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Education

  • Higdon earns top state teaching honor

    Lynne Higdon, the physical education teacher from Barranca Elementary School, was named the 2014 New Mexico Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. The announcement was recently made at the State P.E. Conference at Albuquerque.
     Higdon has served as the P.E. teacher at Barranca for the past 10 years. Higdon is well respected for her comprehensive physical education program that introduces students to a wide array of activities. She is also credited for extending physical activities by hosting community events such as an outside games day for families, family hikes in the Jemez and a family golf outing.
    Among writing supportive letters for Higdon’s nomination for the award was Pam Miller, director of curriculum and instruction, who described Higdon as a “conscientious individual who works hard to make sure that students complete every task to the best of their ability.”
     Miller wrote, “Ms. Higdon uses her enthusiasm and experience to ignite students’ eagerness to participate in class.”

  • Emergency crews find no gas leak at high school

    Emergency crews were dispatched to Los Alamos High School this morning with a report of a possible gas leak. The school was evacuated and students stayed outside as DPU and LAFD crews investigated. They did not find anything and students, teachers and other personnel were let back into the school about 8:30 a.m. A release from the county at 8:30 a.m. said, “LAFD reports no gas leak found, buildings have been turned back over to schools and teens entering now.” A later release from the county at 10 a.m. said, “crews responded because of reports of a smell of gas, but, there wasn’t a gas leak discovered. Students were not in danger.” 

  • School district receives $250K

    A late, well-known Los Alamos physician recently left 250,000 reasons for high school graduates who are struggling economically to keep going onward and upward.
    Dr. Zenas “Slim” Boone, who died about a year ago, left a $250,000 trust fund in the name of his late wife, Irene U. Boone, to the Los Alamos Public Schools. Irene was also a doctor, a well-known pediatrician in Los Alamos for many years.
    “We want to express our gratitude to the Boone Family and their appreciation for the value of education,” Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt said.
    “The opportunity this will present for the future graduates of Los Alamos, especially needy graduates, makes this an incredibly generous gift. It speaks well of the Boone’s belief in these students, that they would want to help them along.”
    At a recent school board meeting, Schmidt presented the offer to the board, who by law, must approve all such gifts that are more than $5,000.
    The board readily accepted the offer, and had a discussion on how to best carry out the Boone’s wishes of providing an annual graduation scholarship to deserving high school students.

  • Renovated Aspen almost ready

    If all goes to plan, students will be moved and settled in at the new Aspen Elementary School on Nov. 12.
    According to site project coordinator David Wharram, the school is about ready for occupancy.
    At a recent school board meeting, Wharram noted that already, carpet is being laid in key areas of the school, including the administration area.
    “Carpet is a good sign on a construction site. When the carpet goes in, that’s a sign that there will be no more dirty work going on in that area,” he said at a recent meeting to the board.
    Currently, the students are attending school in a campus of portable buildings next to where the school is being rebuilt on 33rd Street. Move-in day for the teachers and staff will take place over a three day period at the beginning of November, with the moving period beginning Nov. 6. and continuing through Monday. Doors will officially open Nov. 12. (Veteran’s Day is Nov. 11).
    School principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom is in the process of arranging daycare for parents who need it through the Los Alamos YMCA for Nov. 6, 7 and 10 when the move is taking place.

  • Mountain School begins anti-bullying campaign

    Rachel Barber’s sixth grade Language Arts Class hold up high their anti-bullying posters they made themselves as well as the posters of their classmates Friday at the start of their month-long anti-bullying campaign. For all of October, the school has many activities planned, including signing pledges to take a stand against bullying and “Mix It Up At Lunch Day,” where students will be sitting with different peers at lunch and ask “getting to know you” type questions.

  • Ride the bus, get some ice cream

    Los Alamos school students got a special surprise this morning when they arrived at school –– the bus drivers passed out vouchers for a free ice cream. The free ice cream was part of the school district’s plan to boost ridership on the day the New Mexico Public Education Department counts up how many students ride the bus. The more students, the more funding the district’s transportation department gets in its budget for next year. 

