Clovis schools to take steps to improve college readiness

The high school students of Elida, Floyd and Grady have been deemed prepared for higher education and future careers by the New Mexico Public Education Department's new grading system.

They received A's on their 2011-2012 report card in the area of college and career readiness.

Elida Municipal Schools Superintendent Jim Daugherty said in addition to many Elida High School students enrolled in dual credit classes and other training for advancement, students also display strong leadership skills.

"We turn out leaders," Daugherty said, adding that the recent national Future Farmers of America President is an Elida graduate.

According to the way the college and career readiness grades are determined, Elida High School has been doing the right stuff to get the grade.

College and career readiness is measured by a number of indicators, including the number of students enrolled in dual credit classes, AP courses, online courses and SAT and ACT prep courses, according to New Mexico's education secretary Hanna Skandera.

"If you get a passing grade, you demonstrated college and readiness," said Skandera about New Mexico high schools.

Points are given to the number of students who have enrolled and have completed these courses. Additional credit is given if students are successful, according to Skandera.

Superintendent of Grady Municipal Schools Ted Trice said the intervention they offer for their high school students is what garnered them a good score.

Trice said they offer e2020, which is an online course that allows students to work on self-paced programs.

Grady High School students also have access to dual credit courses with Clovis Community College.

Clovis High School received a D in college and career readiness and Deputy Superintendent Cindy Martin said they have plans to improve their score.

"We're expanding our dual credit offerings between CCC and CHS," Martin said. "We'll also be providing transportation for students who don't have a way to get to (CCC)."

Additional steps that Clovis High School will take to prepare their students for college and the workforce include increasing the number of courses that lead to a certification and paying for Advanced Placement (AP) testing for their 1,500 students.

Martin said the PED is requiring New Mexico high school students to complete at least one AP, online or dual credit course in order to graduate.

Geni Flores, coordinator of bilingual education at Eastern New Mexico University, said high schools need to be encouraging the under-performing students in order to improve those grades.

"If we could get to a point where we assumed all kids were gifted rather than letting the kids that test as gifted be allowed to enroll in AP courses, we can improve," Flores said.

She feels all students should have access to the advanced courses.

"I think when we draw these divisions, between the students who can and can't, that often keeps kids who possibly could make it from trying."

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