• 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.

  • Martinez hails 7 point jump in NM high school grad rate

    RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's four-year high school graduation rate jumped to 70 percent just a year after federal data showed the state's 63 percent rate was one of the worst in the nation, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Thursday.

    Speaking in front of students from Rio Rancho High School, Martinez called the seven-point spike a "mile marker" and said the improvement in just a year's time was evidence that New Mexico schools could provide the needed services to help students graduate.

    "While we have a long way to go ... I do believe the schools all across our state have taken on the challenge of keeping our young people in high school," Martinez said. "And I think our students are responding well to the high expectations."

    Martinez said the state's "A through F" grading system paired with preventative measures helped schools improve student achievement.

  • DIY mover plans LA location

    The Los Alamos Board of Education voted to approve a lease for a U-Haul facility at Pueblo Complex, a former school property that is still owned and managed by the district, located at 1900 Diamond Dr.

    The franchise, which is synonymous with do-it-yourself moving and storage, is actually an added location for a business that’s been operating in Pojoaque.

    U-Haul had a facility on DP Road at one time, but parking problems and other issues caused the business to give up the location, according owner/operator Victoria Work.

    At the LAPS board meeting, the assets manager for the Los Alamos Public School District Joan Ahlers, told the board the company is only interested in a six-month lease.

    “U-Haul is a little nervous,” Ahlers told the board. “They haven’t been treated with open arms necessarily, so they are a little skittish.” She added that hopefully things will work out for the company and they will be able to extend the agreement into a one or two year lease.

    She also told the board that the moving service plans on being good neighbors with the other businesses.

  • District financial report gets an 'A'

    Among the more serious findings of a yearly audit of the millions of dollars in state and federal funding that flows through the Los Alamos Public School System: LAPS spent $12 more than it should have in special education. The firm conducting the audit also found that a $78 check that was not cashed, was not taken off the books in a timely manner.

    According to Griego Professional Services LLC, an accounting firm approved by the New Mexico State Auditor’s Office of Management and Budget, that was very good news to the LAPS officials. The auditor was hired by the Los Alamos Board of Education.

    During the presentation, J.J. Griego, principal at GPS LLC, thanked District Finance Officer John Wolfe and others for making the huge task easier.

    “The audit went very well this year and we were able to be in and out earlier than ever this year,” Griego said. “That’s in no short order to Mr. Wolfe, the finance department as well as all the departments we worked with including the federal programs, the state programs and pretty much everybody else.”

    However, Griego also made it clear he works for the school board.

  • AG finds LAPS board erred

    The New Mexico Attorney General’s office found that the Los Alamos Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Act following an inquiry by the Los Alamos Monitor last June.

    The school board, however, adopted a resolution in a June 28 meeting intended to cure the OMA violations regarding the May 24 meeting and the AG’s office was satisfied with that, but also pointed out other areas of concern.

    In its letter, Assistant Attorney General Mary Smith wrote, “A public body can legally correct prior mistakes and effectively give legal force to its prior invalid actions.”

    But Smith also said the board did violate the OMA “regarding the agenda for, actions taken at and the minutes of its May 24, 2012 meetings.”

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