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Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum John Ross Null reported Monday to the Artesia Public Schools Board of Education on the 2015-16 NMTEACH Evaluation Plan for Certified Personnel, the 2015-26 New Mexico Assessment Inventory, and plans for Wednesday’s Staff Professional Development day.

Null reported there are revisions to the NMTEACH Evaluation Plan. “Based on review of last year’s scores, meetings with principals and teachers, and personnel from other districts,” Null said, the decision was made that “some revisions were in order.”

“Ideally, a teacher’s evaluations are based on what they are actually doing in the classroom and based on students’ achievement and what they are actually teaching,” said Null.

He reported the first change made was to the “group A teachers,” those who teach subjects that directly affect SBA or PARC assessment scores as well as those involved in teaching students reading that will directly affect how those students do on the assessments.

“In general for middle school and high school teachers, we are using ‘end of course’ exams,” Null said. “We have not used end of course exams before. In the past, that percentage of a teacher’s evaluation was based on the student’s achievement on the discovery assessment. And we decided that end of course exams are more appropriate for the evaluation process.”

Null clarified for the board that the end of course exams would be “Public Education Department approved exams” and not exams that are developed by each individual teacher.

The next changes were made to the evaluation process of “group B teachers.”

“Group B teachers were previously being evaluated based on how the student performed in reading and math on the SBA and now PARC, and very little if any based on what they are directly doing in the classroom,” Null said. “For example: A social studies teacher’s evaluation last year was based primarily on how students did in reading and math. Indirectly, a social studies teacher is certainly helping students with their reading skills, but they are not directly teaching those kids how to read and how to improve their reading skills, and certainly not in the area of math. So it was decided that EOC exams would be a better fit for those teachers.”

Null added there is still school-level Value Added Measures (VAM) making up 15 percent of the teachers’ evaluations.

“We did believe that it was important that all teachers should have some skin in the game for a school’s grade, and a school’s grade is based in large part on that school-level VAM,” said Null. “So with a plan like this, the majority of a teacher’s evaluation is based on their subject area and based on the kids that they are teaching, but there still is a small portion that is tied to the school’s grade.

“We felt like that was important and the best plan for these teachers.”

Null noted there are some courses that are not linked to EOC exams, for example, wood shop. Therefore, those points will go down to the observation level. But the intent is if there is an EOC exam for that course, then those exams will be used in the teacher’s evaluation.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps sought the board’s approval for the purchase of video equipment for Artesia High School’s video tech crew in the amount of $29,950, which was approved by the board.

“This year, we are extending video streaming coverage to a few of the other sports and activities that we haven’t covered as much in the past, and in examining that equipment, we realized that it is getting older and we are actually needing more sets of it because of the coverage that we are going to be doing and games going on at the same time at different facilities,” Phipps said.

“Is this what can be seen on the radio?” asked Board President Lowell Irby.

“On Pecos Valley Broadcasting’s website, yes sir,” Phipps replied.

Phipps also requested board approval to purchase 13 Aquos boards for various classrooms throughout the district, stating some of the originally purchased boards, which are four and five years old, are wearing out and/or becoming obsolete and need to be replaced. Some classrooms also need to be supplied with boards, and some need to be held in reserve.

After much discussion about the lifespan of the boards – the new ones are expected to last seven to eight years with proper use and care – and warranty information, the board approved the $80,440.22 expenditure.

Phipps then requested the board’s approval to conduct an auction of items of which he will prepare a list to be presented to the board prior to the auction. He reported the district has “several warehouses full of antiquated items” that need to be auctioned off, some that should bring in a good amount of money to the district. Phipps was tasked by the board to also meet with the principals of each of the schools to make sure they would be auctioning off everything that needed to be sold. The board granted approval to hold the auction.

In his last item of business, Phipps sought the board’s approval to purchase a dust collection system for the Park Junior High shop class to replace a non-functioning system in the amount of $27,700, which was approved.

Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton announced the retirements of Manuel Calderon, maintenance assistant, and Nora Sanchez, counselor at Zia Intermediate; the resignations of Shablee DeMerritt, special education assistant at Central Elementary, Victor Marin, custodian at Hermosa Elementary, Darlene Marrujo, speech language pathologist apprentice, William Moss, special education teacher at Park, Shasta Scroggin, educational assistant at Grand Heights, John Tigert, head varsity softball coach at Artesia High, and Karla Trevizo, cafeteria cashier/cook helper at Roselawn Elementary; and the employment of Tamara Burnell, cafeteria helper at Grand Heights, Aurora Chavarria, custodian at Yucca Elementary, Jessica Huizenga, special education assistant D-level at Grand Heights, Sharon Mauldin, custodian at Hermosa, Cynthia Messick, special education inclusion teacher at Park, Sandra Pulido, head varsity softball coach at Artesia High, Misti Rodriguez, cafeteria cashier/scanner at Roselawn, Audry Sanchez, human resources technician for APS Administration, and Rachel Willard, school counselor at Hermosa.

Caton advised the board of Policy Advisory No. 116-117 regarding criminal background checks of employees and reporting to the state. Caton advised the Artesia Public Schools have already been in compliance with the requirements, and that the report has now been submitted to the state.

Caton then presented to the board a draft of Board Policy Advisory No. 115 dealing with employee medical leave and how to request donated leave from fellow employees, which was in need of several revisions. That matter was tabled in order for Caton to make the changes and bring them back before the board at its October meeting.

The board enrollment update for the current school year was also provided, with Caton reporting that as of Monday, the 20th day of school, the APS had 3,928 students attending, up 94 from 2014-15 and up 341 over a three-year period. He further reported Roselawn Elementary enrollment was now 215 students, which disqualifies that school from small-school funding, but that Central and Penasco were still eligible for the funding. Some of the classes in the other schools are a little larger than “we would like,” Caton said, but manageable.

Caton additionally sought the board’s approval of a resolution proclaiming the APS as a “National Public Schools that Work” district, stating the board “believes that well-funded, effective public schools are essential to prepare future generations to be productive members of society, to develop an educated work force to fuel American business, to support safe and healthy communities, and to provide opportunities to break the cycle of poverty” and “recognizes that public schools across the nation have a positive impact every day in the lives of countless students, that dedicated school board members and their employees work countless hours to provide for the needs of students, that public schools feed more hungry children than any other institution in America, and that public schools are dedicated to building the character of all students.”

Publicschoolsthatwork.org, according to the resolution, “is dedicated to providing all public school employees with frequent, factual, inspiring information to celebrate the good work and successes of public schools everywhere.” The APS “encourages all its employees to celebrate the successes of students and staff from all public school districts across the entire nation — whether poor or affluent, large or small, urban, suburban, or rural.”

In final business, Caton gave the board a construction update, which included, the substantial completion date of the Artesia High School Auditorium being moved from Sept. 29 – Oct. 13 due to change orders which included smoke/fire alarms. The roof of Zia is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 20, the security vestibule at AHS next year, and the construction of the new Administration Building is being pushed back to June or July 2017 based on the current economy.

Irby also noted the absence of board member Carolyn Shearman and began the meeting with a moment of silence in respect for the recent loss of Shearman’s mother.

The next meeting of APS Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 5.