RISD Board approves new high school graduation requirements

December 10, 2013 • Local News

The Roswell Independent School District Board [auth] of Education approved changes to district high school graduation requirements at its regular meeting Tuesday.

District Superintendent Tom Burris also announced during the meeting that the district will begin negotiations with educators’ union Roswell Education Association concerning the entire contract between REA members and the district.

The contract as a whole goes to collective bargaining every three years, though parts are up for discussion during interim years.

As part of changes to the district graduation policy, students will be allowed more opportunities to show competency in the subjects of reading, math, writing, science and social studies.

The board instated the changes in response to the New Mexico Public Education Department delaying implementation of statewide graduation standards.

Last month, PED announced it would permit districts to determine their own requirements for this school year.

“All of the flexibility that we’re receiving from the Public Education Department is helping us to have more and more of our seniors eligible for graduation,” Burris said after the meeting.

The district will now grant students “alternative demonstration of competency” for passing scores on certain standardized subject tests, in substitution of failing scores on other standardized tests of the same subject.

Students who fail a subject test in the state’s Standards Based Assessment test will be allowed to substitute a passing score in the same subject on the End of Course exam created by the state.

The SBA and EOC tests do not overlap on all subjects. SBA does not test social studies and writing, while EOC does.

Those who still do not demonstrate competency through state tests of a subject may take an EOC exam written by the district for the subject.

Burris said the district EOC tests have yet to be written, but will cover the same material as state EOC exams.

The board will amend graduation requirements again next year to align with state guidelines.

In other business, the interim principal of Del Norte Elementary School was introduced to the board. Andrea Edmondson is taking over for Curt Tarter, who recently retired from the district.

Military Heights Elementary School also has an interim principal, Heidi Shanor.

Former principal of the school Nancy Hill spoke during the public comments period of the meeting. She said she had been unhappy that the district moved her to the position of reading coach, and so she resigned.

She thanked the district for hiring her as an administrator, but said she had needed more support in her position as principal.

“I did everything that was asked of me,” she said.

Public comments also addressed concerns about a new teacher evaluation system being rolled out across the state by PED.

Burris said after the meeting that the district will advertise the two open principal positions in early 2014.

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