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PEEC reports to school board

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By Kirsten Laskey

At first, Los Alamos Public Schools gave the Pajarito Environmental Education Center a one-year lease, but the time was extended to three years in which the activities of PEEC exploded. Attendance to PEEC programs grew, the amount of activities escalated and finances rose.

Through a slideshow and speeches, members of the school board learned just how much PEEC has achieved in three years during the regular meeting Tuesday.

Board president Chick Keller reported PEEC has an 11-member board and two part time staff members, Diane Noveroske and Branden Willman-Kozimor.

There are also long-term and short-term volunteers who have contributed 6,370 volunteer hours through September 2008.

The programs that PEEC offers are for students enrolled in preschool through high school.

One of these participating students, Tristan Goodwin, a seventh-grader at Los Alamos Middle School, told board members about his experiences in PEEC.

“PEEC is involved in many activities that educate young people like me about the environment and what lives in it,” he said. “I’m involved in many programs in PEEC but I’ve got three favorites. The first two are the Nature Odyssey and LEAP programs. In these classes, you go to places like the Valle Caldera, Bandelier and the Española Wildlife Center.

“There, you learn about cultures, animals, plants, the environment, mapping and many other things. I’m excited because my sister, Alana, can attend Nature Odyssey this summer. My experiences with PEEC let me meet international students and have also shaped me as a person.”

As further proof of the work and accomplishments at the center, zucchini bread, made from the zucchinis grown in PEEC garden that young people tend, was passed around during the meeting.

Keller said, “We are delighted with the community response and what we have been able to do.”

The hope is the school board will give PEEC the opportunity to continue its work in the community for another five years. The request will be made to the board in March.

Board member Alison Beckman praised PEEC. “I think it’s awesome,” she said. “You guys have done a really great job and it really has exploded.”

In an unrelated matter, the search for a new superintendent continues to progress. June Gladeny, purchasing manager and head of the superintendent search request for proposals, reported so far six responses to the request for proposals have been made.

Additionally, the evaluation committee is working on its evaluations, which are due today.

The next step, she said, will be to compile the evaluation results.

What Gladeny needs from the school board was what direction they would like to go with interviewing candidates for the job.

The board scheduled a meeting to be held at noon Friday to discuss the issue.

In another report, Superintendent Mary McLeod spoke about the campaign to raise support for the 20-year facility plan.

She explained she is delegating several tasks to people such as advertising at the Reel Deal Theater, creating brochures and writing letters to the editor in the Los Alamos Monitor.

Additionally, 10 brochure displays are being produced and will be located at several of the schools and three will be placed at locations throughout the community such as the library, senior center and post office.

Other suggestions included the Los Alamos Medical Center and doctor’s offices.

To further educate people about the bond to fund building improvement projects in the school, McLeod said brochures will be included in utilities bills mailed in December.

There will be a bond meeting Monday.