• Students drum up support to begin anti-bullying drive

    If a group of girl scouts from Los Alamos are successful, the schoolyard bully could soon become a thing of the past here.
    Piñon students Rachel Norman, Amber Royer, and Chamisa students Amelia Duffy, Lidia Appell and Cassidy Trujillo started the project out of a conversation they had about stereotyping.
    “But, it turned into matter of bullying and the person we were talking to started crying. It was very emotional, and we all ended up giving that person a big bear hug,” said one of the girls at a recent presentation of their project to the school board.
    Called “Link Arms in LA,” the concept is pretty simple.
    They said that whenever they see anyone being bullied, they are calling on students to gently intervene by pointing out the wrong to the bully and sticking up for the victim and perhaps joining arms with the victim, which will hopefully attract like minded people to their rescue.
    “It’s all about safety in numbers” said one of the girls at the meeting.
    So far, “Link Arms in LA” is only in Chamisa and Piñon, but the girls hope to start the project in the other schools as well. Their target group, they said, is fourth grade and all the way up into high school.

  • National Merit semifinalists

    Officials recently of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Los Alamos High School is pleased to acknowledge that 14 members of the Class of 2015 have received this distinction. They are Leyla Akhadov, Daniel Ben-Naim, Sally Grindstaff, Andrew (AJ) Makela, Katharine Margevicius, David Murphy, Colin Redman, Benjamin Reichelt, Sara Stubben, Alexander Swart, Vincent Tang, Sarah Wallstrom, Harrison Williams and William Zhao. Alexandr Wang, who was graduated with the Class of 2014, was also named a semifinalist. “This is a very prestigious accomplishment attained by these students,” said Principal Dr. Debbie Belew-Nyquist. “We are very proud of them.”

  • UNM-LA unveils writing class

    If facing a blank computer screen at work or in the classroom causes you stress, UNM-LA has scheduled a course to erase writing fears and polish skills.
    The late-starting, three-credit course, English 220, begins on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
    Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1:30 p.m. in UNM-LA Building 2, Room 220.
    UNM-LA English 220 instructor Betty Katz has faced many blank screens and demanding deadlines herself as a writer and editor for several national and international publications. She is enthusiastic about sharing her writing techniques with students and welcomes course participants from LANL or any other workgroup.
    Katz said, “Recently I came across a quotation from The National Commission on Writing. Their words focus on the importance of good writing in the 21st century workplace.” The commission notes, “Good writing is taken as a given in today’s professional work. Writing is a threshold skill for salaried employment and promotion.”
    The ENGL 220 course will help students polish their writing skills for the workplace as well as for the classroom.
    Katz said the ENGL 220 course will help students keep their writing clear and effective for readers.
    To register for ENGL 220, contact UNM-LA Student Services at 662-0332. 

  • LAHS students rack up AP scholar awards

    Eighty-one students at Los Alamos High School have earned AP scholar Awards in recognition of their achievement on AP Exams.
    The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides students with the opportunity to take college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.
    About 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a level to also earn an AP Scholar Award.
    The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams.
    At Los Alamos High School, 10 students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
    These students are Daniel Ahrens, George Barnum, Alexandra Berl, Sudeep Dasari, Matthew Davenport, Colin Hemez, Ju Hyun Lee, Alexander Swart, Lauren Tencate and Alexandr Wang.

  • Board tweaks 'super' plan

    With an eye toward picking the best candidate possible, Los Alamos School Board members Kevin Honnell and Jim Hall presented a revamped superintendent search plan at Tuesday night’s special board meeting.
    The major change in the plan will be instead of starting with a regional search before expanding into a national search, the board has opted to “go national” from the start.
    “Last Tuesday night, at the regular meeting, the board voted to proceed directly with a national search and commissioned Jim and I to update our initial recommendations, which is the point of this meeting tonight,” said Honnell to the board. Honnell, who is also the board’s vice president, referred to their new plan as “Superintendent Search 2.0.”
    Key points in their timeline are:
    • Formulating a bid proposal by Sept. 26
    • Establishing advisory committees by Sept. 30
    • Establishing qualifications for the job by Oct. 23
    • Identification and/or selection of a search firm by Oct. 17
    • Job posted, applications accepted in the month of November
    • Having search firm narrow down the selection of candidates from roughly 12 to six by Dec. 17
    • Board to then narrow down that selection from roughly four to two by Jan. 16

  • School board swearing in

    Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados swears in the Los Alamos School Board’s newest member, Nan Holmes Tuesday night. Holmes will be representing District 3, where Aspen Elementary School is located.

  • Hawktalkers get funded by school board

    During its annual retreat session Saturday, where the Los Alamos School Board discussed future projects and set priorities for the upcoming school year, the board officially convened to conduct a piece of crucial business.
    The board, with Secretary Matt Williams abstaining, voted to give seed money to the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers, the middle school’s speech and debate team.
    The board voted to give the team $7,000. The board also voted to transfer $10,000 to the high school and middle school’s “23,000 Account” to be used by any school club or organization specifically for reserving charter buses just in case a school bus is not available for an upcoming trip.
    According to school officials the practice of using charter buses is a common one for all extracurricular activities, especially at the height of the district’s sports and tournament seasons. It’s hoped that having the extra $10,000 in the account no school club or team that regularly uses transportation for regional competition will be without a bus to get it there.
    Los Alamos School Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie was glad they were able to provide the funding, knowing what it will be used for.

  • UNM-LA, JJAB to hold parenting classes

    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) has joined forces with the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB), to put on a six-class parenting series called Raising Children in a Challenging World: A Series for Parents.
    Kristine Coblentz, Coordinator and Facilitator of the program said, “This new class series is designed for parents and caregivers of elementary school aged children. It promises to be a great place to gather information, ask questions of the experts, discuss challenging topics, and connect with other parents. We are hoping to offer both support and the latest info to parents who are interested in what’s trending with kids and families in our fast paced world.”
    The classes will be held Thursday evenings, 6–7:15 p.m. in room 610 on the UNM-LA campus beginning Sept. 18 and running through Oct. 23. The series will repeat starting Oct. 30 and will conclude Dec. 11. The cost is $5 per class for up to two caregivers, or $25 for the entire six-class series. Financial assistance is available and individuals may start the series at any time.
    For detailed class information and to register, call UNM-LA Community Education at 505.662.0346 or visit losalamos.unm.edu/community-education/raising-children-in-a-challenging-world.html

  • UNM-LA shows off renovated labs

    The start of every school year always brings new and exciting changes, but this year, students who use the the biology, chemistry and physics labs at UNM-LA truly have something to look forward to. Over the summer, both of the labs, as well as their associated storage areas, have undergone major renovations and updates that have made the labs easier to use.
    UNM-LA’s Science and Engineering Chair Dawn Venhaus and UNM-LA’s campus resources director Lisa Wismer recently led members of the UNM-LA Advisory Board and other guests on a tour of the facilities Monday showing off the changes, new equipment and technology that make the facilities functioning laboratories and not just classrooms.
    According to Venhaus, part of the success of the new design comes from the fact the facilities were redesigned from the ground up by people that actually use the labs.
    “This new configuration allows us to have four larger groups of students using four setups,” Venhaus said on the tour. “So, we can now accommodate a larger number of students. It’s also easier for them to reach the equipment, as well as see what is happening.”
    The labs also feature demo tables, something they did not have before.

  • District 3 school board candidates announced

    If all goes to plan, the Los Alamos School Board should have a new representative for District 3 sometime this week.
    Currently, four candidates have come forward for the position. They are: Shelby Redondo, Caroline Boyle, Nancy Ann Holmes and Keeley Miller Power. The candidates will be appearing at tonight’s school board meeting, where they will be introduced to the public. The candidates are then scheduled to appear at a special Sept. 11 meeting.
    According to school board’s president Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, a decision will be made as to which one of the candidates will get the job.
    “We hope to make the decision as soon as possible, perhaps even that night,” Bjarke-McKenzie said.
    David Foster, the who has been District 3’s representative since 2010, recently announced that he could no longer be the representative since his timing of a planned move will be happening before his term is up in November.
    Shortly after, the board put out notices asking for residents from District 3 to fill the position. District 3 is one of the larger school board districts in Los Alamos. Aspen Elementary is the district’s school.
    Residents who applied were asked to submit a short resume and as well as a 500- to 600-word statement as to why they would like to be on the school board.