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Education

  • Middle school construction

    McCarthy Construction has been making steady progress in setting up the framework for the new middle school as these recently taken photos indicate. 

  • Dolin, Hall in contest for UNM-LA advisory board

    On the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos campus, big things are happening. The campus’ advisory board is at hard of work on its plans for the future, most notably the expansion of some programs and the introduction of some new ones.

    All this is happening in spite of a challenging economy and in the face of declining state funding. Figures show state funding for the Los Alamos campus has gone down by 40 percent recently, making the goals of the board even more challenging.

    In the middle of this is this month’s UNM-LA Advisory Board election, where the board will fill three open seats. The election is Tuesday, and those interested in voting can do so either at the White Rock Fire Station or at the Community Building in Los Alamos.

    Three seats are open but only one is contested. That race is between UNM-LA Advisory Board three-term (12 years) incumbent Ronald M. Dolin and challenger Michelle K. Hall.

    Micheline Devaurs is unopposed and Nelson Hoffman is being replaced by John Hofmann. The other members of the board, Stephen T. Boerigter, chair and Linda Hull, secretary, have terms that run until 2015.

  • NM could lose millions in education funding

    SANTA FE (AP) — Millions of dollars of federal money for special-education programs in New Mexico is at risk because the state hasn’t met all of Washington’s requirements to qualify for the funding.
    Between $43 million and $93 million could be withheld in future years, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
    Officials with the U.S. Department of Education said the problem is that the state failed to abide by a requirement to not reduce its own spending on federally funded programs and so far has failed to obtain a waiver from the agency.
    State legislators addressed the issue Monday during a joint hearing of the Senate and House education committees. They said they’re still trying to sort out exactly what happened, and they expressed concerns over what the situation means for the state’s education budget.
    The Public Education Department maintains that it has been discussing the issue with the federal agency since the beginning of Gov. Susana Martinez’s tenure as governor.
    Correspondence between the state and the agency show that New Mexico was notified of stricter spending guidelines in the fall of 2011, and the two parties agreed that the state should request a waiver the following spring.

  • Classes resume for Chamisa students

    Third graders returned to Chamisa Elementary Wednesday after a combination of warm temperatures, tree leaves and ice caused flooding problems at the school.
    The flooding mainly affected the K-3 classrooms in the school’s “primary pod,” severely damaging ceilings and carpeting in the school. Two classrooms in another part of the school were also damaged.
    School was canceled Monday and Tuesday. But Chamisa Elementary School principal Debbie Smith announced that they would bring the students back on a staggered schedule.
    Third graders came back Wednesday morning and Kindergarten through second grade will be back Thursday.
    Smith and the teachers had plans to meet third grade students and any interested parents in the gym when school started this morning. “We will be temporarily relocating the students to different spaces in the school,” Smith said.
    The memo also stated:
    • Kindergarten through second grade students will resume classes Thursday. Smith and the teachers will meet students (and interested parents) in the gym Thursday morning at 8:20 to direct them to temporary classroom locations in the school.

  • Voters OK bond issue

    Los Alamos voters gave the green light for the Los Alamos Public School System to spend another $20 million in general obligation bonds, according to the county clerk’s office.

    The unofficial ballot count shows residents approved the measure 4,283 to 1,784.

    The bond funds will allow continued construction and renovation to go on at the Los Alamos Middle School as well as allow planned renovations and construction take place at Aspen Elementary over the next five years. Other priorities will be design plans for new music and choral facilities at Los Alamos High School, completing the Los Alamos Middle School courtyard, as well as design plans for the new middle school gym.

    Earlier this month, 13,826 ballots were mailed to registered voters in the county, but only 6,186 were returned to the clerk’s office by the deadline of 7 p.m. Tuesday. Of the 6,186 ballots, 6,067 were validated as of Tuesday night.

    A number of residents braving the cold to shop at Smith’s Tuesday took time out to voice their opinions about the bond vote.

