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Education

  • Info for start of school is now online

    Los Alamos Public Schools has its back-to-school information posted on its website.
    LAPS has posted information on school boundary maps, the yearly school calendar and links to its seven schools on the website, laschools.net.
    School begins in Los Alamos County Thursday. That will be a half-day for elementary schools and full days for Los Alamos Middle School and Los Alamos High School.
    Class lists will be posted at 4 p.m. Monday for middle school students and Wednesday for elementary school students.
    The last day of school for students is scheduled for May 25, 2016. Holidays this year include Labor Day Sept. 7, Columbus Day Oct. 12, Thanksgiving break Nov. 25-27 and winter break starting Dec. 21.
    Also included on the district’s website are bus routes, emergency procedures and information about the schools’ anti-bullying program, as well as information on Common Core standards in both English and Spanish.
    LAPS staff reported to work Thursday in preparation for the upcoming year.

  • Johnson is ready for new position

    This year, Mike Johnson will bring his talents to Los Alamos Middle School, filling the position of principal for the 2015-2016 school year. Johnson ended last year graduating the class of 2015 from Los Alamos High School.
    “As every year, I enjoy seeing our students graduate,” Johnson said. “It is not just a celebration of all the hard work that the student has done to get to that moment, but also a celebration for all the people that have supported them along the way.”
    Johnson is excited to return back to LAMS working with some old and new staff.
    He said he likes the fact the LAMS staff love working with students of that age and seeing them develop into young adults as they pursue their future interests.
    While Johnson may trade one site for another, he will still be working with Los Alamos Early College and Career (LAECCA) program and expands his role to work with a variety of community and parent groups.
    “At the middle school, parents have the opportunity to serve on teams or be part of our site council,” said Johnson. “Parents should feel free to communicate with teachers, counselors and administrators anytime they feel a need to do so.”

  • Chamisa principal excited for year

    Chamisa Cheetah and Principal Debbie Smith said she is excited to see staff returning to school, with wonderful ideas and renewed energy. Over the summer, many of the teachers have attended professional development offerings in science, technology, and more.
    Six of her staff members have spent a portion of their summer on Masters or Ph.D. programs.
    “Our lifelong learners lead by example,” Smith said. “They are bringing ideas in on a daily basis, not waiting for the staff return date of Aug. 6.”
    Smith said she is pleased to welcome new teacher, Ashley Schmiedicke, in first grade, where she has been working as a student teacher and instructional assistant, and new kindergarten teacher, Christine Hunter.
    Last year, Chamisa staff and students did some important things in and around the community.
    One of their highlights was their fourth grade gift of time, entertainment, and artwork to the residents of Sombrillo Nursing Home. The work was made possible through funding from a Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation Grant and a New Mexico Arts Grant.

  • Non-traditional students awarded

    ESPAÑOLA — The LANL Foundation recently awarded 15 $1,000 Regional College/Returning Student scholarships from the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund.
    The awards, according to the foundation, go to help nontraditional students return to formal education to expand their opportunities or pursue new careers with a certification or two-year degree from an accredited college in northern New Mexico.
    Funding comes from donations made by Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and Los Alamos National Security, LLC. Scholarships are administered by the LANL Foundation with student selection and program oversight provided by an advisory committee of volunteer donors.
    This year’s recipients included:

  • UNM-LA names Rooney as interim executive director

    Cynthia Rooney has been appointed to serve as the full-time interim executive director of the UNM-Los Alamos, the University of New Mexico announced on its website Wednesday.
    The announcement came from the office of UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah.
    “Los Alamos is a campus of vital importance to UNM and will need strong leadership to pursue emerging opportunities for that campus,” Abdallah said. “We believe Dr. Rooney’s unique set of skills, experience, and commitment will enable her to do just that. The UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board and I are extraordinarily pleased for her willingness to take on this role.”
    Rooney has been UNM-LA’s dean of instruction since July 2013. She previously served the campus as associate dean and as the chair of the Business Department. Her teaching interests and research have primarily been in financial accounting and auditing, with appointments at the College of William and Mary, Xavier University, and the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management.

