The state’s grading system for public schools provides parents with information about school performance. It is important to understand that letter grades are but one indicator of how schools and students are doing.
Last year, the achievement test data which makes up a large portion of a school's grade was based, for the first time, on the new PARCC examinations in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. Therefore, our growth this year was measured for the first time against the baseline data established last year.
We have already begun the process of analyzing the grades closely and identifying areas where improvement is needed. District and school administrators will work together to develop concentrated plans to address these areas.
We saw some drops in grades this year which was expected as the weighting of proficiency for the school grades increased by 5%. In addition, we anticipated additional drops at the elementary level based on the PARCC scores for 3rd and 4th grade ELA. Last year was the first year we administered the PARCC test via computer and not paper-and-pencil for 3rd and 4th grade students. This drop is a trend we are seeing nationwide.
Rio Rancho Public Schools has determined that technology needs to be a priority for the district. We need to ensure our students have access to and experience with technology. We have made the commitment to dedicate $7 million from our bond to address this significant need. In addition, we have adopted a new ELA curriculum that blends digital components and hard copy text and is built to meet the demands of Common Core State Standards and PARCC.
Our high schools were standouts once again this year with Rio Rancho High School, Cleveland High School and the Rio Rancho Cyber Academy earning A’s. Our alternative school, Independence High School maintained a C. In addition, Rio Rancho Middle School improved earning an A.
We have identified three schools that are missing data—Colinas del Norte Elementary, Sandia Vista Elementary and Rio Rancho Middle School. We will appeal these grades and work with the PED to ensure this error is corrected as it would mean additional points for these schools.
It is imperative, that we continually evaluate ourselves and ensure we are meeting the needs of all students. Our administrators, teachers and staff will continue to do admirable work for the children in our district.
General information about school grades in New Mexico