County schools show improvement

By Christina Calloway
Senior writer
ccalloway@pntonline.com

Roosevelt County school administrators are celebrating their successes and have vowed to improve weaker areas in their districts in response to the state’s 2014 school grading results released Thursday by the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Few schools missed the mark, with anything a C and above considered passing, but many schools across the county have shown improvement. All of the county’s high schools earned a B or higher.

Elida schools Superintendent Jim Daugherty was celebrating his district’s schools making As across the board.
“I’m very proud of our students and teachers,” Daugherty said.
Elida Elementary jumped two letter grades from last year’s C. Daugherty attributes the success to targeting key areas including reading and math.
The high school maintained its A from last year. Daugherty said he plans to continue to stress academics.

“We try to do better every year,” he said. “This is a compliment to our students and teachers for the hard work they did last year.”
Dora schools were the top achievers in the county last year as they too had straight As, but this year Dora Elementary dropped a grade to a B.
“In our elementary school, our lower quartile didn’t do as well,” said Dora Superintendent Steve Barron. “We’ll review our data and get us back to an A.”
Barron said Dora High School was able to maintain its A due to the student growth increases of more than 1.5 percent in math and reading.
“Our high school did phenomenal,” Barron said.

Portales Superintendent Johnnie Cain said he was proud to see two of the district’s elementary schools bring their grades up from Cs to Bs.
“I noticed we’re above the state average in (growth of) lowest performing students,” Cain said. “The focus has gone toward helping all the students and I think we made headway with students who didn’t do well in the past.”

Cain said he didn’t, however, understand why the scores of Lindsey-Steiner Elementary and Portales Junior High School were so low, both receiving Ds. Cain said he plans to look at the data to find target areas for improvement to bring those scores up next year.
“School growth at Lindsey-Steiner improved but didn’t do well in the growth of the high and lowest performing students,” Cain said. “I was proud of the schools and knew they would be better this year. There were more opportunities for principals and teachers to talk this year with the new teacher evaluations. It helps in self reflection, I think that’s a factor as well.”

Floyd’s high school and elementary school each dropped one grade while its middle school maintained a D. The high school earned a B and the elementary school a C.
Floyd Superintendent Paul Benoit, who was awarded superintendent of the year on Thursday, said he’s reviewing the grades but was pleased with overall maintenance efforts.
“We’ll be identifying areas where we need to intensify efforts,” Benoit said.

Clovis schools had seen both improvements and demotions in their scores, with more than half of the schools earning a passing grade. Clovis Superintendent Jody Balch said reading and math were areas the schools focused on.
“We try to institute programs that promote reading and math across the curriculum,” Balch said.
All but one Quay County school received passing grades on Thursday.

Under 50 percent of the schools in Quay County maintained their school grades from 2013, San Jon Elementary made the largest drop from a C to an F while Logan High School was able to maintain an A for a second year.
Schools that dropped a grade level in Quay County but are still considered passing are: Logan Elementary, C; House Middle School, D; and San Jon Middle School, D.

School grades
Roosevelt County
Dora Municipal Schools

• Dora Elementary B
• Dora High School A

Elida Municipal Schools
• Elida Elementary A
• Elida High School A

Floyd Municipal Schools
• Floyd Elementary C
• Floyd High School B
• Floyd Middle School D

Portales Municipal Schools
• Brown Early Childhood Center C
• James Elementary B
• Lindsey-Steiner Elementary D
• Portales High School B
• Portales Junior High D
• Valencia Elementary B

Source: New Mexico
Public Education Department