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Montezuma-Cortez High School announces highlights for new school year

Esport league is one of the new updates coming to MCHS for the 2024-25 school year. (Journal file photo)
The high school is also looking for a few more teachers to fill open roles

As Montezuma-Cortez High School leadership spoke this week with The Journal about plans for the new school year and how families can prepare.

Esports league

This year, the high school will start an esports league, allowing students to compete in Nintendo Switch tournaments with other schools in the state. Principal Jennifer Boniface said they hope to find an in-house coach, but will consider hiring from the community.

“We are starting up an esports league and trying to give more kids an avenue to get involved,” Boniface said. “LOR has been a big support and will be helping us with startup costs to get this program off the ground.”

Registration support

MCHS will offer registration support July 25, July 29 and during the school day on Aug. 1. School staff also will go to Towaoc to help parents and guardians register their students for classes.

“Parents can come and get support to update their information and ensure their children are officially registered for school. All students must be registered each year even if they haven't moved schools. This process will be available online from home, but we will be ready to help on the dates listed above,” Boniface said.

Back-to-school night

On Monday, Aug. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., The school will host a back-to-school night from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 5 so that parents and students can meet teachers, pick up schedules, tour the building, and sign up for clubs, sports and activities.

Food and prizes will be available.

Incentives for attendance and academic success

Boniface said the high school plans a greater focus on incentives for attendance and academic success.

“This year, we raised our overall attendance percentage 4%, and we would like to see this grow even more,” Boniface said.

For example, M-CHS will build “academic wall” to showcase student achievements, like walls dedicated to athletics and drama.

“We want to do more to highlight what our students are doing and achieving,” Boniface said.

Meetings and committees

School administrators will start a monthly student/administration meeting to receive feedback from students and build relationships.

School Accountability Committee meetings will continue.

The SAC started with three mothers, but participants now fill a room. Boniface said she would like to “get as many parents involved in what we do as possible.”

At these meetings, parents and community members come to strategize and find solutions to issues at the high school. They share data, information and events.

“We started to build a pretty solid group by the end of the year,” Boniface said.

Dates for SAC meetings can be found on Facebook, in school announcements and on the school’s website calendar.

Support for ELL and gifted students

Boniface said it is a priority to improve English language learning, gifted education, educational support system and multi-tier system of supports. They plan to hire an ELL instructor who will work in the middle school and high school.

They also hope to restart the district’s knowledge bowl.

Concurrent enrollment and advanced placement

The high school continues to partner with Pueblo Community College to offer concurrent enrollment to students who want to earn college credits before they graduate from high school.

The school has several advanced placement options for students, including a health sciences pathway.

“We still need more students to enroll in these classes, so any student who is interested in the nursing or medical field in their future should talk to their school counselor,” Boniface said.

Teachers wanted

Boniface said the high school is looking for a few “highly qualified teachers,” specifically an ELA teacher, a math teacher and a CTE-certified wood shop/welding teacher. However, an applicant with a Bachelor of Arts degree has alternative licensure options that allow them to teach.

“If there are any interested applicants, we would love to talk to them. Even if they think they might not have the right qualifications but they have the knowledge and passion, we would love to have a conversation,” Boniface said.