• Plans for Buffalo Thunder prom are still on track

    Prom organizers were greeted with cheers and applause from the Los Alamos High School’s senior class Wednesday as the high school’s junior class, the class that’s sponsoring the prom, filled them in on their plans to host their plans at Buffalo Thunder Resort.
    The ticket prices will be $50, which includes a three-course meal and the dance. The minimum financial commitment is $6,000, which equals a minimum of 120 participants.
    According to Lisa Montoya, chief financial officer for Los Alamos Public Schools, Buffalo Thunder has committed to a maximum of 500 prom attendees. Historically, average prom attendance has been between 320 to 370 persons, according to administration officials.
    Prom organizers have until March 1 to meet the minimum financial requirement to reserve the venue. According to the school administration, the students have been busy raising the funds needed to make their plan work.
    Reports are the school’s annual ’Topper Revue has been very successful.
    For those interested in attending, performances are 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Monday.
    Also, Buffalo Thunder Resort Event Organizer Peter Lovato has offered prom organizers the use of its shuttles to and from the prom.

  • Foundation accepting proposals

    The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is planning to award grants for innovative ideas that augment the basic curriculum from licensed teachers in the district.
    Parents can team with licensed teachers to apply for grants. The Spring Great Ideas Grant applications are due Feb. 17. Applications must be received by 4 p.m.
    Grants will be awarded in May. Grant winners must implement their proposed projects by December 2015. 
    For additional information, to view past winners, or download the grant in PDF or Word form, visit the Foundation’s website at lapsfoundation.com under the “Teacher Grant” icon.
    Additionally, proposals are being accepted for Professional Developments Grants.
    The 2015 Professional Development Grant window is open and proposals are due by the Feb. 17 deadline.
    The intent of the LAPSF grant is to fund professional development opportunities for the summer or fall of 2015. Professional development grants are for teachers to attend training or to provide training to others within the local public district.
    Grant Proposals that will be considered include the following:
    • Educators who will attend training with the goal of bringing newfound knowledge in a content area back to their school, department and students.

  • At Attention

    Cadets from the Los Alamos High School NJROTC present the colors at a recent student of the term breakfast at Los Alamos Middle School.

  • DOE announces renewal of funds for Innovation hub

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced today it would renew funding, subject to congressional appropriations, for the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL), an Energy Innovation Hub established in 2010 to develop advanced computing capabilities that serve as a virtual version of existing, operating nuclear reactors.
    The move, according to the DOE, “would help enable the role that nuclear energy has in providing dependable and affordable energy to America while advancing innovative research in an energy source central to achieving the president’s goals for a low-carbon energy future.”
    Under the funding plan, the Hub would receive up to $121.5 million over five years, subject to congressional appropriations.
    Over the next five years, CASL researchers would be directed to focus on extending the modeling and simulation tools built during its first phase to include additional nuclear reactor designs, including small modular reactors.

  • Science fair winners announced

    The results of last weekend’s Los Alamos County Science Fair were announced by the Los Alamos Public Schools Friday.
    Among the top winners at the ceremony was Elise Anne Koskello, a junior at Los Alamos High School, who won in the senior division physical sciences.
    There were winners in both physical and life science categories in the upper and lower grades.
    Also in the senior division, Priyanka Velappan, a LAHS freshman, won in the life science division.
    The two junior division winners were Lillian Petersen for physical science and Rockwell Leikness for life science.
    Petersen is a seventh grader at Los Alamos Middle School and Leikness is a sixth grader attending Aspen Elementary School.

  • Students unveil prom plans

    It’s an ambitious plan for a prom, but Los Alamos High School students Deanna Gutierrez and Jordan Henson seem to have plenty of inside and outside support for their plan.
    Their plan was presented at Thursday’s work session of the Los Alamos School Board where Gutierrez, the junior class president, and Henson, the vice president, went detail by detail through their presentation of two prom proposals.
    One proposal centered on having the prom at the Los Alamos County Golf Course. The other was centered on going “off the hill” to Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino.
    When they were done with the comparison part of the presentation, the two students announced that the class preferred Buffalo Thunder.
    Even though there was a $14 price difference in the tickets, Henson said the students preferred Buffalo Thunder because they felt they would be getting more bang for their buck for their $50 ticket.
    Prom at Buffalo Thunder would include a three-course dinner in a ballroom setting with clean up and set up included. She also said that the junior class, which has been fundraising since they were freshmen, will be paying for the DJ, the court supplies and the tickets.

