• School board members wanted

    Los Alamos Public Schools School board president Judy Bjarke-McKenzie issued a call to residents recently who may be interested in running for School Board Districts 3, 4, or 5. She said, “Serving on the school board gives residents a voice in the future direction of the school system.”
    With the Dec.16 deadline for residents interested in running for a seat on the school board approaching, Bjarke-McKenzie encouraged Los Alamos residents to consider applying.
    Any resident of the district, who is a “qualified elector” (qualified to vote under the provision of both the New Mexico and U. S. Constitution) of the State of New Mexico, a resident of the school board district from which a member is to be elected, and who desires to become a candidate for the office of member of the board of the district is eligible to file a declaration of candidacy.
    The declaration of candidacy is available at the county clerk’s office or can be downloaded from the county clerk’s office website losalamosnm.us/clerk. Candidates must file a notarized declaration of candidacy to the office of the Los Alamos county clerk by Dec. 16 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Residents missing this filing date can choose to file declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate before 5 p.m.

  • Super Search Off And Running

    Judging by last week’s spate of board meetings, committee meetings, and public hearings, the Los Alamos School Board’s search for a superintendent seems to be getting off to a good start.
    In an effort to attract the best candidate, numerous meetings were held over the past several weeks in order to gauge public opinion on what the district should be looking for in its next superintendent. To make sure it received input from every sector of the community, the board had the chairs of the committees weigh in with the board.
    At a school board meeting last week, at least members from two of those boards spoke about what their committees wanted in the next superintendent.
    Bill Wadt, who chairs the board’s Community Leader Advisory Committee, spoke first at the meeting before the board, conveying several recommendations to the board on what the CLAC would like to see in Los Alamos’ next superintendent.
    Wadt emphasized his committee valued experience over a Ph.D degree as one of the most essential requirements.
    “As leaders in this community, we feel strongly that classroom teaching experience is essential, but a Ph.D isn’t,” he said to the board. Other recommendations he made is that the board hire a superintendent that makes children as well as teachers and staff members feel valued.

  • Area schools honor veterans

    Since the Los Alamos Public Schools are honoring Veteran’s Day with no school today, all of the schools in the district decided to hold their ceremonies on Monday.
    At Chamisa Elementary, students invited a vet they know to lunch with them. They also gave each one a bright red poppy flower, the symbol of Veteran’s Day.
    According to research by Chamisa’s students, the symbol was taken from a poem about a World War I battleground in Belgium known as Flanders Field.
    The students also gave them “thank you” cards for their service. Vets also received a cookie.
    A local scout troop opened the lunchtime event with an impressive color guard ceremony and the school band played patriotic songs throughout the event.
    The school also had tributes set up in the main entranceway to veterans as well as soldiers who are currently serving, complete with photographs of the veterans.
    At Mountain Elementary, they also had a flag ceremony, with the Los Alamos High School NJROTC Color guard raising the flag and leading the school in the Pledge of Allegiance.
    The students were also given stars where they could right the name of a veteran. Those were displayed in the front hallway of the school.
    At Los Alamos High School, the NJROTC Color guard also conducted the flag ceremony.

  • Highlands president to retire

    LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — The president of New Mexico Highlands University has announced his retirement after eight years as head of the school.
    Jim Fries told the Las Vegas Optic that he contemplated retirement for a year.
    Fries said he will be 72 next summer and he wants to invest more time in activities he enjoys.
    His announcement comes less than three weeks after faculty and staff publicly criticized him and his administration at a regents meeting.
    Faculty accused Fries of not communicating with them and not being transparent about budget decisions, among other things.
    “Instead of an atmosphere of leadership, we have an atmosphere of top-down direction with (an) expectation that faculty should just go along with the direction taken by the central administration,” faculty members said in a letter to regents and the administration.
    Asked whether that criticism was a factor in his decision to step down prior to his contract expiring, Fries said it wasn’t.

  • Young shooters
  • WR resident named N.M.'s top teacher

    Perhaps there really is something in the water, something that yields some pretty stellar teachers. For the second year in a row, Los Alamos is home to the New Mexico Teacher of the Year.
    Last week, White Rock resident and Pojoaque Valley High School Music Educator, Debra Minyard was announced as the next New Mexico Teacher of the Year.
    “It’s an honor to be chosen and share this award with my excellent colleagues at PVHS,” Minyard said.
    Minyard became the Band Director for PVHS in 2003. She isn’t just the leader of the band, but has developed a full music program from scratch including beginner lessons for students in grades 7-12, developing a full concert band, jazz band, and pep band and teaching Music Theory and Music Appreciation classes.
    “I am honored that the New Mexico teacher of the year is from the same district where I teach,” said State Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard. “She does Pojoaque proud.”
    Minyard is a certified Link Crew Coordinator, a transition program from the Boomerang Project, with upper classmen spending the entire school year as mentors for freshmen, with the motto, “Students helping Students Succeed.”

  • Reactions come from all sides in drug forum

    If there was anyone in the audience thinking it, by the time Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone and others were through updating the public with some uncomfortable truths about illegal drug use in Los Alamos County, no longer could they say “not my child.”
    As reported in the Los Alamos Monitor Sunday, a public forum about drug use in Los Alamos County proved to be quite illuminating –– and shocking.
    According to stats presented at the meeting, in Los Alamos County alone there were 13 fatal drug overdoses since 2008. As also reported in the Los Alamos Monitor, there were calls from audience members for the schools, where kids spend most of their time, to do more, such as introduce random drug testing as well as drug-sniffing dogs into the schools.
    Linda Pena, a probation officer with the Los Alamos court system at one point interjected, saying that the drug abuse problem was everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s problem, not just the school’s.

  • Letter warns parents about enterovirus

    Call it a sign of the times: the Los Alamos Public Schools recently sent a letter home to parents about a strain of enterovirus that recently showed up in New Mexico.
    According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, enterovirus infects the respiratory system, and it mostly shows up in children or the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system.
    Mild symptoms include coughing, body and muscle aches, runny nose, sneezing and fever. Severe symptoms include breathing difficulty and wheezing.
    The particular strain the CDC is concentrating on this year is “EV-D68,” a non-polio strain that nonetheless has already infected 938 people in 46 states and has killed at least three. People that have asthma are especially vulnerable to the disease.
    In the school district’s letter, Nursing Team Leader Michele Wright encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated against the disease.
    She also said the school system is also taking added precautions to prevent an outbreak in the schools.

  • Math contests set for November

    The University of New Mexico, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the PNM Foundation have announced the UNM-PNM Statewide Mathematics Contest for the 2014-2015 school year. The goal of the contest is to promote mathematical investigation, enhance problem-solving skills, and recognize and honor outstanding mathematics achievement among students in New Mexico.
    The contest is open to all students in grades 7-12 as well as students in lower grades who are taking a high school level math class. Students younger than 7th grade that wish to compete will be placed in the 7th-8th grade category. All other students will compete with students in their grade level category. The following are the grade level categories: 7th-8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade.
    The contest is administered in two rounds. Round I may be administered any time Nov 7-10. After the exams are graded, the top 200 finalists are invited to UNM on Saturday, February 7, 2015, to compete in Round II.

  • Superheroes invade Mountain Elementary

    Mountain Elementary Principal Jennifer Guy dressed on the schools “Superhero Day” as Batman. Last week the students got to come to school dressed as their favorite superhero.