• Aspen classrooms to shrink under new plan

    The redesign plans of Aspen Elementary were changed recently and those design modifications were revealed in a school board meeting. The school’s trademark 1,000 square-foot classes will need to be smaller.

    According to Ray Vigil, the lead architect from the firm Vigil and Associates, they were told in a recent meeting with the Public Schools Facilities Authority that they would have to reduce the size of each classroom to 850-square-feet.

    Vigil told the school board the reduction would accomplish two things, bring the project back into line with the original budget, and comply with the PSFA’s standards for class size.

    “By reducing a little bit of over two feet from each classroom we were able to shave off 6,000 square feet,” Vigil said. “So that little piece of everyone reducing their area gave us a large bang for our money, which helps bring us into our guaranteed maximum price as well as in compliance with the request from the Public School Facilities Authority.”

    Vigil estimated the reduction will ultimately take about $600,000 to $800,000 off the cost of the project. The total price tag for the makeover project is estimated to be around $12 million.

  • The official wave

    Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados administered the oath of office to incoming school board members Matt Williams and Jim Hall. Shortly after completing their oath, Hall was voted in as president and Williams was elected secretary of the school board. 

  • School Board serenade
  • Senators postpone vote on NM education secretary

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Senate's top Republican leader complained Saturday that politics had become a driving force behind a lengthy confirmation hearing for Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, who is awaiting a vote by lawmakers with no guarantee it will happen before the Legislature ends.

    The Senate Rules Committee spent three hours questioning Skandera on Saturday and listened to seven hours of public testimony a week ago. But there was no vote by the committee and chairwoman Linda Lopez said it was uncertain when the panel would again consider Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's choice to run the Public Education Department. The Legislature adjourns in a week.

  • Schools respond to weapons incidents

    A rash of incidents involving students bringing “deadly weapons” to school has prompted Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt to issue a statement regarding the events.

    “It is important for the community to know that student safety is non-negotiable and that students who bring weapons to school will be disciplined,” Schmidt said. The full version of his comments can be found by clicking here. “Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about the importance of following rules written in school handbooks.”

    Schmidt also stressed in his statement that his coming forward on the issue should not be a cause for alarm. He noted that of the 3,500 students enrolled in the school system, only a few students were caught with what could be called weapons in the past few weeks.

    One incident involved a student, who brought a black-handled folding knife with a four-inch blade to school. He was turned in by students, who heard him talking about the knife. Though the incident was reported on a Friday, (Feb. 22) the juvenile wasn’t disciplined until Monday when he made a full confession to authorities about why he brought the knife to school.

  • District slates kindergarten roundup

    It’s one of the first milestones a parent experiences in the school career of a child: that moment when they get on that big yellow bus and go off to school for the first time.

    It can be a pretty scary experience for both parent and child, but the Los Alamos Public School District appears to have things covered.

    Though kindergarten doesn’t start until September, LAPS is conducting its annual “Kindergarten Roundup” sessions in March and April.

    According to Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean, the event is designed to prepare everyone involved, including teachers, for how many kindergartners are coming to each school each year and how that figure is going to impact resources. Those eligible for the roundup include children who will turn five by Sept. 1.

    The event also aims to help parents prepare for the transition as well.

    “The purpose is the same everywhere, and that is to ‘round up’ the kids and their families, and to give the parents and children an idea of what to expect for kindergarten,” Dean said.

  • Young artists show off their work
  • Middle school construction

    Workers brave the winter elements this week as construction continues at the Los Alamos Middle School.

  • LAHS goes for ‘Google’

    Thanks to a new technology initiative going on at the high school, students can no longer say to the teacher, “my dog ate my homework.” In fact, they can’t even say they lost it due to a computer crash or a virus. A program from Google allows everyone — students, teachers and staff — to be on the same page, so to speak.

    Officials from Los Alamos High School, as well as members from the district’s tech staff, recently gave a presentation to the Los Alamos School Board about how students are using and adapting to the system, known as “Google Apps for Education.”

    The ultimate plan is to have every student in the district using Google Apps for Education.

    The program is actually a suite of free, web-based programs by Google, which can all be accessed by opening up a free account on Google. Email, document and spreadsheet creation, calendar and a blogging platform are just some of the applications that have become available.

  • College day at UNM-LA

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos hosted a home-school college day Wednesday.