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APS announces new attendance policy, dress code, schedule pick-up, Open House info By TERESA LEMON Community Living Editor Artesia Public Schools Superintendent of Education John Ross Null, would like all parents and students in the Artesia Public Schools to be aware of the passage of HB 236 by the New Mexico Legislature and the impact it will have on school attendance in the State of New Mexico.

“HB 236 is going to impact our current attendance policy,”

Null said, “and we will be communicating with parents on the changes that will be taking place.”

In the meantime, Mike Worley, assistant superintendent of elementary education, and Danny Parker, assistant superintendent of secondary education, are beginning their new initiative, “Attendance Matters: Count Me In!”

In a letter that will be sent home to the parents and guardians of APS students, Worley and Parker convey that showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school.

HB 236 was signed into law in April and takes the place of the Compulsory School Attendance Law. HB 236 enacts the Attendance for Success Act, providing for prevention of absences and earlier intervention for students who are absent or chronically absent and providing a process for prevention of absences, early intervention, specialized supports, and referrals to the Children, Youth and Families Department when necessary.

The Act also requires data collection and use by the schools.

Null wants parents and guardians to be aware of forthcoming policy changes that will take into account “all”

absences except those deemed “official” by the district.

A first reading of the district’s attendance policy will take place during the APS Board of Education meeting Monday, Aug. 12, and Null says the new policy could be adopted as early as September.

“But that will hinge on further guidance from the Public Education Department and their requirements and recommendations for adherence to the bill,” he said.

The bill calls for more intervention at the school level and defines 18 days absent as “chronically absent.” Different mediation methods between the school, the student, and the parent/guardian will be enforced at the nine-days and 18-days absent marks. Should a student reach absentia of 35 days, he or she would be reported to the Children, Youth and Families Department.

Null would also like to ensure that all students, parents and/or guardians are aware of the new dress code policy, which was adopted by the board over the summer, and upcoming times and dates for schedule pickup and Open House and orientation events.

Artesia Public Schools Student Dress Code The following must be adhered to:

• Shoes must be worn at all times.

• The hemline for shorts, dresses and skirts must be of sufficient length to cover body parts in a manner appropriate for school.

• Spandex-type material, Yoga pants, or leggings are prohibited when worn as outer clothing. An outer garment (shirt, sweater, dress, skirt, shorts, etc.) must cover Spandex, Yoga material, or leggings, and the outer garment must be of sufficient length to cover body parts in a manner appropriate for school.

• Pant stride and waistline must be in the normal position.

Sagging clothing is prohibited.

• See-through or off-theshoulder clothing is prohibited.

Tops, shirts and blouses must be of sufficient length to cover the top of the trousers, skirt or shorts if the student’s hands are raised above the head. Bare midriffs are prohibited. Revealing tops such as halter-tops, spaghetti straps, half-shirts, tank tops, and muscle shirts are prohibited.

Tops, shirts and blouses must be one complete piece on the front, back and sides (i.e., no cut-outs, rips or tears). No bras, bralettes or bra straps may be visible.

• Clothing featuring inappropriate wording or pictures is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to pictures, emblems, words, colors and styles of clothing that are lewd, offensive, vulgar, obscene or sexual in nature; that advertise or depict tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or any other substance prohibited under state or federal law; or that refer to, symbolize or promote racism, violence, or cult or gang activities.

• No student on or about school property or at any school activity shall wear, possess, use, distribute, display or sell any clothing, jewelry, emblem, badge, symbol, sign, or other item which is evidence of membership or affiliation in any gang or that promotes violence against others.

• Excessive piercings, spiked jewelry, or jewelry creating a health or safety hazard or distraction are prohibited.

• Chains are prohibited.

• Tattoos that are lewd, offensive, vulgar, obscene or distracting to student learning are not allowed to be visibly displayed at school or school activities.

The district and school-site discipline matrices should be utilized for dress code violations.

When possible, a student should correct a dress code violation immediately and return to class.

In-School Suspension (ISS) and/ or suspension may be warranted for certain or repeat infractions.

Artesia Public Schools Schedule Pick-Up and Open House/Orientation Information The first day of school for all schools in the APS is Tuesday, Aug. 13, with the exception of Grand Heights Early Childhood Center, which will conduct screenings Aug. 13-16 and hold a Meet the Teacher Day from 1-3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, before beginning classes on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Meet the Teacher Day for all first-graders will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at the students’ respective school.

Hermosa Elementary School and Yeso Elementary School have also scheduled Meet the Teacher Days for 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at the schools.

Students entering Zia Intermediate School, Park Junior High School and Artesia High School may begin picking up their class schedules this week.

Zia Intermediate Zia Intermediate students may pick up their schedules according to the following schedule:

• Sixth-Graders: 9 a.m. – noon and 1-3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 • Seventh-Graders: 9 a.m.

– noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 Students must have a parent/ guardian with them to receive their schedule and ensure all contact information is current.

Students entering the seventh grade must also have had their T-Dap and Meningococcal vaccinations prior to picking up their schedule. Updated shot records must be presented.

Sixth-grade students will also be able to purchase their PE shirts and shorts from the PTO during their schedule pick-ups.

Zia Intermediate will hold Open House at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19. Parents will be able to meet their children’s teachers and obtain information on their classes. Parents should report to the north gym first for a short introduction from principal Larry Combs.

Park Junior High Park Junior High School students may pick up their schedules according to the following schedule:

• Eighth-Graders: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 • Freshmen: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 6 Park will hold an Open House from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12.

Artesia High School Students who have recently moved to Artesia and will be attending Artesia High School for the 2019-20 school year are encouraged to enroll in the AHS Guidance Office.

AHS students are asked to collect their schedules and parking permits (bring completed parking permit forms and $5 fee) in the Commons Area, according to the following schedule:

• Seniors: 8 a.m. – noon Monday, Aug. 5 • Juniors: 8 a.m. – noon Tuesday, Aug. 6 • Sophomores: 8 a.m. – noon Wednesday, Aug. 7 Students who have fees or fines from the previous school year will not be able to pick up their schedules until those fees are paid in full.

AHS orientation will be held at 8:17 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the old boys’ gym.

Students must meet dress code requirements. Seniors are asked to enter through the southeast doors (near the tennis courts); juniors through the northeast doors (near the band park); and sophomores through the southwest doors (inside Morris Field).