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New teaching setup upsets parents

By: Patrick Hayes
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Valley View Elementary is one of Las Cruces Public Schools' oldest campuses and it struggles academically.

Stan Rounds has been its superintendent since February 2007 and said it's time for a change.

"We decided it was time to intervene," said Rounds, "and bring the JUMP program into Valley View Elementary."

Jump stands for Joint Ungraded Multi-Age Primary program.

However, the new plan calls for a new principal.

"It's unfair," said Dina Rea, who has two kids enrolled at Valley View Elementary.  "I don't think it's fair to lose a great principal."

Other parents said they should have been consulted.

"If you're going to come in with all this stuff without an explanation," said one student's mother, "you better expect us to blow up."

Next year's new principal, Dr. Arsenio Romero, sent students home with a letter in their backpacks.  It said the school will be adopting a "multiage framework."

That means kindergarteners through second graders will be taught together and third through fifth graders will be taught together.

According to Rounds, student-to-teacher ratio will remain the same and current teachers can stay onboard if they're willing to teach within the new system.  If not, they could be reassigned to another school in LCPS.

Superintendent Rounds said the program is being tested at seven other schools and it works.
Parents said they want an explanation and more transparency.

Tim Cuery has a kid who goes to Valley View and said, "I think we're at the bottom of the totem pole as parents."

He added, "I've never lived in a school district where parents were treated so shabbily."

Cuery and other concerned parents tried meeting with Rounds Friday morning but he was in a meeting.

Rounds said he plans on meeting with the parents next week to answer any questions.

The new system will begin on June 30.  If it is successful, Rounds said he's open to trying it in other LCPS schools.