School looks to improve

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At the Socorro Consolodated Schools Board meeting Monday night, school board members met at Zimmerly Elementary School to receive updates about school improvements, plans and processes for the 2012-2013 school year. School board secretary Dawn Weaver asked questions regarding the areas in which the school scored poorly by state standards. The categories were “current standing,” “school growth” and “growth of the highest performing student.”

To deal with those concerns, principal Susan Comiskey said teachers are fitting in an intervention, working with students in groups and individually. They use the Accelerated Reader program in math and reading areas to improve scores by taking tests.

According to the head of teachers, Janice Jaramillo, students scored lowest in math. So in the computer lab, students are focusing on improving these scores using the Math Facts online program. This is a math game targeted for all students, she said. Using Math Facts, students take a mini test to determine what they retain and areas they need to work on. The students then play games in Math Facts and earn coins. Math Facts is available online so students can do it at school or at home, she said.

“The grading doesn’t give us a true indication of what each individual student is doing as far as their individual growth,” Superintendent Randall Earwood said.

Earwood said there are a lot of flaws in the school grading process. One of the flaws is looking at an individual class on a yearly basis and comparing it to the next class coming up. Earwood said he cautions people on how they look at the data. The state is currently working on the flaws and refining it to be a better process and he advised everyone to keep that in mind.

Earwood also said he is working with New Mexico Tech to create a teacher resource center with science materials that teachers can check out. Through the center, teachers will be able to pick up a kit to use in the classroom.