School Grades In

kids holding books

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), released its grades for all public schools statewide on Tuesday, August 22. Immediately on release there were statements from school districts and teachers groups around the state questioning the validity of the grades, and the methodology used to determine them. Still, this is the system given to the schools for determining their success in fulfilling their mission of educating the youth of our communities.
The grades passed down to the schools by NMPED are ranked A through F, with an A-grade being the highest possible and an F-grade signifying the lowest. Many states have dropped the use of an F-grade in their school rankings.
Locally, in the T-or-C schools, there were mixed results but with very two bright spots in the report. T-or-C Middle School (TCMS) received an A-grade. We were told by Dr. Craig Cummins, schools’ superintendent, “They were one of only a very small handful of middle schools statewide to have received an A-grade for three years in a row.

Tiger Stadium Spruced Up For Season

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Tiger Stadium is decked out in her Sunday best, or in this case, her Friday night best. All is now ready for the just begun Tiger football season. Saturday, August 26 the team, parents and family, boosters and a few stalwart athletes from the HSHS Tigers cheer team came out to give the place a major face-lift.
Gone is all the scraggily growth that was spreading across the hill side, and obscuring the twelve foot high letters in white stone spelling Tigers. Many truckloads of brush has been cut and hauled away, and the stonework lettering repainted.
Also the sideline benches and tables for the athletes were repainted. The coaches supervising the work guaranteed they would be dry in plenty of time for Friday’s game. Trash barrels throughout the stadium and the wall along the walkway up to the stands were also painted. The hard work of the 35 to 40 volunteers who came out was finished before the sun went down.

Lindsay Named HSHS Principal

kids holding books

As the year came to an end for T-or-C schools, the winds of change have been blowing. The first of several transitions came when word began to circulate through the halls that HSHS principal, Patti Nesbitt, would be resigning at the end of the school year. She was doing so in order to accept the position of principal in Capitan where she will head both the high school and middle school. This news followed on the heels of the long awaited retirement of Dr. Robert Vise from his position at Central, coordinating federal programs and student achievement for the district. Dr. Vise had made no secret of his plan to retire and move to California where he would be closer to family.
By graduation week there was one other very big change. As reported here in the Sentinel last week, T-or-C schools icon Hank Hopkins, announced his retirement from the position of director of human resources for the district. Even as the last of the diplomas passed into the hands of the graduating class of 2017, anyone paying attention in the community knew there were many significant changes coming.
With the top spot vacated at HSHS, the position was posted on the district’s website, and after the five days required in the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), there were three applicants. All those who had by that time applied were apparently local people, already employed by the district.

Hopkins Hangs Up School Hat

There are many people in Sierra County who remember very well Hank Hopkins as their elementary school principal. Some remember him in that role and then saw their own children beginning their education at the school with Hopkins at the helm. Before he took on the job of Director of Human Resources for T-or-C schools, Hank was already an institution, known and respected across all the schools in Sierra County. Many former students, now parents themselves, remember him greeting them with a handshake and a few friendly words every single morning as they arrived at school.
Hank began as an elementary school teacher in Las Cruces before returning to his hometown, to work in the schools he himself attended.

School Board Votes Against 4 Day Week

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You could hear a pin drop. The room was just that silent. The school board had just voted. For a full minute or more people looked around. It seemed like no one outside the board knew what had happened. Finally a couple voices spoke up. “What just happened here?” The question was amplified by stirrings from a confused audience that was not at all sure what had just been proposed and passed by the board.
Without looking at the hundred or so members of the community still gathered, the board said that they had voted to accept the version of the school calendar for the coming school year that mirrored the current calendar, but included Fridays.
It was only then that everyone understood that the board had rejected the proposed four-day school week plan. The room erupted into shouts. Some present shouted out in anger,

NMDOT Continue Date St. Focus

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New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) officials convened a public meeting at T-or-C’s Hot Springs High School Wednesday, May 10 to review their most recent plans for the renovation Date Street’s northern business corridor. The NMDOT effort is primarily aimed at improving the dangerous intersections at New School Road and Smith Street, but also includes other upgrade plans from Ninth Avenue northward to the H.R. Ashbaugh Drive intersection near Walmart.

School Threats Causing Big Concern

Police beat

“Rumor and hear-say” of a possible planned attack on Hot Springs High School (HSHS) are said to be the cause of low attendance on Tuesday, May 9.
According to Truth or Consequences Police Chief Lee Alirez, HSHS faculty notified TCPD School Resource Officer Ted Ontiveros on May 8 of a rumor that a student was possibly planning an attack the following day. Officers, with the assistance of New Mexico State Police, began interviewing students, even calling them in after school hours Monday to get to the bottom of the allegations.

TCMS Gets A, HSHS Appealing F

school-bus

The recently released 2016 Kids Count report, shows New Mexico schools overall have slipped in ranking and now have the dubious distinction of finishing dead last out of the fifty states. The report, compiled and published annually by the Annie B. Casey Foundation has been a feature in measuring indicators of child well-being in in America, state by state, since 1990. Education is one of the four broad categories, called domains in the report, used in these studies. In education New Mexico has slipped to last place despite showing improvement