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Grand Heights teacher Tammy Anderson, left, accepts the Success Maker award from Tate Branch and Dr. Crit Caton. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education received a report Monday from Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Federal Programs Danny Parker on the school district’s grades that were released recently by the Public Education Department.

“I have no explanations for the reason that Yucca went from a B to an F,” Parker said, “but we are going to celebrate our successes and work on the places that we need to work.”

In the report, Central Elementary received a C; Grand Heights Early Childhood Center a C; Hermosa Elementary a B; Penasco Elementary an A, Roselawn Elementary an A; Yeso Elementary a B; Yucca Elementary an F; Zia Intermediate a B; Park Junior High a B; and Artesia High a C.

“There are so many variables that affect the grade,” said Caton, “and we are happy when we do have good grades, but when you put a whole lot of stock on a one-time test on two subjects, it doesn’t give you a whole picture of a school.

“These students are tested in math and English; what about the arts, what about ag, what about all these other subjects that we teach our kids? I’m happy when we score an A, and as Mr. Parker said, if there’s some deficiencies that we need to look at, we certainly will do that and try to raise the scores where we need to raise them. We had an 87-percent graduation rate this last year, and so we’re going to build relationships with kids and do the best we can every single day.”

The board also received a report from Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Services John Ross Null on the 2018 Summative Evaluation Scores that were released last week – the APS had 10 teachers in the exemplary range (compared to five last year); 92 in the highly effective range; 122 in the effective range; 26 in the minimally effective range (down from 33 last year); and one in the ineffective range.

These scores are based on student achievement; principals’ observations in the areas of creating an environment for learning, teaching for learning, planning, and preparation and professionalism; teacher attendance; and parent/student surveys. The student achievement data comes only from SBA (science in grade 4, 7 and 11), PARCC (math and reading in grades 3-11), PED end-of-course exams, and iStation (reading in grades K-2).

Superintendent of Staff and Operations Thad Phipps reported to the board that six out of the eight student activity buses now have wi-fi installed on them in order for travelling students and teachers to access the internet for assignments on the road.

The district-wide intercom system is also fully functional, which give administrators the ability to communicate with any and all schools at the same time in the event of an emergency.

The Raptor System, meanwhile, will begin Monday, which will require all visitors to all campuses to present a valid form of identification in order to be admitted access to the campus. The EAGL Gunshot Detection System is also operational, and the cafeteria e-fund for the school system is online, which allows parents to go online to pay for their child’s lunch through the district’s website.

The board also recognized Tammy Anderson, kindergarten teacher at Grand Heights Early Childhood Center, as the Tate Branch Success Maker for the Month Monday.

Anderson was nominated by one of her students, Brooks Glover, who wrote, “I want to thank Mrs. Anderson for helping me have goals and winning playdough during quiet time. Being quiet is very, very hard for me.”

“Mrs. Anderson is a great teacher and another reason why Artesia is what Artesia is as far as having success in our schools,” APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton said.

“Mrs. Anderson has been in a kindergarten classroom for over 30 years, and her techniques for getting children to follow teachers and to love kindergarten have been working since day one.

“Grand Heights is certainly lucky to have her, and we don’t ever want to see her leave.”

Anderson received a bouquet of roses, a plaque, and a check from Tate Branch Dodge.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the Administration Building, 301 Bulldog Blvd.