All posts by Ariza Gomez

NMPED trades SAT for PARCC

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) will be New Mexico’s new exam required for high school graduation.

The SAT is an exam offered nationally that is administered by the College Board of Educational Testing Service. It is widely used for college admissions in the United States. The SAT tests students in math, reading, writing and language with the option of writing an essay.

The New Mexico Public Education Department chose the SAT to be the new replacement exam because it aligns with state standards and accurately gauges student achievement according to New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED). Besides, unlike the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the SAT isn’t as “high-pressure and counterproductive,” according to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. 

College Board and NMPED will be providing hands-on training and support to educators. “Educators will also have access to a wide range of free support material” and “can look inside the SAT to become familiar with what kinds of questions students will see and what the test measures,” said Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Gwen Perea Wariment.

New Mexico will be using the SAT as an assessment for students’ math, reading, and writing skills. While the passing score for each individual subject has yet to be determined, should students earn a high score in the exam, they will be able to mail their reports to post-secondary education and scholarship organizations free of charge. The test will be state funded, so it will be at no cost for public school juniors taking the test for the first time.

Changes To Graduation Requirements

CHS Head Counselor Guadalupe Armendariz

For many students, graduating has become even more challenging thanks to the requirements changing over the years. 

A decade ago, the conditions to graduate were different than they are today. Students only needed 23 credits to meet the qualifications created by the state according to the New Mexico Public Education Department. For the most part, the amount of credits needed for each subject have remained the same, such as, four credits in english, three credits in social sciences, and one credit in physical education. Except, students must also have received three credits in math, two credits in science, one of which should have a laboratory component and one credit for communication skills or business education. Plus, by the end of the year, the students should have acquired a total of nine elective credits. 

However, students graduating from 2021, and possibly on, have a different set of requirements to graduate as stated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. While the amount of credits needed for each subject- and overall- are the same as today, the testing assessments have changed. With the removal of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Science Based Assessment (SBA), the state finds it compulsory to now pass the Scholastic Assessment Test, better known as the SAT. While the passing scores for each individual subject has yet to be determined, they will be the new required tests to graduate. 

Though for the graduating class of 2020, they need not worry about any changes to the graduation requirements according to the Head Counselor of Chaparral High School, Guadalupe Armendariz. You’ll still need 26 credits to graduate. Needing to receive 4 credits in both english and math, 3.5 in social studies, 3 in science (2 with lab), 2 in a foreign language, 1 in physical education, 0.5 in health, and 8 credits for electives. Plus, one of the classes that the students will be taking must be an advanced placement (AP), dual credit, or distance learning. 

 Also, despite New Mexico removing PARCC completely, students graduating in 2020 will not be forced to take any other tests to meet the new requirements implemented by the state. So yes, passing scores earned on PARCC tests taken in their junior year will be counted and will be considered the test assessments needed for graduation as stated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. The passing score for PARCC is 725 for both math and english. Students must also earn a score of 1138 in the New Mexico Science Based Assessment (SBA) along with passing one of their End of Course exams (EOC) to meet graduation requirements. 

Additional graduation requirements include: students paying their debt, filling out certain forms, and fulfilling attendance policies. If students don’t pay back their debts, they are permitted to graduate, but the school is allowed to hold onto their diploma. Students are also obligated to fill out two forms: the Next Step Plan which must be checked over by their counselor and the Clearing Out form that has to be signed by their teachers and other staff members. Lastly, students must have good attendance, it’s the main reason that keeps students from graduating according to Armendariz.

Another New Assistant Principal

John Tullius
John Tullius

For the past two years, Chaparral High has welcomed a new assistant principal into their midst, and now this year, we have our latest addition, Assistant Principal John Tullius. 

Tullius is married and has a son along with two grandchildren who he “absolutely adores.” He was born in El Paso, Texas, but raised in Clint, Texas, “a farm town.” He moved to El Paso after graduating from Clint High.

It was there that Tullius went to the University of Texas at El Paso, better known as UTEP, where he double majored and earned his bachelor’s in both Mathematics and Kinesiology. Furthermore, he obtained his master’s in Educational Leadership.

Tullius managed to pay for college thanks to several academic scholarships he received and even a basketball scholarship. Despite gaining a grant for his skill in basketball, it wasn’t the only sport he played: football, track, baseball, and golf being among them.

Tullius worked as a P.E. coach at Parkland High and a math teacher at Desertaire Elementary. He even worked as an assistant principal in Bel Air Middle School and Loma Heights Elementary. “Yes, I enjoyed it, I like teaching and education. Everywhere I have worked, I enjoyed, yes,” he said. 

Tullius came to Chaparral High because he “wanted to be an assistant principal at the high school level.” He said, “I like it so far. The people I work with make a difference. The students are the same everywhere, still enjoy them, it was the staff that mattered to me.”

“I’m positive, hardworking, and a family man,” Tullius said, “because I want to be a role model for my family. Show them I work hard and am always in a good mood to make my family happy. Always make the most out of a situation, good or bad.”