Opportunities abound at Barranca

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Those that get the shortest of summer vacations probably work the most hours, but you’d never think that from talking to Barranca Bobcat Brad Parker. “I love being at Barranca Mesa Elementary School and can’t wait until our students return,” Parker said.
While this is only Parker’s second year at Barranca Elementary, his experience is vast.
Parker will begin his 26th year in education with 19 years in school administration ranging from pre-K to 12th grade. He has seen it all having been a science teacher at Santa Fe High School, Los Alamos Middle School and, “three years in the Belly of the Beast (PED),” according to Parker.
Parker is very proud of how students and staff handled the sometimes difficult task of standardized testing. Parker believes that by taking the tests seriously and combining excellent teaching resulted in improvements in both their reading and math scores.
Plans are also in the works where staff will be looking at how to formally, systemically and systematically use data to effect changes in student learning and believes this professional development will make a huge difference in student learning.
Along with staff development come volunteers. No school would be successful without them and Parker has plans for that, too. He is already proud of how the community supports its schools and said he would love to start a “Grandma,” program in the lower grades where students could receive a lot of one on one attention that only volunteers and parents can give.
“Volunteers are the heartbeat of our school,” said Parker. “Volunteers provide the additional service our students need for maximum learning. As community members come into the school to volunteer they get the vision of the school, gain excitement from working with our most precious resource, our students, and go away energized. I love volunteers.”
Its students, staff and volunteers combined that allow Barranca to offer so many opportunities.
On its events schedule are the Bobcat Bonanza, the Bobcat Bolt, concerts, plays, academic displays, academic programs initiated by parents and outpourings of love and attention for teachers and students by the community.