Jon Austria/The Daily TimesNew Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera tours Lydia Rippey Elementary School on Thursday.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera tours Lydia Rippey Elementary School on Thursday.
FARMINGTON — Everyone in New Mexico has questions about the state's new school grading system, but the answers start here.

In the first of a series of meetings held statewide, Secretary of Education-Designate Hanna Skandera will hold a question-and-answer session Thursday with local community members.

"Schools serve everyone ... Let's all be in the same room," said Skandera on Tuesday.

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Farmington Municipal Schools CATE Center at 301 N Court Ave. in Farmington.

In advance, the secretary asked that all attendees fill out an online survey that will give her a better idea of what the audience wants to focus on in its discussion.

The seven-question survey can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NMPED_School_Grades_Survey_Farmington.

The survey is for attendees from all districts in the Four Corners, though similar or identical surveys also will be posed to communities prior to their own meetings.

Meetings already are tentatively scheduled in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Roswell, according to Larry Behrens, spokesman for the Public Education Department.

Schools received grades based on the new A-F system for the first time this year.

The state graded based on test scores, ability to improve test scores, and also overall learning environment. Graduation rates and ability to prepare students for a college education or career also was incorporated into grades for high schools.


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A total of 831 schools received grades, with only 35 schools receiving an A. Of the remaining schools, 190 received a B, 278 received a C, 256 received a D, and 72 received an F.

The grades and the system itself have garnered much discussion, among which is a bounty of criticism.

While educators have had multiple opportunities to discuss the grading system, parents and community members have had fewer opportunities, Skandera said.

The Farmington meeting is expected to last until 11 a.m. Thursday.

"We want the public to have plenty of time for people to ask questions," Skandera said.