Finding The Right Schools and educational opportunities for each family member is an important part of any move. This chapter outlines Curry and Roosevelt counties’ public schools system, private schools, charter schools and home schooling criteria, as well as local libraries and higher education institutions. To be enrolled in a New Mexico school, a child must be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1 of the school year. Those wishing to register their child in school should bring the following to the school office: a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s age, and the child’s previous school records and immunization records. For more details on New Mexico’s minimum vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at www.nmhealth.org. Check with the school for additional requirements.
In 2010, New Mexico, along with the majority of other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Education Activity, adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. At present, national Common Core State Standards exist only for English language arts and mathematics though New Mexico has state standards across the full curriculum. For more information, visit www.corestandards.org.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is very important, so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source to learn about a school district’s statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your child: what they liked and what they didn’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.