    “I voted ‘yes,’ ” resident John Roberts said. “I voted ‘yes’ because it is going to be spent on school facilities.”

  • Chamisa third graders to return Wednesday; K-2 to return Thursday

     

    A combination of warm temperatures, tree leaves and ice is to blame for Monday’s flooding problems at Chamisa Elementary, according to school officials.

    The flooding mainly affected the K-3 classrooms in the school’s “primary pod,” severely damaging ceilings and carpeting in the school. Two classrooms in another part of the school were also damaged.

    School was canceled Monday and Tuesday. But Chamisa Elementary School principal Debbie Smith announced this afternoon that “we will begin bringing back students tomorrow on a staggered basis (third grade Wednesday and the Kinder through second on Thursday). We are relocating those classes within the school on a temporary basis.”

    • Third graders will resume classes Wednesday.  Smith and the teachers will meet third grade students and any interested parents in the gym tomorrow at 8:20 when school starts.  “We will be temporarily relocating the students to different spaces in the school,” Smith said.

    • Kindergarten through 2nd grade students will resume classes on Thursday. Smith and the teachers will meet students (and interested parents) in the gym Thursday morning at 8:20 to direct them to temporary classroom locations in the school.

  • School buses won't run in Quemazon today

    Due to the inclement weather conditions, Los Alamos Public School bus service into the Quemazon neighborhood has been cancelled today.

  • Classes called off for Chamisa K-3 Tuesday

    Due to flooding, Chamisa k-3 classes are cancelled, Monday and Tuesday. District maintenance staff are working on the situation and district officials are uncertain when they will be able to resume classes.

    According to Chamisa Elementary School Principal Debbie Smith, the flooding was caused by a combination of leaf debris, this weekend's thaw and frozen drainage pipes.

    The school is currently working on plans to resume classes Wednesday, accomodating students by closing off one class room at a time for repairs.

    In announcing the class cancellation for Tuesday, a message from Smith said, "Already today, we have toured the school with the district administration and formalized a plan to make repairs to these classrooms. We have also asked our maintenance crew to check the electrical and mechanical systems for possible water damage. We are working with a company named Williamson Restoration for advice for the best way to repair classrooms damaged by water. In addition, we are in contact with our insurance carrier to make sure that the classroom environment will be safe from possible mold contamination due to damaged carpet, sheet rock or ceiling tile. Because of the extent of damage, we are not able to make repairs to these classrooms in time for school tomorrow."

  • Teachers flip for 'flipped learning' class model

    SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — When Timmy Nguyen comes to his pre-calculus class, he's already learned the day's lesson — he watched it on a short online video prepared by his teacher for homework.

    So without a lecture to listen to, he and his classmates at Segerstrom Fundamental High School spend class time doing practice problems in small groups, taking quizzes, explaining the concept to other students, reciting equation formulas in a loud chorus, and making their own videos while teacher Crystal Kirch buzzes from desk to desk to help pupils who are having trouble.

    It's a technology-driven teaching method known as "flipped learning" because it flips the time-honored model of classroom lecture and exercises for homework — the lecture becomes homework and class time is for practice.

  • Board puts landscaping up for bids

    The Los Alamos Board of Education recently opted to put the landscaping piece of the middle school construction contract out for bid after officials realized they could probably get more for the taxpayers money if they did so.

    Originally estimated at $240,000, the price tag had to be clipped to $125,000 to make up for underestimates that cropped up in other parts of the construction project.

    “When the overall cost of the project came in, we wanted to reduce that by about $115,000,” said Los Alamos Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt. “Then the question between the schools and builder became if you take $115,000 out of that landscaping, how much landscaping do you have left?”

    According to Schmidt, there was a “decent amount, but the hope of the board was to have a great landscape.”

    When the high school was being renovated and rebuilt, the board did the same thing, Schmidt said, a move that accomplished all their landscaping goals but for $40,000 less.