Parents upset guidelines have change for Mr., Miss THS

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Parents aired complaints about the pending selection of Mr. and Miss TSH,
food service and registration fees at Tuesday night’s Tucumcari School
Board meeting.

And a board member told those attending that test scores and the levels of
proficiency in core subjects such as reading and math is not improving
among students.

Several parents of children in Tucumcari High School told the board they
objected to changes in the eligibility requirements for the selection of
Mr. and Miss THS, Tucumcari High School.

“The bar is supposed to be high. It’s not a popularity contest. I am most
concerned about why we are watering down our standards,” saidJeannette
Mitchell, who is the wife of board member Albert Mitchell.
Another parent, Christine Montano, said, she recalled her own years at
THS, when the selection of the Mr. and Miss THS was based on good grades,
attendance and other criteria.

“I am wondering how and why the policy and rules have been changed,” she
said.

School board chairman Rex Kirksey requested acting school superintendent
Aaron McKinney look into changes that brought about the disparity between
last school year’s selection and the requirements for the 2006-2007 school
year in the new student handbook.

Another parent, Jennifer Sanchez, said she was told her child would not
graduate until her daughter’s school registration fees had been paid.
Sanchez also said that dining conditions were unsanitary and that she
could not come to any resolutions about her concerns in her conversations
with McKinney.

Kirksey intervened and asked Sanchez to get together with McKinney to
resolve and work out the issues she had raised.

Albert Mitchell said he had spent time analyzing last year’s student test
scores. After unfolding a large spreadsheet of student scores, he said it
could all be boiled down to several letter-sized sheets of paper, which he
called, “sobering.”

Students appear to be doing well until they are in the ninth grade, he
said. Then, “it’s a steady decline.”

Mitchell also said that he, McKinney and THS Principal Susan Montoya had
traveled to Hobbs, where they had met with community college and Hobbs
high schools’ officials to learn how they worked their AP (accelerated
program).
THS has been working with Mesalands Community College to set up a similar
program and currently the community college does offer classes to high
school students so that they can take advanced classes or take classes
that are not offered THS.

In other matters before the board:

l Elementary school principal Teresa Salazar reported to the board that
elementary students had met and were above Adeqate Yearly Progress (AYP)
goals and that the school was going to work to stay ahead of the annual
goals set by the state’s Public Education Department.

l Tucumcari Middle School Principal Roberta Segura said that tutors are
being made available for students after school and that they are being
encouraged to attend if their scores are below AYP goals. The Middle
School has not met its AYP goals for several years.

Parents of students will also be mailed letters notifying them of their
students grades and scores compared to the state’s AYP goals. If students
did not meet these goals last year, board member Mitchell said the teacher
who was responsible for that particular subject area should also sign the
letter to parents, as well as Segura.

l Montoya said that “math is still the biggest area of weakness” in the
high school program.