Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

'Our Work Has Paid Off'.(Final)

Byline: Chris Ramirez Journal Staff Writer

* After splitting into three academies, Rio Grande High seems to have avoided possible state takeover

Jessica Rael, 18, was one of the doubters.

She, like many in the South Valley last year, didn't think that a dramatic redesign of Rio Grande High School could reverse its longstanding reputation as a failing school.

Now, she's a believer.

"It's all different," said Rael, a senior. "We've got ... new teachers, new principals. And it's all made a difference. People want to go to school now."

Students spent much of Wednesday reading, writing and boning up for end-of-the-year exams. But last week also marked the final days of Rio Grande's first year as a trio of academies one for freshmen and two for sophomores, juniors and seniors.

A lot is riding on the success of these academies, as Rio Grande was facing possible state takeover in 2003-04 if it did not improve its probationary rating.

Al Sanchez, the school's operations principal, said Sunday the school recently got word that Rio Grande may have done just that.

School officials were told Friday that Rio Grande ninth-graders scored high enough on the state TerraNova test to meet state standards for a second consecutive year, Sanchez said. …

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