Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, December 8, 2000
Block scheduling dispute at high school continues
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - The question of block scheduling at Pecos
High School remains a hot topic among teachers and officials with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD, and will again be discusses next Thursday, during the school board's
regular monthly meeting.
The subject was discussed at the November regular school board meeting.
Several teachers spoke on behalf of the current school schedule, which
is "modified block" schedule.
According to PHS teacher Nancy Russell, teachers, students and parents
overwhelmingly support staying with the school's current "modified block"
Russell said that school administrators plan to recommend to the school
board that the schedule be changed to a seven period schedule, which has
been employed in the past by P-B-T ISD.
Superintendent Don Love defended plans to revert to the old scheduling.
"My concern is the falling of TAAS scores at the high school," he said,
adding that administrators have been looking at the different schedules
and have gathered a lot of information on which schedules work the best.
"This is something we've been looking into," said Love. "We want to
do what is right for the kids, we'll be looking at the different schedules
and it will be discussed again at the next school board meeting."
Love said high schools in Monahans, Fort Stockton and Alpine which have
run block scheduling have returned to the traditional seven-period class
schedules for their schools.
Under the present system, the day is divided into five classes. The
first and last class of each day is about one hour and meets every day.
In between there are three class periods of about 1½ hours each.
Classes during these periods meet every other day so that a student will
have one set of three classes on "gold" days and second set of three classes
on "purple" days.
According to Russell, most teachers teach first and eighth period classes
and also teach two of the three 1½ hour periods each day, leaving
one 90-minute period for preparation.
"Teachers need this time to prepare for their classes," she said.
Russell was on the committee formed in 1994 to look into block scheduling.
At the time the district was under a "period" schedule with kids going
to the same classes every day for about an hour.
"We did the research, visited other schools, talked with teachers and
administrators, and brought back the information to the board," said Russell.
"The result was our recommendation that the district move to block scheduling
and the school board followed our recommendation."
"The benefits of block scheduling are tremendous. This type of schedule
benefits students and our tests scores over the last five years are evidence,"
"I think this is an administration decision," said board vice-president
Bates said that as far as scheduling, the administration wants to do
what is in the best interest of Pecos High School. "It's not a board decision,"
said Bates. "All the principals at the schools are the ones that make the
academics and discipline decisions, so it's Danny Rodriguez', responsibility
to decide what is in the best interest of the students," said Bates.
Board member Steve Valenzuela said that it seems like the teachers are
acting on rumors. "It doesn't really make a difference which schedule the
students are on, as long as the children have the best schedule _ what's
best for the students," said Valenzuela. "I think the decision will be
what is best for the students."
Russell said that the year after Love was hired as superintendent, he
modified the block schedule system to include a ninth period.
"That was a disaster. The next year we modified the schedule again to
include the one-hour first and last periods we have now. This is not as
good as a true block schedule, but it is much better than the eight period/day
schedule that the administration wants to implement," she said.
Russell is also a member of the Campus Improvement Committee or CIC,
which is a state-mandated committee known statewide as a Site Based Committee.
Every campus has one and it consists of the principal for the campus, teachers
and community members, she said.
In the last meeting of the CIC, high school principal Danny Rodriguez
told committee members that the only two choices were either more heavily
modified block schedule or a seven-period day.
"I personally welcome any and all comments, both for and against the
scheduling," said school board president Louis Matta. "Some of the proponents
have not been telling the whole truth, though, I've heard a lot of stories."
The school board's position is addressing the falling TAAS scores and
that's our main concern, according to Matta.
"We will listen to the recommendation of the superintendent and administrative
staff before we make a decision," said Matta. "I personally haven't made
a decision one way or another."
According to Russell, the district's plan for modifying the current
block schedule consists of having teachers teach one more class. Instead
of having one free period each day for preparation, teachers would have
one free period every other day.
"A preparation period is necessary for effective teaching," she said.
"The district might be able to get by with fewer teachers this way, but
the students' education will suffer," she said. "This is not in the students'
The consensus of the CIC is that neither of these options is acceptable,
according to Russell.
Russell is also a member of the Scheduling Committee _ an informal committee
of teachers that started meeting when they heard that the district was
considering modifying the schedule.
"The positive effects of block scheduling like we have now far outweigh
the negatives," she said.
Russell also said that students, teachers and parents had been surveyed
as to their preference of scheduling.
According to the survey, 510 students, 216 parents and 44 teachers supported
keeping the system as it is compared to 16 students, six parents and three
teachers supporting a change back to an eight-period day schedule.
"CIC has met and they have come to us with their findings," said Love.
Love said that the research the administration has done on scheduling
for the high school will be presented to the board at Thursday's meeting,
set for 6 p.m. in the P-B-T board room.
Commissioners preparing for long meeting
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners have a lengthy agenda
to go over on Monday, with nearly three dozen items listed for discussion
and action when they meet at 9:45 a.m. on the third floor courtroom of
the Reeves County Courthouse. The public is invited to attend.
The commissioners are expecting a long day, and already have a 6 p.m.
start time scheduled for discussion and action in a Public Hearing on Reeves
County's Parks and Recreation Master Plan. It's one of the last of the
35 agenda items listed for the meeting.
