Update on CTE also part of board meeting

Following the singing of the national anthem by the 16-member Cleveland High School Concert Choir — recently named by the New Mexico Educators Association as its All-State Choir (directed by Jadira Flamm) — the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education got down to business at its Sept. 25 meeting.

The board heard about some upcoming surveys — for those in grades 3-5, and in grades 6-12 — and for teachers and staffers. If necessary, responses may be taken into consideration for strategic planning.

In a CTE update, the board heard 16 high school sophomores are learning welding, being taught in-person twice each week by CNM instructors, as well as getting online instruction about metallurgy and blueprint reading,

Twenty-one computer information systems students are taking two CNM classes — learning IT (information technology) essentials, including disassembly and assembly of computers, hardware and network administration.

Patrick Martinez, executive director of facilities, showed the CTE design schedule and some demolition and additional construction at the CTE building — expected to soon get a proper name (with more than 160 suggestions). He also provided tentative floor plans for the building.

“I think it’ll be really cool when we get a real name (for the former Data Alliance call center),” Superintendent Sue Cleveland said.

“It’s a large project with a large budget,” Martinez said, projecting completion in January 2025.

In response to board member Noreen Scott, the student capacity will be 560-600. And, no, Scott was advised, classes in artificial intelligence are not in the plans.

Martinez did not have any information on the future automotive building, which will be built by CNM.

The board also:

  • OK’d extending a memorandum of understanding between RRPS and the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, with four schools to receive 15 weeks of more than just dance programming: Puesta del Sol and Colinas del Norte elementary schools this fall; Sandia Vista and Maggie Cordova elementaries in the spring.

“My only wish is we could expand it to all our schools,” Cleveland said. “All of them would love it. … It’s just a fabulous program.”

  • Heard details on $10 million of bonds just sold, and the terms; and
  • Approved contracts for moving services with two vendors and a contract with Conterra Broadband for “very technical procurement” for fiber infrastructure for the IT department. C

The board adjourned for a 56-minute executive session, then returned to the boar room without disclosing the topic or anything resolved in it.

The board’s next meeting is slated for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9.

More from RRPS/A deeper look

RRPS is working to help students feel supported and cared for. RRPS’s strategic objective, related to the upcoming surveys, under “Safety and Wellness” is to “create a welcoming, nurturing, inclusive and safe environment that supports all students and staff.” The district’s critical initiatives are focused on strategies to help improve student and staff mental and physical health and implementing strategies that foster safe, respectful and supportive school environments.

Among the goals in meeting the needs of students are:

  • Relationship mapping: An intervention to ensure that every student has a strong, positive connection with at least one teacher or staff member, which can help improve student well-being and academic success;
  • Student grief support groups: To provide a safe space for students to process and grieve their losses;
  • Learning opportunities for families: How families can learn more to support their children’s social and emotional well-being; and
  • Adding counselors: At the elementary level, to assist in counseling duties and provide regular “Character Strong” lessons for thoughtful, healthy and kind human beings and self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

During the 2023-24 school year, all schools will implement relationship mapping as part of their attendance and behavior plans to help schools identify students who do not already have adult connections and provide opportunities for adults in the school to build positive relationships with those students.

Student grief support groups start Oct. 25 and are for all students and run from 5:30-7 p.m.; each meeting will begin with dinner for the students. Held in the Ernest Stapleton Elementary library, they will be held every other Wednesday through May and be led by trained RRPS counselors. The groups are reserved for students struggling with the loss of a person (not, for example, the loss of a pet, job loss or incarceration of a parent). If you know of a student who might benefit from participating in this, reach out to the counselor at his/her school.

At noon on Oct. 19, RRPS will partner with UNM Health Sciences’ Rio Rancho campus to offer a Parent University on “Helping Your Child Manage Their Fears and Anxiety.” This session will be live-streamed on the RRPS YouTube channel and help parents understand when a child’s typical worries and fears become anxiety and how to navigate those difficult feelings — early identification and intervention can make an enormous difference.