Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, students across the country were taught virtually, then in a hybrid environment of virtual and in-person learning and finally in-person. These changes, although not ideal, were a part of life for teachers, students, parents and administrators alike.
Of the 15 largest public school districts in New Mexico, Alamogordo was ranked third behind Rio Rancho and Artesia based on assessments given to students in Spring 2022.
Students are assessed through the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which requires 95% of all students to be tested in reading/English Language Arts, math and science.
Testing is done among third through eighth graders, while 11th grade is tested for English Language Arts and math. For science, testing is done on fifth graders, eighth graders and 11th graders.
When compared to the 89 New Mexico school districts, Alamogordo is ranked 26th overall, 31st in English Language Arts, 27th in math, 17th in science and 24th in kindergarten through second grade reading.
"That's not where we want to be, not where we're going to be but I'm proud. I'm so proud of our students' and our teachers' hard work," Alamogordo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Moore said.
Moore presented the Spring 2022 assessment results at the Sept. 21 school board meeting.
"We are encouraged by some of the data coming out of Alamogordo (particularly at some of the elementary schools) and look forward to partnering more deeply with the district to understand what programs and tactics are serving their students so well," New Mexico Public Education Department Research, Evaluation and Accountability Director Matthew Goodlaw said.
Alamogordo Public Schools has about 4,500 students enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year.
The data shows marked improvement in student performance over a five year period for the district. In 2018, the New Mexico Public Education Department assessed school districts on a grade system based on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test.
At that time, two of Alamogordo Public School's 15 schools received an "F" grade, while three schools had a "D", six had a "C", two had a "B". Just two schools were given an "A" grade.
One of the F schools was Alamogordo High School.
A month later, Alamogordo Public Schools' Superintendent Adrienne Salazar retired, and officials appointed Jerrett Perry in the interim. The District also saw other changes to its administrative team, including several school principals.
From September 2018:Alamogordo Public Schools attempt to find ways to improve student achievement
Perry announced the District would attempt a "moonshot" in the 2019 school year, focusing on student development and filling vacant positions within its schools. Things at the school were improving, when in 2020 the spread of the coronavirus prompted closure of public schools statewide.
From September 2020:Alamogordo parents talk about their experiences with virtual learning
Alamogordo schools pivoted to virtual learning, a move that prompted both praise and criticism from local families, but has since returned to in-person classes.
Statewide the impact of COVID-19 school policies was seen in the most recent student performance data, with continued gaps in student achievement reported. New Mexico was also ranked last in the U.S. again for education in 2022.
Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.
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This article originally appeared on Alamogordo Daily News: Alamogordo Public Schools third best district in New Mexico