RMS Changes: Kristie Medina has been named the new Raton Middle School Principal beginning October 28th. Ms. Medina is a resident of Raton and comes to the position after 14 years experience as a Special Needs Teacher and most recently, the Raton Public Schools Special Education Director. She replaces Mr. Cavazos who has been asked to serve primarily as an Administrator in Special Education.
Central Office: Ms.Robin Martinez was selected as the District Accounts Payable Officer. We had some very excellent applicants.
Students: At some point I am going to ask the Board to support another run at building and consolidating the elementary schools again. This time I will emphasize cost savings as well as operational efficiency and educational advantages to our students. I have been successful at passing a large Bond and consolidating Neighborhood schools in the past and believe with the right community leaders and approach, it can be done.
It would ultimately be what is best for students and community. We simply need to educate everyone.
Previously I alluded to the need for a schedule change. I will be asking the Board to support a weekly scheduling change for the district at some point. I have three goals that have to be non-negotiable if we ever expect to become a high-performing district. They are- 1) that every teacher is guaranteed at least one 45 minute daily preparation period to mitigate the numerous hours they put in for classroom preparation, 2) that each building is guaranteed a weekly 1.5 hours of Professional Learning Community (PLC) collaboration and 3)- that our scheduling change will comply with state requirements for instructional hours per year. The first is a moral obligation we have to our students, and staff. The second is essential if this district is to ever become a PLC Culture and the third, is the law. The A-Team has already narrowed our options to three. We will next survey our staff and offer school- house community meetings for other stakeholders, newspaper, radio, and school flyers will also be utilized.
Staff and Curriculum: The district has an Implementation Team for NM Common Core State Standards. There will be periodic meetings with Solution Tree over the course of the year. The meetings will be in the Raton High Plains Regional Education Cooperative(HPREC) and they have been very supportive thus far.
The law requires our staff to become certified in correct/safe procedures in physically restraining violent students. Some of us have already had the training and we have begun the process of prioritizing who we will be certifying over the next couple of years. It is called Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI).
Our volunteer Tech Staff completed eChalk training and have begun to improve our Website. We will continue to meet as a District Technology Team and establish short/long term goals for the district technology to enhance district and curriculum.
We will begin recognizing the Teacher and Support Staff of the Month at each Board meeting.
I volunteered out district to Pilot PARCC next spring in two grades.
I met with Wayne Armacost,Executive Director of the NRA Whittington Center. He is hosting a continuation of the Round Table Discussions on the District Safety Plan. This will be a collaborative meeting with first responders. He and others may present at future board meetings.
The district is working with HPREC for a "Race to Top" Grant.
The district signed a continuation grant for the Poets Activity we do each year.
Discovery Assessment is complete except for make-ups.
I am conducting a short Teacher Perception Survey on our administrators including myself.
Our Administrative team participated in a webinar on a service called PD360. I have used this web-based Professional Development Delivery for over a decade. It offers a multitude of in-service options for our staff, including NMTEACH and the NM Common Core Implementation and Standards unpacking.
Administrators can monitor the teacher's use and have them implement the recommended research-proven strategies while being observed. It can reduce our traveling and being out of the classroom. It can be accessed anywhere staff members have internet. The A-Team gave PD 360 a thumbs up. We will do a 30 day trial. Our staff may or may not be as motivated but it can be used solely as a Growth Plan Tool for Principals if nothing else. The HPREC is considering paying for this on our behalf.
Community: The district signed a MOU with the City that will allow our students to plant 7000 trees for the reclamation project around the lake. Almost finished with that project, Mr. Mark Honeyfield has been asked to have his classes assist with a downtown mural. It will be funded by one of the city betterment organizations but we will hold, keep and spend the approximate 5K. Mr. Honeyfield is heading this up.
Young Marines Program is off to s good start. The first recruit graduation is scheduled for November 9th, one day before the Marine Corps Birthday. The Obstacle Course is nearing completion. For those who don't know Cpt. Anthony Burk from the Raton Fire Department, is a member and serves as our Medical Officer. Warren Walton is helping out regularly, as is Ben Munden,Tony Goens, and other school staff.
Good news: Police Chief Terry Sisneros reported that we received approval from our COPS gRant. This grant pays 75% for 3 years of a School Resource Officer (Security Police).
I met with Ms. Barb Bonahoom, President of Raton Association of Educational retirees and her group. They strongly advocated for an Advisory Group comprised of retired educational retirees. I will meet with them regularly if they wish and we will share the minutes and recommendations with them regularly if they wish, as well as the Board and community. I hope some of them will serve on our committees:-)
Technology: We made ourselves eligible for some portion of 52.4 million of a statewide competitive grant for additional computers and computer-related equipment to assist in Computer-based testing next spring. We did this by completing a speed-test, submitting a current inventory and by convening our tech committee and submitting a Project 24 Survey of our district leader capacity. We will submit the grant when the windows opens.
Power School is finished except for the migration of JMAC data from this school year.
Sincerely, M. Neil Terhune, Ed. D.