Cortez’s participation in April student testing expected to rise

Sunday, March 26, 2017 10:37 PM
Sam Green/The Journal

Students at Montezuma-Cortez High School, seen here in 2015, begin state assessment testing during the first week of April. Almost all students are expected to participate in the test this year.

State assessment testing begins next month for Cortez schools, and administrators are anticipating improved student participation on standardized tests.

“Our projection for PARCC testing is very high,” Superintendent Lori Haukeness told school board members at their meeting Tuesday.

PARCC, or Partnership For Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, testing starts April 6 for Montezuma-Cortez High School. Haukeness said fewer than five families have expressed interest in their children opting out of testing.

Cortez Middle School Principal Glenn Smith said nearly all his students will participate.

Low participation at the middle school and M-CHS, which has hurt the district’s standing on state accountability measures, according to school officials. With this year’s results, they hope to get a better picture of how students are progressing.

Board considers safety measuresAlso at last week board’s meeting, the board approved several measures relating to school safety.

A $32,480 capital reserve budget item was approved that will fund replacing 190 door handle and hardware sets in district buildings. The upgrade is required to meet accessibility and safety code compliance, according to Re-1 Facilities and School Safety manager Jamie Haukeness. Colorado state law requires door knobs that a staff member can quickly lock in an emergency, he said.

An initial cost estimate for the door upgrades was more than $100,000, but maintenance staff members were able to get the price down significantly, Jamie Haukeness said.

The board also approved a $3,605 capital reserve budget item for protective film that will go over glass windows at Lewis-Arriola and Pleasant View elementary schools, as well as Cortez Middle School.

The film will prevent the glass from breaking, especially if a possible intruder were to try and break the windows, Lori Haukeness said. The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to donate security cameras for use at those buildings, she added.

Board calls for safe routesBoard members also approved a resolution supporting safe pedestrian and bicycle routes to M-CHS. The resolution didn’t include a specific route plan, but board members said there are safety issues along Sligo Street near the high school.

“This doesn’t ask the city to do anything specific ... but encourages them to consider safety,” board President Jack Schuenemeyer said.

Schuenemeyer and other board members said they would like to see bike lanes or other safety improvements on the way to the school, especially at the intersection of Sligo and Main streets.

Since Main Street – U.S. Highway 160 – is maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation, that agency would share some responsibility with the city of Cortez on safety upgrades at the intersection.

An access control plan for the stretch of U.S. 160 that goes through town was adopted by the city of Cortez and CDOT last year, City Manager Shane Hale said Wednesday. The plan is a long-term vision for safety improvements and the layout of the road, but there is no timeline for when the plan will be implemented.

The plan includes the addition of bike lanes along the highway, including at the Sligo intersection, Hale said.