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RRPS kicks off its 20th year ‘pretty smoothly’

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  • Rio Rancho High School students rush to their first class in the humanities building on the first day of school Wednesday. A spokeswoman said the district started its 20th year with no problems. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

  • Rio Rancho High students exit their buses on the first day of school Wednesday. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

  • Students socialize in the Rio Rancho High courtyard before the start of the first day of school. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

  • Todd Benedetto and his daughter Julianna Benedetto, 11, look over registration paperwork at Rio Rancho Middle School on the first day of school Wednesday. The family had to register late because they were on vacation. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Rio Rancho Public Schools’ 20th year is off to a start with no problems, according to spokeswoman Kim Vesely.

The district’s sixth- through 12th-grade students returned to school Wednesday and elementary students will report Monday.

“I think from everything I’m hearing, it went pretty smoothly,” Vesely said. “I think some schools, like Rio Rancho High, were still registering students.”

The district ended last school year with about 17,150 students, but Vesely said it’s impossible to know yet whether enrollment has increased.

Before the recession, the district’s enrollment was increasing by hundreds of students each year. Growth has slowed to about 1 percent or less every year.

Vesely said the district began using a new registration process, so it might take longer to gather information this year.

Parents must now pre-register students online shortly before school starts.

Until this year, pre-registration was done at the end of the school year.

“Some families wait until the beginning of school to register,” Vesely said. “We also have some who move out who do not withdraw from our district. We expect a warm body count after elementary students start next week.”

Elementary teachers spent this week individually testing each student in reading and assessing other skills.

Doing so, she said, helps teachers tailor their instruction.

“They want to see where they are academically,” Vesely said. “It allows them to hit the ground running when students get to school Monday.”

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