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APS revisiting graduation schedule

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools is revisiting its graduation schedule after concerns over conflicts with sporting events were raised.

At a meeting last week, Scott Elder, APS chief operations officer, and Julie Sanchez, associate director of athletics, presented a graduation-ceremonies proposal to the Board of Education. The proposal had tentative dates for comprehensive and magnet high schools for the week of May 11.

But some parents and student athletes from Albuquerque High School had concerns about the schedule, saying the ceremony times conflict with state competitions.

According to APS, state competitions that fall in that week include baseball, softball, golf and track and field.

Board of Education President David Peercy said the sports conflicts are a districtwide issue that have come up before.

“The point is we need to solve the problem because this goes on every single year,” Peercy said.

In May, Volcano Vista senior baseball players even had a makeshift graduation with full caps, gowns and eye black after a state tournament quarterfinal game.

During the meeting, the board and Elder discussed rescheduling graduation week but both said moving it up a week and pushing it back seven days posed potential issues that ranged from interfering with classes to worry about securing a facility at the new time.

In the end, staff needed time to explore logistics and further consider tweaks to the calendar, Elder said.

Superintendent Raquel Reedy chimed in, too, saying re-creating the schedule is “complicated” and more time is needed for further consideration.

“We want to make sure that everyone is safe and that everyone has the best experience they can,” she said at the meeting. “But I don’t think we can make an immediate decision.”

In an email to the Journal, APS spokeswoman Johanna King said a new graduation proposal will be presented to the Board of Education on July 22.

She said typically graduation week falls on the second to last week of school. This past year graduation week began on May 13.

King also said that in the past APS has brought this up to the New Mexico Activities Association, which schedules the events.

Dusty Young, NMAA associate director, said the NMAA calendar is scheduled five years in advance to allow for schools to plan.

And he added the annual competitions have been held the same week of the NMAA calendar, which he said kicks off July 1, for 15 years.

Young said any changes on the NMAA side would have to be brought before the board of directors and voted upon.

In 2017, staff members and some athletic directors did request changes to move spring championships back by a couple of weeks but the board of directors didn’t approve it, according to Young. He said that request aimed to prolong the season and was not graduation related.

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