Morenci's educators received some shocking news when they looked at the testing results through the Northwest Evaluation Association. It's a test program that measures each individual’s level of learning—not to compare one student to another, but to pinpoint weaknesses.
The test pointed out some significant weaknesses in reading and mathematics skills at certain levels. Too many students are failing to comprehend what's essential to advance successfully through the grades.
Sure, it's a cause for concern, but that's certainly not where the story ends. Staff members now clearly see where problems exist and they aim to make changes.
Superintendent Mike McAran faced a similar predicament when he led the Tecumseh school district. Changes were made and skills improved. That's what will occur here, too.
The act of investing in the expensive test program alone shows that Morenci is serious about making changes. One of the first moves McAran made was to hire a reading specialist to work with children in the younger grades. That won’t lead to instant improvement across all levels, but starting with the youngest children, skills are going to improve.
Don't think the school's academic challenges mean that teachers aren't doing their jobs, but it does indicate that teachers will make some changes in how they work with children. It's not just the students who are learning. Staff members, too, will acquire new methodology, and changes will follow.
The attitudes of the school administrators say one thing: There's a problem; we're going to fix it. That alone counters the concerns about the current low standing in several areas. It shows that the situation is going to get better.