Local schools ready for students

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune Clockwise from left, Mario Cabreras and Bo Cravy, of Newt & Butches Roofing, pass some tectum decking to Jared Ryan and Caesar Ramirez Friday morning as they work on the new special education building at Marshall Middle School in Clovis. According to the workers, tectum decking is sound-deadening material built into roofs.

Alisa Boswell

With school starting for the Clovis and Portales districts this month, local school officials are saying students can fill their backpacks and file in because the two districts are ready for them.

From re-paved parking lots and new computers for some schools to complete makeovers for others, a lot of changes are awaiting local students when they return for the new school year.

“Technologywise, we’ve worked on updating some of our cabling and fiber optics capabilities,” Clovis Superintendent Terry Myers said. “So hopefully, some of our computer-assisted instruction will be faster.”

Myers said no Clovis schools’ faculty members were lost due to the recent budget cuts and many roles have been filled by new faculty at the high school and the administrative offices.

“We’ll be working very hard in math and language arts after AYP results,” Myers said. “We had improved, but not enough to make AYP standards, so we’ll be working very hard on student performance in those areas.”

Myers said along with $80 million worth of construction, including a new middle school being built at Wilhite and Thornton streets, other schools have received technology and building upgrades, such as Ranchvale, Cameo, Mesa and Zia elementary schools.

One of the biggest projects for the district is Marshall Middle School, where $6 million of construction is currently under way.

“It’s going to be incredible when it’s done,” said Jay Brady, Marshall principal. “I am so excited about this school. We’re trying to create an environment of achievement.”

Brady said along with improvements to the main building, a new special education building is being constructed to meet the needs of severely challenged students. Other buildings are being completely remodeled, such as the band hall, cafeteria and the outdoor courtyard area.

Michael Terry, Student, Teacher, Accountability Reporting System coordinator for Portales Municipal Schools, said school district is in for a lot of changes with technology this year in the form of 50 new iPads for students with special needs, 15 Smartboards, 40 new computers and 60 new computer monitors.

“With the planning that was put into place last year, we are looking at a smooth start for this year,” Terry said. “We’ll be ready.”

Terry said a meeting will be held Aug. 11-12 for teachers to discuss weak and strong areas in the district in order to provide better education for their students.

The biggest project under way for the Portales district are the renovations in progress at the high school, which include a $1.3 million roof project, a renovated front hallway and a renovated cafeteria.

Principal Melvin Nusser said the roof of the school will be better insulated with new piping and electrical wiring.

“It’s been a lot of planning and a lot of man power,” Nusser said. “You walk these hallways and think, ‘Oh my gosh, are we ready?’ And yes, we are.”

Clovis Municipal Schools will begin classes Aug. 22 and Portales Municipal Schools will begin Aug. 15.