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Education

  • Board still mum on Schmidt's resignation

    One would think in the wake of the superintendent’s resignation Monday, there’d be some tension at Tuesday night’s Los Alamos School Board meeting.
    However, except for a few grumbles about the media and a request from a resident to the board about the issue, interactions between the superintendent and the board were smooth, cordial and professional as they carried out the people’s business.
    One of the first items on the agenda was picking a new slate of officers, which was completed in about 10 minutes. Judy Bjarke-McKenzie was elected president, Kevin Honnell vice president and Matt Williams was re-elected secretary.
    At the meeting, Jim Hall, as his last act as president, handed a statement to the press regarding his personal opinion on media coverage, what went on during the executive sessions regarding Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt and plans to hire a new superintendent.

  • Schmidt uncertain of future plans

    It was just five years ago Gene Schmidt came to Los Alamos, fresh from his job as superintendent of schools for the Bridgeport School District in Washington State.
    When he officially steps down June 30, he said his future plans may take him somewhere else in New Mexico, or back to Washington. One thing is for sure though, he said he is going to miss being superintendent here. He said he was impressed with the previous administration’s approach to education.
    “I came to this community very impressed with the quality of the education, and that the community valued educating the whole child,” he said. “Art, drama, sports, music and education in general all seemed to have the same importance.”
    He added that he was proud to have added to that legacy, if only if it was for a short time.
    Schmidt said he was particularly proud of the guidance he lent to shepherding in the district’s reconstruction of the district’s seven schools, the most important part of that being getting the public to vote for the release of more than $40 million in bonding so far to aid in the construction. So far, Los Alamos High School (construction bonds that were OKd before Schmidt became superintendent) and Los Alamos Middle School have received redesigns, with Aspen Elementary School now being in the midst of its redesign.

  • LAHS students honored

    A group of LAHS students competed in the regional finals of National History Day in Farmington last Friday and placed either first, second or third in their categories. Now they advance to the state finals on April 25 in Albuquerque. The NHD theme this year is “Rights and Responsibilities in History” and each student team prepares a process paper saying how and why they chose the subject they did, extensive research and an annotated bibliography to support their project of either a Web site, Performance, Essay or Documentary. The top 2 in each category will qualify to go to the national competition in June. Left to right: Dallin Stokes, Anne Scripsick, Devon Conradson, James O’Brien, Breanna Sehorn, Eric Paige, Alex Csanadi, Sopahn Kellogg, Hongjoo Kim, Katie Delgado, Kim Pestovich, Sarah Criscuolo, Kaylen Pocaterra, Grace Kim, Elise Koskelo and Alex Chavarria.

  • Schmidt to step down as school superintendent

    School officials have confirmed that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt will be resigning at the end of the school year.
    On Monday, Schmidt sent a letter to the Los Alamos School Board informing the members of his intentions and his reasons for doing so.
    Schmidt said he arrived at his decision through past conversations with the board on key issues.
    Though he didn’t care to elaborate on which issues, he said, “I just got a sense it was time to move on. Sometimes you get a feeling you don’t have the full support of the board.”
    Board President Jim Hall said, “Gene has worked about as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen. I think he cares about Los Alamos and the schools, and I really wish him the best.”
    Hall said he had a lot of admiration for Schmidt, saying he became superintendent during a very difficult time in the school district’s history.
    “The cutbacks in state funding, the push by the Public Education Department to improve our schools, he had to deal with a lot of challenges, and I really appreciated his service,” Hall said.

  • Search is on for new LAHS principal

    A committee assigned to select a new high school principal could possibly make a selection by April.
    “By spring break we will be announcing who the next high school principal is,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt said.
    The application process closes this Friday, and then they will begin the selection process, Schmidt said.
    “We’ve formed a principal-selection committee that consists mostly of my interoffice team and will feature a screening process that will include students and staff members from the community,” Schmidt said to the Los Alamos School Board at a recent meeting.
    The process will also include two interview panels and a series of community afternoon and evening events where members of the community will be able to meet the candidates in a social setting. There will also be a separate reception hosted by the high school’s student council, where the council’s officers will be able to interview them as well.
    Schmidt also said he welcomed a role for the school board and wanted to hear suggestions from the board about how they could improve the interview/hiring process.

  • Grant gives LA students more options

    The Los Alamos School Board recently made the safety net a little wider for high school grads when it approved a $100,000 amendment to the school budget. The money comes in the form of a grant from the New Mexico Public Education Department.
    According to school officials, the grant will be used to lay the foundation for a curriculum suited for students who don’t necessarily want to go straight to college after high school, but perhaps explore other options, such as a trade or preparation for a career in the military or law enforcement.
    The grant’s official name is “Early College in the High School”, and is sponsored and promoted by Gov. Susana Martinez through a partnership with New Mexico’s business community.
    Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eugene Schmidt said the money will be used to lay the foundation of the program, to buy the equipment and do the planning they need to slowly grow and nurture what they hope will be a permanent asset for the community.

  • Super Hero Day

    It was “Super Hero Day” at Chamisa and most of the students (and teachers) broke out their best caped crusader wear. 

  • Middle school honors 'Students of the Term'

     Middle school, just by its very name, means it’s a pretty unique place. Not quite elementary school and not quite high school, middle school has it’s own unique set of challenges.
     One big challenge is how quickly one’s time there passes. As a student, it may feel like you just left elementary school before you’re already starting high school.
    Luckily for the students at Los Alamos Middle School though, there’s a program that’s been in place for years that serves to make the time students spend there more memorable.
    It’s called “Student of the Term,” an awards breakfast that happens six times a year inside the school’s cafeteria. Students are nominated by their teachers for a particular accomplishment, and are awarded a certificate in the presence of their peers and parents.
    According to Rex Kilburn, the school’s principal, it’s a way to give the students a nice pat on the back. Categories include accomplishments in any academic subject as well as self-improvement.
    “Teachers are looking for drastic improvement, good grades, social responsibility, things of that nature,” he said.

  • Representing excellence

    Los Alamos High School recently announced that four students have been selected as candidates for the 2014 United States Presidential Scholars Program. The selected students are George Barnum, Tristin Goodwin, Daniel Ahrens and Melanie Boncella. All students will be invited to submit applications for consideration as semifinalists and ultimately as a scholar. These students, who represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth, are among the 3,300 students throughout the U.S. identified as candidates for this year’s Presidential Scholars Program. Scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas academic and artistic success, leadership and involvement in school and community and represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth.

  • LAHS announces registration process

    Course selection is just a few days away and will be available on PowerSchool on Feb. 10.
     While selecting courses online in PowerSchool, Los Alamos High School asks students to complete all of the paperwork for the next school year (2014-2015). In previous years, students had to complete the forms (i.e. OTC permission, Permission to Participate), print them out and return them to LAHS. Now, forms can be completed online.
    Before starting course selection, go online to FamilyID (www.familyid.com). It may look familiar because FamilyID is the same company that the athletic/activities department uses for athletics registration.
    FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides an easy, user-friendly way to register for the start of the 2014-15 school year, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When registered through FamilyID, the system keeps track of information in the FamilyID profile so students can enter information only once for multiple uses, multiple family members and multiple programs.
    It will be helpful to have the following information handy to allow for accurate completion of online registration.
    • Student ID, Doctor information, Health Insurance Information and Emergency Contact