  • Kettering receives merit award

    The New Mexico School Nurse Association recently presented Los Alamos High School nurse, Kate Kettering, with a Merit Award for Excellence in Nursing at its annual conference.
    Kettering is a licensed professional school nurse and member of the National Association of School Nurses.
    Her belief in “better health, better learning” motivates her to teach each freshman class how to manage severe allergies and asthma while at school, said Los Alamos Public Schools in an announcement about Kettering’s award.
    LAPS gives credit to Kettering and the team of school nurses for ensuring the district is fully compliant with the state of New Mexico immunization requirements.”
    “Kate is an outstanding nurse whose service to our students, staff and the entire LAHS community is exceptional,” LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said.
    As a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, Kettering trains all LAPS school nurses in caring for students in crisis. She has been invited to train the Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe Public School nurses, as well.
    LAPS said she enjoys working with students and “continues to be a valuable member of the district’s International Science Fair review board, evaluating the potential risks of student research involving humans.”

  • Udall, Heinrich announce TRIO funds

    In a joint statement last week, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced grants totaling more than $3.3 million to 13 schools of higher education in New Mexico.
    Grants valued between $219,970 and $390,463 were awarded to the schools, which are located all around the state.
    The two closest schools to Los Alamos, the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico College, however, were not among the 13 recipient schools.
    The grants will go to fund the TRIO Student Support Services program, which helps provide additional support for low-income and first-generation college students, as well as students with disabilities, according to the senators’ offices.

  • LAPS hires new administrators

    Los Alamos Public Schools announced two new appointments to its administration, one at Barranca Mesa Elementary School and one at Los Alamos High School.
    Gina Terrazas will be the new principal at Barranca Mesa for the upcoming school year. Renee Dunwoody will be the new assistant principal at the high school.
    Both administrators started at their positions Monday.
    Dunwoody, who is originally from the Chicago area, has been with LAPS in several different functions, including a parent volunteer, instructional assistant and special education teacher.
    She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Purdue University and took part in the New Mexico Highlands University-LAPS partnership to offer advanced employment degrees. She has begun Educational Leadership Program and completed an internship at LAHS.
    Prior to working for LAPS, Dunwoody stayed at home to raise her sons.
    During that time, Dunwoody was active in the Los Alamos Hockey Association and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
    As for Terrazas, she has been an administrator for the past nine years, serving at the Mesa Vista school district at the elementary and high school levels.
    Terrazas earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998 and a master’s degree, both from Highlands.

  • Kiwanis honors students with scholarships

    When the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos awarded $8,500 in scholarships this year, five students and four universities benefited.
    The successful applicants were extremely varied. No two planned to pursue the same field and their parents came from several different professions.
    Sharon Stover, Los Alamos County clerk and chairwoman of the Kiwanis Scholarship Committee, said the scholarship process starts in February. Students can go to Guidance Counselor Connie Boettee to get a list of all organizations sponsoring scholarships — including Kiwanis.
    “We always get a wonderful group of kids,” Stover said. “I’m always amazed at how much they have accomplished and how positive and caring they are about their school. Every year, they continue to exceed our expectations with all they have done and what they want to accomplish in their college careers. We’re very proud of all of them.”
    Still, Stover wasn’t entirely satisfied this year. She said the selection of just five from among 12 applicants was “hard.” Even though the number of applicants was down somewhat from other years, she said, “We had more candidates than we had dollars for.” And she added, “They were really all qualified.”

  • Schools excited about real estate deal for land

    For the past several years, the Los Alamos Public Schools has kept a wary eye on its declining enrollment levels, wondering if and when the decline was going to stop.
    The decline has been so steady that there has been talk of closing either Piñon Elementary School or Chamisa Elementary in response to the decline, or even expanding one school to accommodate the other’s student population.
    However, thanks to a recent real estate deal between the county and a company known as the A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC, that choice may never have to be made.
    According to county documents concerning the land deal, the name refers to the number assigned to a 70-acre parcel of land next to the White Rock Visitors Center. The land once belonged to the U.S. Department of Energy, but was sold to Los Alamos County in 2002.
    Recently, the county sold it to A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC. According to the county’s requests for proposal, the county was looking for a developer that could develop the site for a mixed use of apartments and shopping areas on the site.