  • Canyon School getting facelift

    The Canyon Complex, the low-profile building on Fourth Street owned by the Los Alamos Public Schools, will be getting an upgrade soon. The building is used as a training center for Los Alamos National Laboratory, but used to be Canyon Elementary School.
    According to school officials, the building, which is more than 50 years old, was due for some much needed cosmetic improvements on the outside, as well as some key improvements to the interior.
    When the project is completed, the building will be enveloped in a modern looking metal exterior designed to make the exterior facade look unified and modern looking. A key feature of that is extending the facade slightly beyond the roof so as to hide the boxy looking heating and air conditioning units on the roof.
    According to LAPS’ Chief Operations Officer Joanie Ahlers, the upgrade will cost about $640,000 and will feature some key interior improvements, as well.
    The renovation will primarily focus on the south wing, and will also include new bathrooms, doors and windows. The improvements, including the metal facade are also designed to improve energy efficiency.
    Carpeting will also be replaced during the renovation.
    Ahlers said the bid was originally just going to cover the facade, but the bids were so competitive, they were able to include the bathroom renovations.

  • Board hopefuls face issues

    At a recent League of Women Voters of Los Alamos forum, Los Alamos residents got a good look at the Los Alamos School Board candidates running for the three seats up for grab this election.
    Those candidates are Nan Holmes, William Hargraves and Sheryl Nichols in District 3, Andrea Cunningham and Michael Fassbender in District 4 and Jennifer McCumber in District 5.
    Many questions were asked of the candidates, and most of them were about funding.
    Barbara Calef, president of the LWVLA forum, kicked off the money questions asking about how the district can maintain a steady flow of funding.
    All of the candidates agreed that the expansion of community and county partnerships was the way to go.
    Hargraves told the audience that one has to be realistic, and that “they aren’t going to get a lot of money from the state.”
    Fassbender suggested forging as well expanding partnerships with local entities that already have limited partnerships with the schools, such a UNM-LA, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the county in general.
    Holmes agreed with this, especially in the face of what she said were some upcoming challenges being faced by the school board this year due to a shortfall in the state budget.

  • UNM-LA Advisory Board candidates weigh in

    This may get a little confusing.
    There are four candidates running for two positions on the Los Alamos Advisory Board, the board that advises and guides the CEO of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos campus.
    Three candidates are running for Position 3. They are Michael Dirosa, Troy Hughes and James Robinson. Anyone from anywhere in Los Alamos can vote for one of them, since the board has no districts.
    After that, voters can also go ahead and vote for Steven Boerigter, the incumbent and chairman of the UNM-LA Board, even though he is running unopposed.
    At Wednesday night’s League of Women Voters, Los Alamos voters forum, the three candidates for Position 3 got their chance to interact with the public to explain why they would be the best candidate for the job as well as answer questions concerning certain issues surrounding UNM-LA.
    Due to the rules of the forum however, Boerigter could not answer questions from the audience, since he had no challengers. However, he could give an opening and introductory statement, explain his viewpoints and perspective on certain issues, but nothing else.
    As a result, most of the UNM-LA Advisory Board section of the forum was dedicated to the candidates running for Position 3.

  • LAPS to lobby for slowdown of N.M. eval system

    When the New Mexico State Legislature meets this January, representatives from the Los Alamos Public Schools will be ready with their wishlist.
    According to a pamphlet that will be distributed to the legislature, that wishlist includes:

    • Increased salaries for all staff
    • Sufficient funding for the “above the line” budget
    • Flexibility when it comes to adoption of the state’s teacher evaluation system
    • Increased funding for transportation for all schools (not just charter schools)
    • Capital outlay funding for structural repairs to the Duane Smith Auditorium (mostly weatherproofing the outside of the building, stucco).