March 2012 Column

    Although we usually think of reflections as pertaining to the past, some of the most important reflections – think of a car mirror - allow us to see blind spots and prevent accidents from occurring. There is little doubt some of the greatest buzz in Hobbs has been associated with the growth of our county’s industry and population. Naturally that growth has found its way into our school campuses. 
    
Hobbs Municipal Schools experienced 3.5 percent enrollment growth in the last school year alone. In order to prepare for the 2012-13 school year, we will hire a company to predict enrollment through 2017. The company will also review the current condition of our school buildings.
    
Completion of recent construction projects depleted the final funds from the $47-million bond issue passed by voters in 2008. In addition to projects completed with bond money, HMS was fortunate to partner with the State of New Mexico to continue renovations at Hobbs High School.  The state of New Mexico (Public School Facility Authority) will continue to pay 54 percent of HHS remodeling costs, a major overhaul scheduled to continue through the summer of 2013. The remodel will encompass a $20 million transformation that will make HHS internally identical to the new Freshmen High School. HHS will receive upgrades that include electrical, technology, lighting, fire alarm, furniture, paint, flooring, drop ceilings and new lockers.
    
Academically, education is on the horizon of a major undertaking similar to Sputnik of the 1950s and “A Nation at Risk” of the 1980s.  Currently, educators in New Mexico base lesson plans on NM Content Standards and Benchmarks.  In 2010 an initiative launched by state leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education, created a set of standards which will be used exclusively across the United States.  The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are scheduled to begin implementation as early as 2012-13 for English Language Arts. Along with the common standards, an assessment is being created that will place all schools, nationwide on level playing field.  
    
    Hobbs Municipal Schools is fortunate to partner with the J.F Maddox Foundation to enable our staff to receive training on the implementation of the CCSS. This will be a five-year process that will entail revising our curriculum and creating lesson plans that are relevant to the CCSS.  Through this training our teachers will monitor the way we assess our student mastery of academic content.
    
As we look at our reflection and see where we’ve been, we understand the current A-F rating places undue negativity upon our great students and staff. Thus it is critical the reflection also paves the way for a future to see around a corner for safe travels and academic growth for our students.

 

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