To start off on Monday, commissions will discuss a letter of intent
between Reeves County and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center;
DRG Architect request for payment invoice no. 218-support building finish
out; DRG Architect request for payment invoice no. 219-expense reimbursement;
Banes General Contractors request for payment no. 2-racquetball court and
Banes General Contractors request for payment no. 3 _ support building
The group will also discuss and take action to authorize extending the
five-day limit on vacation time for Reeves County employees; RCDC assistant
warden contract between Reeves County and Manuel Gomez; FY 2001 holidays;
storage for courthouse departments; request for proposal #19-00 general
liability insurance; request for proposal #20-00 auto liability and physical
damage insurance; request for proposal #23-00 real/personal property insurance-heavy
equipment insurance; request for bids #24-00 asphalt-oils-emulsions; request
for bids #25-00 discarded food products; request for bids #26-00 surface
aggregates; request for bids #27-00 motor fuel-oil-antifreeze; request
for bids #28-00 janitor supplies; request for bids #29-00 inmate clothing;
request for bids #30-00 employee uniforms; request for bids #31-00 inmate
food and kitchen supplies; request for bids #34-00 dental services; #35-00
request for proposals for physician-medical director services and #36-00
medical laboratory services.
In other business the court will discuss and take action on modification
of bid award No. 33-2000 inmate restraints-GT Distributors, Inc.; bond
and oath-Yvonne Abila; Reeves County Road and Bridge maintenance plan-working
session and Reeves County Health Care-employee benefits-working session.
Under regular business the group sill discuss and take action on reports
from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel
and salary changes (RCDC); minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly
Workers preparing for lighting ceremony
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - Final touches were being done outside the
Reeves County Courthouse and Reeves County Jail this morning, to make sure
everything was in order for tonight's Christmas lighting ceremony.
The Courthouse lights will be turned on after the Christmas parade tonight,
beginning around 6:45 p.m.
County employee Erasmo Acosta said preparations to light the entire
courthouse, jail and surrounding shrubs and trees began about the middle
Acosta said the county had to do some rewiring in order to accommodate
the number of lights being strung.
"We had some help from the electrical department from the RCDC," he
Acosta said Pecos Fire Chief Ray Pena and Joe Valdez were the people
who helped with the rewiring.
As soon as the rewiring was finished, Acosta and Pena started putting
up the thousands of feet of Christmas lights.
Randy Baeza, Administrative Assistant to County Judge Jimmy Galindo
started a program this year called "Sponsor a Tree," allows organizations
to decorate a tree around the Courthouse.
"We're trying to get some organizations to help light the trees," he
Baeza said seven organizations participated this year.
"I hope we have more participation next year," he said. "Some organizations
had to take two to make sure all of them were decorated."
Baeza said next year they would start preparing for the Christmas lighting
earlier to make sure everything gets done.
Acosta said many lights were used to cover the Courthouse and jail as
well as all the shrubs.
He said approximately 125 boxes of lights were used on the shrubs, about
50 strands of lights are on the trees and about 750 feet of lights were
ordered for the jail.
Acosta said he just replaced broken bulbs on the lights that cover the
Today, Acosta and Pena started double-checking everything so the lighting
would go smoothly tonight.
They started setting timers so the lights would come on everyday at
6:30 p.m. and shut off at midnight.
Acosta said the lights would come back on at about 6 a.m. and shut off
again at 7:30 a.m., everyday.
"So you actually get to see them early in the morning or at night,"
The lighting ceremony will begin after the parade finishes on the Oak
Street side of the courthouse.
Line up for the parade is 5 p.m., at the Pecos High School parking lot,
and it will begin at 6 p.m., starting on Jefferson and will travel down
Eddy Street to Third Street and then turn down Oak Street to the Courthouse.
One of area's oldest cemeteries known by two different names
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of
features on historical graveyards and funerals in the Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - The Cowboy, sometimes called Pioneer, Cemetery
is located west of Mt. Evergreen Cemetery and northeast of Greenwood Cemetery.
It is one of the oldest in this area. Many of the markers are weathered
and it is difficult to read the inscription. One seemed to say that the
child was buried in 1880 or 1888. This was before Henry Ford invented his
Model T auto. I thought that you would see horse and wagon tracks; however,
an old timer thinks that he remembered a quarter inch rain in 1910 that
washed out the tracks.
This is part of section 18, Block 5 H&GN and was transferred to
the Mt Evergreen Cemetery, Inc. which then established the perpetual care
cemetery. For some unknown reason, the County Judge assumed that the land
belonged to Reeves County and began burying people in the area that is
now known as Greenwood Cemetery. Mt. Evergreen people took offense at this
and negations were started that eventually resulted in Reeves County providing
the water for all the cemeteries.
Paul Coody maintains Cowboy Cemetery with some donations from people
who own plots in the there and plan to use them when their time comes.
Mr. Coody thinks that the owner of that area did not plan to transfer the
entire area to Mt. Evergreen but mistakenly did so. He also is having trouble
using water when he wants to and that is a subject that I dare not get
While discussing with some friends what the ancient ones placed in the
graves of their people to prepare them for their after life such as clothes,
tools, food etc., they all felt that I should take a truck load of fire
extinguishers with me. With that unkind remark, I decided that they would
no longer have the privilege of reading my exciting stories about graveyards.
There will be a new series next week. "How to pick better friends."
Band Boosters to hold meeting Monday night
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - The Pecos Eagle Band Boosters will meet during
a "Called Meeting" at 7 p.m., Monday, in the band hall at Pecos High School
All members are urged to attend this very important meeting.
PECOS, December 8, 2000 - High Thursday 71. Low this morning 41. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 30 to 35. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Saturday:
Partly cloudy and warmer. High 65 to 70. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Saturday
night: Partly cloudy. Low 30 to 35. Sunday: Partly cloudy and warm. High
around 70. Monday: Partly cloudy and cooler. Low around 30. High 45 to
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise