UNM-LA, LAPS: An opportunity to partner

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As an institution of higher education, UNM-Los Alamos commends the Los Alamos School Board for encouraging opportunities for its teachers to further their professional development.
The commitment to support Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) teachers to gain additional knowledge and classroom skills via the completion of a masters degree in education will further enhance the already highly qualified teachers we have serving the K-12 students in Los Alamos.
At UNM-Los Alamos, our goal is to help individuals achieve their educational goals and we welcome the opportunity to work with LAPS and its teachers on this initiative and expand our efforts to serve the Los Alamos community.
Over the past few years, our partnership with LAPS has grown. We have worked with the high school to develop a strong dual credit program. We have partnered with LAPS in a grant proposal and we are moving forward toward the development of a STEM Academy.
We have also been engaged in conversations with Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt and Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn regarding their commitment to providing a Masters degree program to educators in Los Alamos. As a branch campus, we cannot offer the degree, but we have been working as a facilitator with UNM-Albuquerque.
We have had numerous conversations with key individuals in UNM’s College of Education and UNM’s Extended University. We believe this is a great opportunity to align the LAPS district’s need for more teachers with a masters degree, the interest of many LAPS teachers in pursuing a masters, and UNM-College of Education’s Masters program. We would like to expand our partnership with LAPS while addressing this need in the community.
The LAPS teachers who choose to pursue a masters degree program will commit significant time, effort and energy in completing a rigorous program and as consumers, will want the best value for their personal investment. We encourage the Los Alamos School Board to consider the expectations of the teachers, the district, and the community.
All of these groups have high expectations and will be interested in not just a “degree,” but also the quality of the educational experience. The decision at the district level and the decision by individual teachers who are interested in the program may be based on a number of factors: cost, quality, time frame of classes, face-to-face vs. online vs. hybrid delivery, as well as other issues.
At UNM-LA, we have successfully partnered with UNM-Albuquerque to deliver many upper division and graduate programs to students here in Los Alamos. UNM-Los Alamos can provide various resources, including advising, financial aid, library access, IT infrastructure, and classroom space. As Superintendent Schmidt mentioned in a recent article, UNM-Los Alamos will not benefit financially but the motivation to be part of the solution is not driven by the bottom line.
Our partnership with LAHS via the delivery of dual credit already demonstrates the strong commitment UNM-LA has to help students succeed academically. Facilitating the delivery of a master of education program for LAPS teachers is another way UNM-LA can strengthen its partnership with K-12 instruction and contribute to the richness of educational opportunities offered to the residents of Los Alamos.
We would very much like to be part of the solution in providing an opportunity for a masters degree program to the teachers in Los Alamos.