The New Mexico Public Education Department released the 2017-18 school grades for New Mexico schools and while most in Taos County retained their previous grades, some schools have some work to …
As kids are starting to go back to the classroom, the New Mexico Public Education Department released the 2017-18 grades for every New Mexico school. While most schools in Taos County held steady from previous grades, others have some work to do.
Of the 22 schools in the county, five raised their grade from previous years while three schools dropped in the 2017-18 school year.
New Mexico's top education official said grades across the state are rising and that there were fewer F grades than in previous years. In addition, the rigor of the grades going forward will continue to increase as the bar is raised for future generations of students, he said.
"We continue to increase expectations," said PED Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. "It is harder for a school to earn an A or a B than it was two years ago."
Schools grades are based on a number of factors related to student growth as well as the controversial PARCC standardized test scores, although the scores are not a majority factor on the results. This is the seventh year schools have been graded on their performance and student growth. Schools are also graded on opportunity to learn, current standing, student improvement and school improvement.
In Taos County, some schools have overcome their past grades and made large strives to success.
A few schools are still on the track to get their A and B grades. Enos Garcia Elementary and Ranchos Elementary dropped from previous D to F grades for 2018. The rest of the schools in the district remains stable and unchanged in their overall grades.
In Peñasco, both the middle and high school upped their grades with Peñasco Middle School earning their first A grade from the PED.
Questa schools have some work ahead of them, according to Ruszkowski, as the district's junior high school received its fifth consecutive F.
"I do think that Questa is one of a handful of districts across the state that require immediate, urgent attention from the school board and if necessary from the Public Education Department as well," said Ruszkowski.
Charter schools also receive grades form the PED and Taos Integrated School for the Arts is currently celebrating their recently announced A grade.
"I think (the students) are doing really well," said TISA Director Rich Greywolf.
Greywolf attributes much of the school's success to the hard work of his faculty and staff, but also said having a permanent location for the school is major help. TISA had five different locations in the three years Greywolf has been overseeing the school and said the school's permanent location helps with stability and has added to their success.
Schools will have 30 days to appeal their grades with the state should their leaders disagree with the grade they received. The deadline to file the appeal is August 31. However, very few grades have changed in the past following a school's appeal, according to Ruszkowski.
For more in depth information on Taos County school grades, see the Aug. 23 edition of The Taos News.