Superintendent welcomes teachers, shares school year mission

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By Carol A. Clark

Superintendent Gene Schmidt minced few words explaining the financial state of Los Alamos Public Schools due mainly to declining enrollment during the last five years.

Enrollment has fallen by 100 students from last spring alone.

The district’s current student population has dipped below 3,100 and that’s down from some 3,500 students in 2004, he said.

During Schmidt’s talk at Duane Smith Auditorium, he informed teachers that as a way to make up those losses, the district will accept a limited number of out of district students this year.

Schmidt emphasized the importance of ensuring each and every student receives the best possible education.

This is in line with the school’s vision of “preparing confident, life-long learners” and its mission of “working collaboratively to teach students to become resourceful adults who are able to achieve their personal best in an ever-changing world.”

He commended the many successes achieved last year by teachers, administrators and students.

“Barranca fourth grade showed the greatest elementary performance in reading in the district with 86 percent,” Schmidt said. “Aspen students increased their proficiency performance in math from 61 percent to 64 percent and reading from 74 percent to 77 percent.”

Chamisa math proficiency rose from 55 percent to 76 percent and special education students were 67 percent proficient in reading, he said.

Chamisa also won a $15,000 LANL Foundation grant leading to 100 percent of the students testing proficient in science.

Mountain third and fourth graders averaged 83 percent in reading and 90 percent in math and Mountain Hispanic students scored 72 percent proficient in math and 75 percent in reading.

Pinon students in third through sixth grades scored 92 percent proficiency in reading and 87 percent in math in the spring MAP testing, Schmidt said. Overall, Pinon scored 83 percent proficiency in reading, 80 percent in math and 90 percent in writing.

Eighth graders at Los Alamos Middle School scored 90 percent in reading and 81 percent in math.

Eleventh graders at Los Alamos High School raised their reading proficiency from 73 percent to 76 percent.

Schmidt has said the role of educators is “to be the hope givers and not to be the dream killers.” He praised Los Alamos teachers and the district describing them as “the envy of the state.”

Schmidt also expressed appreciation to Rep. Jeannette Wallace for her “tireless efforts” on behalf of Los Alamos.

Wallace is spending three days in Angel Fire at a financial summit of sorts where she and other members of the Legislature’s finance committee are studying the state budget to make recommendations to Gov. Richardson.

“We believe the impact to the schools could be $110,000 in additional funding cuts but we know Rep. Wallace is a champion of Los Alamos and that person who looks out for us. She will make sure any cuts are as painless as possible – she works very hard to ensure the interest of Los Alamos is protected at the legislative level.”

School starts Monday throughout Los Alamos County.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at