Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



August 25, 2017

Jacque Ritchie

Mesa Alta students who scored big on the PARCC tests: (l to r) Cassidy Hoisington-Scott, Javen Chavez, Dr. Danny Jaques, Maggie Salazar, Shayli Durfey, Oviel Frias-Serrano, Marc Armenta, Enoch Jacobs. Not pictured, Elizabeth Flores.

On Friday August 18, at a welcome back assembly, the students at Mesa Alta Middle School learned they have one more good reason to hunker down and study for the annual PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests. A high score could mean a cool $100 bill in their pockets. That's right kids, if you score 780 or above and qualify as "Advanced," Dr. J will award deserving young scholars 100 bucks each. Dr. J, also known as Danny Jaques Ed.D, personally ponied-up the prize, explaining that he was inspired by a former student who he knew had the ability to score high on the test but lacked the drive to achieve more then a mediocre showing. "Once you get used to settling for mediocre ... we don't want that."

"Money is an excellent incentive for students to strive to do their best on the test," Jaques said. He contended, "I thought if I offered like 30 or 50 bucks they might go, I don't know, hmm maybe I'll study a little, maybe not ...' but for 100 bucks? That's a Benjamin. We are talking serious green. That will get their attention."

Jaques is the Instructional Resource Specialist at Mesa Alta. Last March, Jaques challenged the entire Mesa Alta Middle School student body to excel beyond their normal expectations for the test. Ten students met the challenge and achieved the "Advanced" level. Two students have moved away from the district and one student is a freshman at Aztec High and received her prize separately.

Seven of the winners were presented with checks at the assembly in front of the entire school. On what she plans on doing with her winnings, Shayti Durfey said, "I don't know. I feel really rich right now."

Twenty-seven other prizes were awarded to deserving students including an X-Box, a tablet, a drone, and lots of pizza. The prizes are all part of the schools PARCC Incentive program spear-headed by former principle Adam Benavidez. Benavidez, solicited local businesses for prizes. The staff at the school would like to express their thanks to all the local businesses who participated.

Dr. Jaques says he will issue the challenge again this year and is confident even more students will make the grade.


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