for loan at Lindsey Middle School.
• Approved travel to eastern Oklahoma for the PHS baseball team in the spring.
• Approved instructional materials for instruction in career technical and driver’s education courses.
• Approved a slate of policy manual revisions dealing with payroll procedures, legal leave and control and adoption of instructional material.