The Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education received a favorable report on the 10 days of extended learning added to the 2020-21 school year at its meeting Monday evening.
The 10 additional days of instruction, along with after-school virtual tutoring and another 80 hours of professional development for teachers, were meant to help students in kindergarten through 12th grade catch up from the pandemic and resultant hybrid and virtual-only learning that had mixed reviews. The extended learning also kept clubs and activities available for secondary students.
Virtual tutoring attracted as few as one student per session to as many as seven. At least 800 students participated once or more, with middle school students offered in-person tutoring.
Forty-seven elementary, 26 middle school and 29 high school teachers helped with the before- or after-school tutoring, sometimes on Saturdays, according to Elementary School Improvement Officer Janna Chenault.
The state paid for the district’s extended learning program. Chenault said there was enough money left over for Fine Arts Executive Director Kurt Schmidt to install an “Arts of Success” summer program. The program filled up with 100 morning students, 100 afternoon students and a waiting list of 150 students for art, music and physical education.
The school board also:
• Changed the 2021-22 school calendar, giving staff and parents the weekend of July 30-Aug. 1 off, and having staff report Aug. 2. That move changes Presidents Day, Feb. 21, from a holiday to a school day.
“It’s hard to lose days (off) in the summer,” board President Amanda Galbraith said.
• Extended, in a 4-1 vote, the almost-$54,000 contract of lobbyist Chris Balzano. Board member Wynne Coleman questioned the amount paid to Balzano “in light of budget cuts,” and said the New Mexico School Boards Association could take care of the district’s needs in the legislature.
“He has done a real good job for our district,” Cleveland said.
• Approved having two “on-demand” roofing contractors — National Roofing and Roof Care, both in Albuquerque — for emergency issues, such as leaks and flooding.
The board’s next meeting, in-person at the district office, is set for 5:30 p.m. June 28.

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer