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Education

  • Educators question rules for grading schools A-F

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Educators are cautioning Gov. Susana Martinez's administration against rushing the implementation of a new law that will assign grades A to F to rate the performance of public schools.

    Teachers, superintendents and others raised questions Monday about proposed rules by the Public Education Department for the school rating system enacted earlier this year.

    Gloria Rendon of the Coalition of School Administrators suggested the new grading system initially be implemented in a few schools to serve as a pilot for working out potential problems.

  • Miracle of technology helps girl to qualify

    Sruthi Garimella, a fourth grader in Jonathan Neal’s class at Barranca Mesa Elementary School, competed in her class’ spelling bee Monday and successfully qualified for the school spelling bee despite being in Paris, France.

    She was able to compete in this intercontinental spelling bee through the magic of Internet video conference.  Along with Garimella, Eli Iramk-Bent, Isaac Ronning, and Kaylee Rogers also placed in the top four slots of Neal’s fourth grade class, qualifying all of them to compete in the school spelling bee.

  • Board votes to ratify leases

    The Los Alamos Public Education Board met in a special session Wednesday afternoon to discuss disposal of assets, approve an easement and finalize two lease agreements.

    The meeting moved swiftly, with board members Melanie McKinley, Kevin Honnell, Dawn Venhaus and David Foster unanimously approving the disposal of assets. Judith Bjarke McKenzie was not present.

    The items slated for disposal included old computers that need to be recycled because they have outlived their usefulness and some older fleet vehicles that are going to be put up for auction.

    They also approved an easement at the high school, requested by Los Alamos County and approved a lease agreement with PM Tech, to rent suite T at 2075 Trinity Drive.

  • Lunch program gets green light

    Help is on the way for some children that attend Los Alamos Public Schools and qualify for free and reduced price lunches, but not everyone who qualifies will be able to take advantage of the program.

    At least not yet.

    During the Tuesday Los Alamos Board of Education meeting, and supported by Mountain Elementary Principal Gerry Washburn, board members voted 5-0 in favor of starting a free and reduced price lunch pilot program at Mountain.

    The discussion originally focused on what it would take to bring the program to all LAPS schools; however Chief Financial Officer John Wolfe told board members that a lot of work would need to be done if they decided to roll out the program district-wide.

  • Local students follow parents to Washington

    A group of Los Alamos Middle School students first jetted off to Washington, D.C. 31 years ago – creating an annual tradition that continues to this day.

    “For the last three years, I have been taking the eighth grade children of some of the students who went on that first trip, so this is exciting to me,” said former Los Alamos Middle School teacher Roberta Cocking.

    “After my retirement, parents begged me to continue hosting these trips, which I have done and plan to do until I can no longer find anyone willing to push my wheelchair around D.C.”

    Cocking and Terry Quinn, also a former LAMS teacher, initiated these excursions to the nation’s capital in 1980. They are independent from school district activities.

  • LA school gets taste of Hollywood

    Jillian Morse’s theater class at Los Alamos High School got an up-close and personal view of the movie industry Monday morning, when actors from the movie, “Blaze You Out” visited with them.

    Veronica Diaz-Carranza, Mark Adair Rios and Jeremy Ray Valdez took time from shooting the movie to speak with the class about their experiences in the movie industry and to explain how the industry works. Sandia Productions has been shooting “Blaze You Out,” a dramatic thriller, in Rio Arriba County for the past three weeks. Production wraps up this week.

  • LAHS construction still lagging behind

    Things are beginning to take shape around the Los Alamos High School campus. Students and staff are now occupying at least part of the buildings at the school.

    During Tuesday night’s school board meeting at Pajarito Cliffs, David Wharram, Gerald Martin’s owner’s representative, talked about the project’s progress. According to a report presented to board members, the new building is on schedule and is progressing well, as part of the main work package.

  • SpongeBob in hot water from study of 4-year-olds

    CHICAGO (AP) — The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.

    The problems were seen in a study of 60 children randomly assigned to either watch "SpongeBob," or the slower-paced PBS cartoon "Caillou" or assigned to draw pictures. Immediately after these nine-minute assignments, the kids took mental function tests; those who had watched "SpongeBob" did measurably worse than the others.

  • SBA results show schools’ progress

    Results recently released showing Average Yearly Progress would suggest that the Los Alamos Public School District has a few things to work on, since only one school — Chamisa Elementary — met AYP this year.
    However, the results of the LAPS Standard Based Assessment show something a little different and after a message sent by the Public Education Department Thursday night, school administrators aren’t exactly sure where the district stands.

  • Staff Day highlights accomplishments, goals

    Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Superintendent Gene Schmidt detailed the district’s accomplishments and initiatives at the Back to School Staff Day.
    Those included:
    An acknowledgement of community members and organizations that offer continuing support to the schools, including Representative James Hall and Council Chair Sharon Stover.
    A thank you to the Los Alamos Fire and Police Departments for protecting the community and school during the Las Conchas fire, and to the custodians who had to do a second yearly cleaning after the fire.