  • Students urged to ride bus

    The Los Alamos Public School district has something special planned for those that choose to ride the school bus Wednesday, a voucher for one free ice cream cone from Daniel’s Cafe, located on Trinity Drive.
    The district is hoping that the free ice cream will pay off for its transportation department as well as all Los Alamos residents down the road when the New Mexico Public Education Department cuts another check for the school’s transportation budget next year.
    Wednesday is the day the NMPED tallies the numbers of all those who use school transportation to get to school. That number is then factored into amount NMPED funds next year’s school transportation budget, which also includes the cars and trucks officials use throughout the district.
    “Students who are eligible to ride the school bus can really help fund the cost of the transportation program by riding the school bus on that day,” read a statement in a recent press release. “It is estimated that close to 1,800 students could ride the school bus, but fewer than 900 have chosen to do so.”

  • Students kick off campaign

    A group of Los Alamos High School students ascended the stairs to the walkway over Diamond Drive Wednesday, banner in hand, intent on sending a message to Los Alamos.
    The message? That domestic violence in Los Alamos isn’t cool. With help and blessings from the Los Alamos Police Department, they swung the banner over the walkway fence, with the police congratulating them for a job well done.
    The banner read: “Domestic Violence: You Are Not Alone.” Underneath it were numbers victims could call and get help. The numbers included 911, the main emergency number; 211, a local number that gives local information and referrals and 1-800-206-1656, the Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico’s 24-hour hotline. The LAPD also listed their website at www.losalsmosnm.us/police.
    According LAPD Officer Adele Girmendonk, the LAPD will be posting other information on domestic violence prevention on the site throughout the year. They also want the public to know that their domestic violence prevention campaign will also include resources to deal with family violence, sexual assault, date rape, sex trafficking and other forms of violence.
    “Over the next year, we’d like to hit on all of those topics,” Girmendonk said.

  • Chamisa kids run to milestone

    Thirty to 50 kids from Chamisa braved a cold October dawn earlier this week to do what they’ve always done every Tuesday and Thursday for the past four years…. run a few laps around the field next to the school. But this morning was special; Thursday marked a milestone for the Chamisa Running Club. Thursday morning marked the club’s collective 400th mile, according to their running coaches Jeremy and Trisha Conlin. So, on top of their usual prizes for running the course and then some, they had counselor Michaelangelo Lobato and teacher David Parsons run with them. Also running with them was Los Alamos School Resource Officer Adele Girmendonk, who handed out special badges to the children after their historic feat. Their next goal is to get that asphalt track they always wanted so the little runners will have a smoother go of it. If you would like to know more about their project, be sure to contact the Chamisa Parent Teacher Organization for more info on how you can help. Contact the PTO at chamisaelementary@gmail.com or call the school at 663-2470. 

  • Paws and stripes at Piñon

    Three fifth grade students from Piñon Elementary recently came forward with a pretty neat fundraising idea.
    For their fundraising project, Morgan Hayes, Nick Dolin and Aidan Royer opted to raise about $2,000 for Paws and Stripes, an organization that helps war veterans suffering with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.
    According to their written proposal, how Paws and Stripes, and organization based in Rio Rancho does this is pretty unique.
    “Paws and Stripes saves a dog’s life from a kill shelter and people train the dog to help a soldier that’s been in war. ... Paws and Stripes provides the service dog for free to the soldier and spends $2,000 to train each dog,” read a statement in their report.
    Recently, the young men appeared at a work session of the Los Alamos School Board to get the word out about their idea. They plan on holding various fundraising activities throughout October, and right up until Veteran’s Day Nov. 11.
    Originally, the kids suggested dog walking, lawn mowing, raking leaves and shoveling snow to raise money, but their principal, Jill Gonzales, helped them broaden their approach.