After the end of the first quarter of our school year, we had some sobering news. Like many districts across the state, we saw that the percentage of middle school and high school students that had at least one failing grade was significantly higher than in past. It was a reminder to continue to identify additional opportunities to increase engagement, participation and assignment completion at every level.

One of those observations was the correlation between successful students and regular Zoom participation. Last week, many parents started receiving daily telephone calls and emails to alert them when their students were not attending live Zoom classes. On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit with two ENLACE classes at Mayfield High School and I asked them if the parent communication was motivating them to attend more classes. The majority said yes. Hopefully, this will prompt increased participation from all students. In addition, each school has developed a plan of action to encourage students to do the following: 1. Attend class daily, 2. Complete all assignments, and 3. Seek out help from a teacher or tutor. We have expanded tutoring opportunities for all students, and teachers are ready, willing and able to help every student who needs it. Remember, the nine-week grading period is only the halfway point. Grades are not recorded on transcripts until the end of the semester and there is plenty of time to recover. Please make sure to sign up for tutoring or for parent support classes. If you’re not sure where to start, all of the information you need can be found at www.lcps.net.

In other news, Tuesday is Election Day. Last Friday I went to vote with my parents and two of my children. My youngest daughter voted for the first time, and I wanted her to remember that we had three generations of our family meet at the polls to cast our ballots. Some of our Student Advisory Council members created a promotional video encouraging eligible students to get to the polls and exercise their right to vote. They did a great job, and if you haven’t seen the video, you can find it on our LCPS Facebook page.

The races getting all of the attention are the national races, but remember there are numerous state and local races to consider, bond questions for universities including New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College, state libraries and senior care centers, a constitutional amendment about the Public Regulation Commission, and retention of judges for local, district and state courts. Take the time to find a polling place, read about each candidate and issue, and vote. Information about polling places, candidates, and other questions on the ballot can be found at www.nmvote.org.

Voting is our voice. If you were unable to vote early or you didn’t mail in your absentee ballot, go to the polls on Tuesday and vote. You can drop off your absentee ballot or vote in person. If you can, meet a family member at the poll and cast your votes together!

Dr. Karen Trujillo, Superintendent at Las Cruces Public Schools