Dec. 2010 Column

 It’s been over a month since I began clearing my calendar in order to spend a full day each week at one of our schools. So far I have been to Broadmoor, Mills, Stone and Coronado elementary schools and by April, I will have observed the day-to-day operations of all 17 Hobbs campuses.

 I have two reasons for interacting with our staff and students. First, I love being around kids. My second reason for bringing the mountain to Mohammed is the information I gather from staff. So much more is revealed in a face-to-face conversation versus an e-mail or phone call.  For that reason, my office has been asked to not contact me – short of an emergency – on the one day of the week I’m in the school buildings.

During visits so far I’ve seen a great ambassador program in which students escort younger classmates to the door after their parents drop them off for school in the morning.  I’ve taught fourth-graders how to divide, made gingerbread houses with kindergartners, had a roundtable discussion with fifth graders about the dress code (they don’t like the rule which requires them to tuck in their shirts) and eaten lunch with second graders.  
I’ve also answered questions for teachers and staff about textbooks, budget issues and the sixth-grade transition to middle school. And I probably was most touched by reading blocks I observed at Coronado. So much is being accomplished for children who enter our schools at all levels of reading ability. To watch some of these children take the mental step of transforming letters into a word for the first time is truly an amazing process.

 Although I’ve been to only a fourth of our schools so far, it’s evident I need to make this a habit in the future in order to get a true picture of what is happening in each classroom. My visits and observations have confirmed my belief that Hobbs Municipal Schools offer a quality education.  Teaching is a difficult task in the best of situations. Accountability imposed by No Child Left Behind has made the job even more demanding. I can honestly tell you, however, that the new mandates have not curbed the enthusiasm of HMS staff.  After all, educators have been held accountable since the inception of public education by parents who are deeply invested in their child's learning.

 The goal of every campus is to meet adequate yearly progress standards established by the state.  But our greater goal is to make sure that each child grows academically. My focus is to ensure that every child who graduates from Hobbs High School has the skill set to further his or her education and/or enter the work force.

I do not pretend that HMS is perfect. But I am convinced that our staff cares deeply about education. All want to take the necessary measure to ensure each child grows academically and becomes a contributing citizen to this great nation. Through teamwork between the schools, the student and the parents, we can make certain that the Hobbs High School seniors who walk across the stage for graduation in May – and every class after that -- are prepared to embark into the world as contributing society members.






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