New security measures at schools across the district are among changes implemented for the new school year in the Moriarty-Edgewood School District. That’s according to superintendent Teresa Salazar.
Using money from general obligation bonds approved by voters, the district now has doors at all school sites that are locked once school starts. “The office will look at your ID, ask why you are coming to the school, and will buzz you in to the office,” Salazar said.
The district will also be using a program called Raptor to check the identification of visitors against federal databases of registered sex offenders, Salazar said. “The community has been asking for more security at schools, and we’ve gotten some real positive feedback.”
According to an information sheet provided by Salazar, “Raptor collects and stores your full name, date of birth, last four digits of your license number and photo when your ID is scanned. A copy of the ID is not retained.”
Those without a state-issued ID or who don’t want to participate, “will not be able to enter the school without a staff member with you,” according to that document.
The district is also adding a program at the middle and high schools called Sandy Hook See Something, Say Something, one of about eight districts in the state to add it this year, Salazar said. “It’s basically a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week reporting site, with live people on the other end,” she said. If a threat is found to be life threatening, that person “immediately calls police,” and otherwise reports it first thing in the morning.
The district is piloting new math textbooks in all schools. The new materials are based on New Mexico’s standards based on the national Common Core standards, Salazar said.
“It’s a little bit different between what they say is new math and Common Core,” Salazar said. “It’s how you get there that people have issues with. Kids have to understand conceptually what they’re doing, not just memorize algorithms.”
New construction in the district includes an updated media center and library at Moriarty High School, along with roof work and update of locker rooms, some of which date back to the 1970s, Salazar said.
Each school had a “wish list” with funding attached: Route 66 is getting new sod on its soccer field; South Mountain new playground equipment; Moriarty Elementary is having work on landscaping and safety concerns on the playground like mulch under equipment; Moriarty Middle got new paint in the gym and new fencing; and Edgewood Middle got new dirt fill for the parent drop-off area, Salazar said.
Renovations at the high school are “98 percent complete,” she said, except for work in the gym, which is expected to be finished next spring.
Student population in the district has continued to hold steady or grow slightly in the past few years, meaning no funding cuts this year. The district has added three elementary school teachers and a security person at Moriarty Middle.
“I think it’s going to be a great year,” Salazar said. “We still have a few teaching openings, but nothing like surrounding school districts. … We’re excited about that. We have some great new hires, and I just think it’s going to be a great year.”