New school awarded a School Improvement grant
There will be plenty of new things for elementary school students in the Monument Valley area in the coming school year, including a new school, a new administrator, several new teachers and a new federal program.
Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary School at Monument Valley will open its doors in August. The new facility, located next to Monument Valley High School, will replace the aging Mexican Hat Elementary School.
Construction on the new building, in addition to a number of new homes for teachers, is nearing completion.
The new school also has been awarded a $1.2 million School Improvement Grant (SIG) by the U.S. Government as part of a federal program to turn around persistently low achieving schools.
The lowest achieving schools in the state are eligible to receive the funding. Bluff Elementary School is currently under a SIG grant that began in the current school year.
Lynette Johnson, Student Support director for the San Juan School District, explains that the grant will be used to improve instructional coaching, and implementing Professional Learning Communities. Signing bonuses and performance pay may also be used.
In other matters at the March 23 meeting of the San Juan School Board, a group of parents are concerned about heavy traffic in front of Montezuma Creek Elementary School.
They complain about the speeding vehicles in front of the school and are concerned that changing the road will increase speeds.
School officials said that they will look into the complaints and take steps to ensure student safety is secured. Signage and decreased speed limits were mentioned as ways to address the situation.
The school district is looking at another year of budget cuts. While the legislature generally maintained funding in overall categories, a cut in funds for a number of specialized programs may impact the school district.
Cuts in state funds include at-risk programs, all-day kindergarten, family literacy centers, accelerated learning programs, a student success block grant and reading achievement programs.
Cuts in federal funding may also impact the schools, including cuts in special education, reading grants and elementary school councilors.
The cuts will represent the third year in a row that budget cuts may be necessary.