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Education

  • Report shows decline in state graduation rates

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The number of high schools with chronically low graduation rates has fallen in Arizona and New Mexico, according to a study released Monday by a group of education organizations.
    The two states have also increased the percentage of fourth- and eighth-grade students who can read proficiently. And more students in both states are taking advanced placement tests than several years ago.
    However, the report shows Arizona, New Mexico and other western states are lagging behind when it comes to improving their graduation rates. In fact, the report puts Arizona and New Mexico in a group of 10 states that had lower rates in 2009 than they did seven years earlier.

  • Schools will get to opt out of "pink slime" beef

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — School districts soon will be able to opt out of a common ammonia-treated ground beef filler critics have dubbed "pink slime."

    Amid a growing social media storm over so-called "lean finely textured beef," the U.S. Department of Agriculture was set to announce Thursday that starting in the fall schools involved in the national school lunch program will have the option of avoiding the product.

    Under the change, schools will be able to choose between 95 percent lean beef patties made with the product or less lean bulk ground beef without it. The change won't kick in immediately because of existing contracts, according to a USDA official with knowledge of the decision.

  • School Board chooses new president

    New Board of Education officers were elected at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Kevin Honnell was appointed president; Dawn Venhaus was appointed vice president and Melanie McKinley was named secretary. New officers are chosen once a year.

  • Science Bowl team defends title

    Editor’s note: Due to a source error, the wrong photo and story about the Los Alamos High School Science Bowl team was submitted to the Los Alamos Monitor Thursday.

    For the third year in a in a row, the Los Alamos High School Science Bowl team won first place in the Regional Science Bowl March 4 on the Albuquerque Academy campus. Approximately 34 teams from New Mexico high schools competed in the regional event.
    Launched in 1991, the Science Bowl is a competitive science education and academic event among teams of high school students who compete in a fast-paced verbal forum to solve technical problems and answer questions in all branches of science and math. Each team is composed of four students plus an alternate.

  • Group sheds light on school salaries

    Employee salaries of 32 New Mexico school districts are now available online.

    And it’s not the work of state government’s Sunshine Portal, but rather that of the Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Foundation.

    Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing said the non-profit organization requested the data from 40 school districts with populations exceeding 1,000 through the state’s public records law. Eight, however, failed to comply with the law’s 15-day timeframe. Those school districts include Alamogordo, Cobre, Las Vegas, Lovington, Ruidoso, Silver City, and two northern New Mexico school districts: Taos and Pojoaque.

  • Bus loop decision goes around in circles

    The Los Alamos High School bus loop issue will go back to the drawing board.

    Tuesday night, board members voted unanimously to reopen an investigation on the loop after hearing public comments and being unable to reach a unanimous decision.

    Before the meeting two options were on the table. One would have a bus loop running in front of the Instructional Media Center, which would have cut into the green space that’s currently there. The second option was a redesign of the Duane Smith parking lot.

    In December, the board voted 4-1 to approve the bus loop option that would position it in front of the IMC, which carries a price tag of $155,000. At that time, Board Vice President Kevin Honnell voted against it.

  • School board mulls high school bus loop

    The Los Alamos Board of Education will meet in a special session at 5:30 p.m. today in the Speech Theater at Los Alamos High School. The only item on the agenda is the high school bus loop.

    The public is invited to attend the meeting and comment on plans for a new bus loop at LAHS. The Board will use this opportunity to inform the public on the latest proposal to construct a bus loop at the high school.

    Pros and cons of two different proposals — one of which is a new access off Diamond Drive and the other involves a reconfiguration of the Smith lot.

  • Santa Fe school board ousts superintendent

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe school board has ousted Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the board voted late Monday to end Gutierrez's contract before it was scheduled to expire June 2013.

    The move followed a closed-door session that lasted more than two hours.

    Last spring, Gutierrez came under fire from new board members after Lynn Vanderlinden, the district's director of assessment and accountability, released a questionable report detailing increases in student proficiency.

    Critics said Gutierrez asked Vanderlinden to rig the report to play up increases without taking into account data on students whose proficiency actually decreased.

  • Board OKs upgrades to LAPS HQ

    The Los Alamos Public Schools Board of Education has approved moving ahead with a $400,000 round of improvements to the district’s administrative headquarters.

    Jim Graf of Van H. Gilbert Architect PC shared renderings with improvements of the administrative office at 2075 Trinity Dr.

    Plans include handicapped-accessible spaces and modifications to the parking lot grade.

    In addition, the building will be made more user-friendly, with a clearly marked entrance and a break room for employees. The project will carry an estimated cost of $400,000.

    Following a timeline discussion, board members decided that the project should be tackled quickly. It will come back for a formal vote at a future meeting.

  • VIDEO: Officials discuss LANS investments in education

    This video outlines how LANS, LLC provides financial and technical support to improve the lives of New Mexico's students through the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos.