Dear TTCS community:
It is time for an update on our all school expansion. The Middle School campus is nearing completion. The 8 classrooms and Middle school office are getting new paint, new smartboards, new carpet, cleaning and new furniture is being assembled for classrooms. The Middle school office and the Middle School entrance are in process and remodeling will be completed in a few weeks. The internet wireless access, phones, and the security entrance and cameras will be installed within the next few weeks.
All projects should be completed within the next 4 weeks. After completion, we will be waiting for required final inspections for occupancy and fire safety. This should take place around the middle of October. If all goes according to our plans, we should have the “big move” into the portables during conferences and over the weekend of October 26-28 (no school on October 28th).
Again, if all goes well, we will stop transporting 8th grade students to Zona on the morning of October 29th. Please let us know (contact: Amber Romero) if you wish to have your child on the bus in the morning coming to TTCS. (If you have not signed up already there may be a wait list). Mr. Mark Kololkoff and Mr. Steve Torres will be teaching their 8th grade (level 3) classes in “Buildings #7 and #8”. Middle school students will enter the campus through the middle school entrance- not through the elementary school entrance. Parents with middle school students will use the middle school office for any questions or business regarding middle school.
I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to the middle school faculty and staff and our middle school students for their flexibility and patience during this “temporary setup” at the beginning of this year. As we adjust to the new campus there will inevitable start-up changes and challenges. However, by the 2nd semester we can more fully develop our middle school campus, the daily schedule (which may change), fully implement our program with new daily procedures and importantly the TTCS Middle School’s “ independent identity” can more fully develop.
Elementary school (k-5)
With the Middle School moving into their own campus building we will have increased classroom availability for our elementary school. The TTCS strategic plan includes a k-5 elementary school expansion, where over the next few years we will respond to the increasing demand for enrollment at TTCS by adding a 4th section to every grade. (have you seen all the new homes on the “southside”?) Depending on enrollment on the 40th day (the state official count day), we may begin to add sections to one or two grades in elementary school. This will depend on our ability to hire high quality teachers in the middle of the year and if we have enough funds to add sections in the mid-year. However we will make all attempts to add as many sections as possible at the beginning of the next school year in 2020-21. One possible advantage of this growth next year (2020-21), would be to add additional specials to elementary school (k-5) such as a technology “ special”(class) and teacher or a science “special” and science teacher. Again, this will only be possible with increased funds from increased numbers of students and a healthy allocation to support NM education from the NM legislature.
Unlike many schools and districts, TTCS is fully staffed with excellent teachers and we have added many new “ancillary staff” to meet the needs of our growing school. We have a nurse on duty 5 days a week instead of the 4 days a week last year, our counselor is here 5 days a week, instead of the 4 days a week last year, we have more social work hours for students and more speech therapists hours for students and we have increased the number of classroom assistants by FIVE!
Special Education is a federally required and federally funded part of public education. TTCS is well known for the excellent programs we have for all of our students and our Special education staff is well known as one of the best in the area. Because of our School’s growth and the increasing complexity of Special Education requirements, we have added two new, additional case managers to our school and we have a New Special Education director. Ms. Toeni Tillman.
Toeni comes to us from Virginia with extensive experience in Special education. One important new program we are “piloting” this year in several grades is called “co-teaching”. This type of setting for special education students is new to TTCS but it is a well established option. Often a very successful way of providing a more “regular” “least restrictive setting” for students in Special Education. Generally speaking, it is a requirement of all public schools nation-wide, to make every effort to have students in a regular “inclusion settings” and to not “pull students out of class” for special education services. We are in the initial weeks of this program and Our principals (Ms. Berg and Ms. Gray) and our Special Education Director (Ms. Tillman) are working with teachers to fine tune instructional practices and to provide teachers and Aides with as much training as necessary to help us achieve positive results for our students and our school. You will hear more from Ms. Tillman and teachers about this “ pilot program” as the year moves forward. We hope for great success for our students with this program as we try to replicate the success many schools have experienced with “co-teaching” in the past decade.
Extended year and “ELPs”
As you all know the school calendar and number of school days was increased for elementary school this year. Next year we are considering this same expansion for PK and middle school.
The extension at the end of the year will include many activities including , the talent show, career day and a new “creativity week”. Details will be announced in January. An immediate, and very positive impact of this legislatively provided “extended year” is the extended year after school FREE program (ELPs) We have well over 200 students in k-5 taking classes in: Sign language, French, cooking, handwriting, Jazz history, Journalism and many more. Stay tuned for the free classes that will be offered in the spring.
After school tutoring and Blended learning
Once again, TTCS will be offering free tutoring and Blended learning for grades k-8 after school.
Teachers will begin to contact parents and inform parents that tutoring is needed and or blending learning would be beneficial. Middle school students who need additional support in writing will have access (or be required) to attend a writers workshop after school, as well as math and ELA tutoring and Blended learning. Look for information from the middle school about when these support classes will begin.
TTCS has slightly less than 700 students this year in PK-8 with over 70 employees. The change this year has been challenging, but I am very proud of our talented staff as we have weathered the start of the year very well. As we settle into the school year we are becoming accustomed to new routines and schedules. When we get closer to the opening date for the new middle school campus, I will again update our community and invite everyone to an “opening ceremony”.
Thank you to everyone for your support and understanding through this growth process.