LAPS receives additional funding from state

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By The Staff

Los Alamos was one of seven school districts and a charter school to new funding from the state’s "Reads to Lead" program Thursday.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) made the notifications this morning and the recipients were among 43 applications for funding received by NMPED.

The recipients will implement new programs focused on literacy from Kindergarten through the third grade starting in the 2012-2013 school year. These new funds will be used in combination with successful efforts in place in many of these districts and be specifically targeted to helping the students who struggle most in reading.

Los Alamos will receive $177,068 from the grant.

“Los Alamos is very excited to receive New Mexico’s 'Reads to Lead' grant,” LAPS superientendent Gene Schmidt said. “ The $177,068 will make an enormous difference in the lives of our early readers.  The grant provides for a K-3 reading coach, extensive professional development for K-3 teachers, and classroom observation training for staff. 

“Our community owes a special thanks to Megan Lee, Paula Dean, Suzanne Lynne, Debbie Smith, and Jill Gonzales for writing the grant application – many of whom volunteered time from their summer vacation. In addition, the awarding of this grant to Los Alamos speaks well of our belief that early reading intervention can make a difference.”

LAPS board vice president Dawn Venhaus added, “The grant provides exciting opportunities for our students who are just beginning to explore the joy of reading.”
Other districts receiving funding include Albuquerque, Bernallilo, Gallup-McKinley, La Promesa Charter School, Azztec, Pecos and Raton.

“Reading is the foundation for success in every other subject and that’s why we’ve made it a priority,” said Governor Susana Martinez. Recently released assessments reveal only a little more than half of New Mexico students are reading on grade level. “For too long, we have seen the state throw money at our education problems without a real plan in place to help our students and improve their ability to learn in the classroom. These funds are strategically targeted to programs we know will help students the most.”

“Every one of these districts has demonstrated they will use these funds in a way that will deliver results for our students,” said NMPED Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera. “We expect these dollars will make a difference with our students that struggle the most.” 

In addition to those recipients, there are five districts receiving provisional approval. However, these districts must still provide further information to meet clearly defined expectations for the program.

They are Espanola, Central Consolidated, Morairty-Edgewood, Lovington and Santa Fe.

This new funding is part of the $8.5 million signed by Governor Martinez for early reading interventions. The New Mexico ‘Reads to Lead’ program will also fund additional efforts that include:

$3 million to provide reading assessments for every New Mexico student from Kindergarten through third grade.

$1 million for 14 statewide reading coaches to assist educators.

$1 million for literacy based professional development available to every teacher in the state.

Los Alamos assistant superitendent Paula Dean said,  “This grant presents an opportunity for everyone to really get excited about reading. It also allows K-3 reading teachers an opportunity expand their tool kit of instructional strategies.”