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Los Alamos School Board Work Session Update

on March 6, 2019 - 3:20pm

Los Alamos School Board members from left, Stephen Boerigter, Secretary Andrea Cunningham, President Jenny McCumber, Vice President Ellen Ben-Naim and Bill Hargraves. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

The Los Alamos Public School’s Board met for a work session Feb. 28 in the high school library; here are the highlights of what was discussed.

To begin, the board recognized LAHS students Michael Chigaev, Elijah Pelofske, Conner Ritter, Do Vo and Steven Zhao who won the Regional Science Bowl Competition. The team will advance to the National Science Bowl in Washington, DC in the spring.

The board also recognized members of the Hawktalkers and Hilltalkers, coached by Sherri Bublitz and Margo Batha, respectively. LAHS Hilltalker captain Sonyia Williams told the board that the guiding  motto of the team is “win with humility, lose with grace.” 

“Thank you to Ms. Batha and Ms. Bublitz for giving all their time to spend with high school and middle school students who like to talk for fun,” Williams said.

President McCumber acknowledged that March 1 is National Speech and Debate Education Day, and read from a letter she had received in advance from the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) announcing that Margo Batha was being named the 2019 NSDA Educator of the Year award.

Following the celebration, LAHS Principal Carter Payne and TFA Principal Jill Gonzales gave a presentation on new developments at the schools during the 2018-2019 school year, including the new advisement program. They also discussed four key focus areas:

  • staff ownership, including staff-focused and staff-driven professional development;
  • student ownership, featuring new activities and new traditions,
  • academic and social-emotional student support; and
  • parent engagement, which includes new informational opportunities such as College Appliction Bootcamp and Freshman Parent 101, as well as Coffee with the Counselors and Parent Nights.

Next, Andrea Cunningham and Rosendo Garcia, Bradbury Stamm project manager, provided an update on the Barranca Construction project.  The roof is 85% complete, the first floor pathways and rough in is 90% complete, and the second floor pathways and rough in is 75% complete. The exterior wall sheathing is also 85% complete.  Work on the electrical rough in has also started. According to Garcia, the project is about two weeks behind due to the snowstorms, but assured the board that the time would be made up without any additional costs over the next four months.

The board echoed the sentiments of Cunningham, who said, “It’s amazing that the project is only two weeks behind with all that snow.”

Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus then updated the board on the progress of the Mountain Elementary School Systems Project. LAPS administration has held meetings with parents and staff to discuss the proposed improvements at the school, including HVAC improvements, restroom upgrades, roof and sidewalk improvements, and electrical and water line upgrades.

Then the board heard from Marilyn Strub of Greer Stafford Architecture regarding the LAPS Facilities Master Plan. GS Architecture is working with the district to develop a facilities master plan for the next five years. The process includes community meetings as well as meeting with county and lab representatives. 

The report also will take into consideration enrollment figures, proposed housing developments, and available funding.

The board also approved the 2019-2020 budget committee charter as presented by Dr. Steinhaus. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the budget committee meetings. The first meeting is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m., April 9 in the Los Alamos High School Speech Theater. Another meeting will be held 5:30-7 p.m., April 23 at the White Rock Library.

Jennifer Guy presented proposed changes to regulations on administration of medication at school, extracurricular activities code and intramural and interscholastic athletics.

School Board President Jenny McCumber presented feedback and will be working on changes to board policy related to the local election act.

The next regular school board meeting is March 12 at the Los Alamos Administration Board Room.

The next school board work session is March 21 at Chamisa Elementary School.


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