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Highlights From School Board Work Session

on October 28, 2014 - 6:03am
The Los Alamos School Board listens as parents express concerns about drug use among local students. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Several parents spoke out about drug problems at the Los Alamos Public Schools during Public Comment at Thursday’s School Board Work Session at Los Alamos Middle School.

One parent said other parents are in denial about drug use in the high school.

“Teachers are seeing students wasted in class. Teachers need education on the symptoms of drug use. The high school is a safe haven for drug use,” he said.

Another parent said middle school students are being introduced to drugs by high school students they meet on the shared school bus from White Rock and perhaps separate buses should be considered.

The School Board decided to place the issue on a future agenda and directed District staff to investigate working with the County and other community groups and institutions to address the issue.

Curriculum and Technology Director Pam Miller reported that 107 elementary school students attended summer school. Scores of 3-6 graders improved on MAPS tests, while K-2 stayed about the same. Summer school cost about $25 per day per student and was funded by state funds and tuition, Miller said.

In a legislative report, Board Member Jim Hall said the District should perhaps consider hiring a lobbyist for this year’s legislative session, calling last year’s lobbying efforts “a debacle.” The cost would be $10,000 to $15,000, Hall said.

Middle School Principal Rex Kilburn gave a report and slide show on how the year is going at LAMS. The current student count at LAMS is 596 as of Thursday, Kilburn said. He stressed that the atmosphere at the school is welcoming thanks to the efforts of teachers and the group WEB Crew, which pairs seventh graders with eighth grade mentors.

“I have a happy school,” Kilburn said. “I think that’s very important.”

The Board voted to place the search for a new superintendent as a permanent item on future School Board agendas. Recently, the Board chose Ray and Associates, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as the firm that will conduct the recruitment search. The company specializes in educational executive searches.

Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie said the firm was selected because of their willingness to involve the community in their search effort and because they received an excellent recommendation from the Santa Fe School District, which used the firm for its own superintendent search.

“Santa Fe used them and got an excellent superintendent,” Bjarke-McKenzie said.