April 2012 Column

  You’ve probably heard the official announcement by now: Hobbs Municipal Schools will open Heizer Middle School in the 2012-13 school year. With the opening comes the shift of the district to a true middle school model – one in which sixth through eighth graders will attend one of three middle schools while elementary schools will be limited to kindergarten through fifth grade. The new format will ease overcrowding in our elementary schools. The implementation of the system was delayed by a year because of a drop-off in state funding. While New Mexico’s economic recovery is on slow trickle, Hobbs is continuing to flourish.  As a result, plans are back on track for Heizer – which will be headed by Principal Zeke Kaney and Assistant Principal Rene Cantu – and a new generation of Heizer Hornets is on the horizon.

Tradition is strong in Hobbs.  The community surrounding Heizer will once again become familiar with the Heizer mascot, yet – as in this case with a true hornet - the official school colors will be Black and Gold.   Administrators have been working tirelessly to make sure all details are covered to ensure a smooth transition and staff has been assigned to the building.  The new Heizer staff met for the first time together at the HMS Training Center on April 4th.  The school district has also used the year-long building vacancy to renovate and update the school. Some of the improvements include replacing the ceiling grid and tiles, replacing all lockers and replacing all hallway tile (which will look similar to the Freshman High School design.) In addition, the school has new white boards, carpet, paint, furniture, exterior doors and upgraded security cameras, wiring, and network cabling.

Because Heizer will emphasize the study of Science and Math, administrators have applied for S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) grants.  During redistricting conversations, the overwhelming theme was to make sure we (HMS) offered a quality education in all three middle schools.  Parents and community members were more interested in the quality of education rather than the makeup of the student bodies.  

As is the case with the other middle schools, Heizer will implement team-teaching – an educational approach that unites teachers from different disciplines in tracking pre-assigned groups of students. These teachers will focus on incoming sixth-graders – kids who currently are accustomed to a small number of peers and one or two teachers at most. The shift to multiple teachers and seven different classrooms in one day can be overwhelming for the student. In addition, moving from an elementary school setting to a middle school can be unnerving for parents.  HMS is taking steps to make the transition as smooth as possible.  On Thursday, May 3, HMS will host a fifth- and sixth-grade transition to middle school night for parents.  Will Hawkins, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction will make some opening remarks and will be followed by building principals John Notaro (Highland), Donna Jones (Houston) and Zeke Kaney (Heizer).  Athletic Director Greg Haston will also talk about athletics and extracurricular activities.  A video “A day in the life of a Middle School” will also be shown.  HMS administrators will be available for questions following the presentations.  2012-13 will be the dawn of a new era.  Welcome back Heizer Hornets!
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