School districts draw letter grades from state
FARMINGTON — The Aztec, Bloomfield and Central Consolidated school districts maintained or saw improvement in their school letter grades, according to information from the state education department released today.
After a sharp increase in the 2014-2015 school year, the Farmington district saw half of its schools drop a letter grade or more for the 2015-2016 school year.
The New Mexico Public Education Department released the 2015-2016 school year report cards for the 849 state public schools today.
The letter grade scores are determined by a number of categories, including proficiency levels, growth in the highest- and lowest-performing students, school growth, and graduation rate.
Of the 46 schools in San Juan County, 16 improved their grade from the previous school year, 15 maintained their grade and 15 performed worse.
There were eight schools with letter grades of A, 17 with a B, eight with a C, eight with a D and five with an F.
After 14 of its 18 schools improved in the 2014-2015 school year, the Farmington Municipal School District had nine schools perform worse for the 2015-2016 school year. Six schools maintained their letter grades, and three schools improved.
The number of Farmington schools with an A dropped from 11 to six, according to data from state education department. Farmington Superintendent Gene Schmidt said the schools with an A that dropped to a B fell by only a small percentage.
“While a number of our schools did drop, the performance across the district is something we’re happy about,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt cited the performance of the district’s four middle schools, which all had A or B letter grades. Piedra Vista High School maintained its A grade for the fourth straight school year.
The New Mexico Virtual Academy saw its school grade drop from a C to a D. The online school is chartered through the Farmington school district.
The Bloomfield School District earned its first A letter grade ever after the Bloomfield Early Childhood Center improved its score from a C. Overall, four Bloomfield schools improved, two schools performed worse and one maintained its letter grade.
Bloomfield Superintendent Kim Mizell said she was happy with the improvement at the four schools, She said plans are being developed to improve the F letter grades at Charlie Y. Brown High School and Mesa Alta Junior High School.
“I’m pleased with the improvement because it indicates growth with our high- and low-performing students,” Mizell said.
Six schools improved, six schools maintained and two schools performed worse in the Central Consolidated School District.
Milo McMinn, the district's coordinator of data compliance, said he believes the district’s significant improvement in its Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exam scores for the 2015-2016 school year played a part in improving the letter grades at six schools. The PARCC exam measures proficiency in math and English for students in third through 11th grades.
CCSD had three schools — Newcomb and Tse' Bit' Ai middle schools, and Nizhoni Elementary School – receive an F grade.
Judy Nelson Elementary School earned an A for its first school year in operation. Grace B. Wilson and Ruth N. Bond elementary schools in Kirtland merged to form Judy Nelson Elementary last year.
Three schools improved, two maintained and two schools performed worse for the Aztec Municipal School District.
District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter said he was very happy that four schools earned a B letter grade, including Lydia Rippey Elementary School, which moved up two grade levels from a D.
“We felt they would come up, and we’re very happy with that,” Carpenter said about Lydia Rippey Elementary.
After scoring an A letter grade in 2014-2015, C.V. Koogler Middle School dropped to an F the following year. Carpenter said he was surprised a school could drop from an A to a F, and it was not a good reflection of the teachers and students at the middle school.
The Mosaic Academy’s letter grade jumped from a F to a C. The school is chartered through the Aztec school district.
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.