Four Quay schools fail to meet AYP standards

By Thomas Gracia: : QCS staff writer

All of Quay County’s public school districts met Adequate Yearly Progress standards for 2009, but four of the county’s schools did not meet standards, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department.

The report shows four of six Quay County schools — Tucumcari High School, Tucumcari Elementary, House High School and San Jon Middle School — failed to meet AYP standards.

The AYP is a program designed by the state to meet the federal statutes of “No Child Left Behind,” according to the NMPED Web site.

There are annual academic targets in reading, math, overall graduation rate and attendance that the state, school districts and schools must reach for the mandated goal of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year.

Tucumcari High School Principal David Castillo said the district met AYP standards because schools passed more than half the 37 categories measured overall.

“Our middle school met all the requirements,” he said. “We (at the high school) did not meet only the requirement in math.”

Castillo said a September school board meeting will include a detailed look at statistics, which will show Tucumcari students’ scores were strong overall.

But this is the second year in a row Tucumcari’s high school and elementary school did not meet AYP standards.

Tucumcari Elementary failed in math and reading.

The district is going to bring in outside training, said Aaron McKinney, Tucumcari schools superintendent.

“The training will give teachers tools on how to measure progress throughout the year,” McKinney said. “The professionals will be coming into our schools working with our teachers and all the data will be evaluated. We are going to do all we can to get our kids to meet AYP standards.”

McKinney said the school will challenge the high school’s AYP rating.

“We are taking a closer look at the numbers,” McKinney said. “I spoke with assistant superintendent Dennis Roch … and we are going to look into challenging the rating.”

Tucumcari middle school students met AYP in 2008 and 2009.

San Jon middle school students, who met AYP standards in 2008, missed the math and reading proficiency percentage goals in 2009.

“We are taking the steps needed to get us back on track,” said Gary Salazar, San Jon schools superintendent.

Salazar said the school received Title 1 money, which they plan to use toward intervention programs in reading and math.

“We need to attack this head on,” Salazar said. “A lot of this falls on the students as well. They might not take the testing seriously and need to step up in their studies.”

Logan is the only Quay County school district in which all schools met AYP standards in 2008 and 2009.

“It is an indicator that you have a good staff and students that work hard,” Logan Principal Gary Miller said. “We are really proud of making AYP. It gets harder every year.”

Miller said making the AYP standard each year is a goal for the school’s staff, students and parents of students.

“We are fortunate to have these three elements working together to a common goal,” Miller said. “The next few years it will get harder to make the AYP but we are up to the challenge.”

House high school students failed to meet the graduation rate standard of 52 percent — House graduated 44.3 percent.