Wynne Coleman

Attending her final meeting of the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education a few weeks short of completing her four-year term, Wynne Coleman listened as her fellow members showed their respect.

Her District 1 seat on the board will be filled by the winner of the Nov. 2 race between Gary Tripp and Patrick Monroe Brenner.

Board member Catherine Cullen said she became a good friend of Coleman during their time together, and that, “You accomplished so much while serving the board.”

Like Coleman, Cullen opted not to run for re-election. Her District 5 seat will be filled by Jessica Tyler, running unopposed

“Thanks for everything; I learned a lot from you,” added Jeffery Morgan, while Noreen Scott said, “It has been a joy serving with you … (I appreciated) the knowledge you brought to the board.”

Board President Amanda Galbraith credited Coleman for having done her “due diligence to try to better our district.” Even though the two didn’t always agree, Galbraith said she knew Coleman “want(ed) to make the Rio Rancho Public Schools the best it can be.”

“My experience on the board has been priceless,” Coleman said, before leaving the Zoom session. “It has been a privilege to serve… (I am) grateful for the support from the people in the district.”

Of course, there was other business on the agenda:

  • Superintendent Sue Cleveland told the board a contract is being ironed out to allow Premier Medical Group to provide COVID testing of RRPS employees and students in a timely manner and at a convenient site, although not necessarily on a school property. The New Mexico Public Education Department will pay the cost, as well as rental for a non-school site.
  • Three high school teachers were named Lynda Kitts Formula for Excellence grant recipients by the Rio Rancho Education Foundation: Cleveland High’s Daniel Woodrow, and Rio Rancho High’s David Ryan and Michelle Ouderkirk. The aim of the grants, named in honor of the late Rio Rancho Middle School principal, are to recruit and retain secondary math teachers in the district.
  • The board happily accepted the donation of 15,000 reams of copy paper, folding tables and some steel-mesh carts donated to the district by the new Amazon warehouse in west Albuquerque.
  • Board members adopted the Open Meetings Resolution, an annual task; selected Morgan, after he volunteered, to serve as the district’s representative to the state School Boards Association Board of Directors; approved the lone bidder to supply various-sized tents for outdoor events in the district, including band and choir practices; and adopted a resolution requesting an extension of the deadline for the PED’s proposed changes to the K-12 social studies standards.

Galbraith also read most of the public comments, something she hasn’t done in the past. Eight of the 10 dealt with parental objections to masks being worn in the schools.

The board’s next regular meeting is slated for Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Hooray: Bands and choirs back performing

RRPS has announced that its performing arts students and teachers will present concerts, plays and recitals in person.

RRPS has COVID-19 safety protocols that will be in place for these performances.

To keep students safe:

  • All students will be masked during the performances.
  • Students will be socially distanced from one another.
  • Band instruments will be equipped with instrument bell covers.

To keep the audience safe:

  • Audience members must wear masks over their mouths and noses while indoors.
  • Audience members are asked to sit at least 6 feet apart, unless they are part of the same household.
  • Depending on the performance, entire rows of seats may be taped off in order to ensure proper social distancing. Audience members are asked not sit in these areas.
  • Announcements will be given prior to each performance reminding all in attendance about masking and social distancing.

Social studies curriculum seeks public’s input

The NMPED would like public feedback and comments on their proposed Social Studies Standards, last revised in 2009.

The state extended the public comment period on the updated social studies standards through Friday, Nov. 12. This includes an additional 15 days beyond the legal requirement for review and comment.

Written comments may be submitted:

  • By email to rule.feedback@state.nm.us
  • By regular mail addressed to John Sena, Policy Division, New Mexico Public Education Department, 300 Don Gaspar Ave., Room 121, Santa Fe, NM, 87501.
  • By fax to 505-827-6520

In addition, the public may speak about the proposed standards, as well as two other proposed rule changes, at a public hearing from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 12 in Mabry Hall in the Jerry Apodaca Education Building, 300 Don Gaspar Ave. in Santa Fe. Speakers will be encouraged to submit written comments and then have up to three minutes each to speak.

To learn more about the NMPED’s proposed Social Studies Standards or read through the proposed standards, visit https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/literacy-humanities/social-studies/

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer