LAPS School Board Work Session Recap

LAPS News:

The Los Alamos Public School Board met Thursday evening, May 28 for a work session.

Board President Ellen Ben-Naim and members Julia Baker, Christine Bernstein and Dawn Jalbert joined the virtual meeting via Google Meet.

The meeting started with recognitions by the board. Ben-Naim acknowledged the contributions of senior student liaisons Ogden Berry, Zoe Butler and Justin Pena for their contributions to the School Board over the past two years.

Kimberly Clayton was honored as the school district’s nomination as New Mexico Teacher of the Year, and Susan Fellows was recognized for her contributions to the district’s safety program and implementing the Say Something app for middle and high school students.

The School Board then approved the Safe-Start and Innovative Learning Task Force, which is developing plans for the successful opening of school in the fall. Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus explained that most school districts have created a task force similar to the LAPS group to create a detailed plan for starting school safely, conducting the teaching and learning process during the 2020-2021 school year, and reviewing data, identifying improvement areas and reporting progress.

Julia Baker and Christine Bernstein volunteered to represent the school board on the task force. The 2020-2021 School Board meeting calendar also was approved. Regular meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m., and work sessions are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of each month. Exceptions include meetings in April, November and December. For the meantime, meetings will be held virtually in accordance with state requirements for COVID-19.

The initial budget for the district’s Pre K program at Piñon Elementary also was approved. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Guy reported that LAPS was awarded $300,000 for an extended day prekindergarten program. This will accommodate two classes of 4-year-olds for five hours a day, five days a week. Students will be selected by lottery.

The school board next approved the application for $11,509.04 through the Title III Federal Program to supplement instruction with English language learners and immigrant students, including materials and professional development for EL teachers. Baker noted that “equitable access to materials is important”.

The school board also approved the application for $43,413.70 through the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) CARES Act. This funding will help with materials needed in response to COVID-19, including hand sanitizing stations, touchless thermometers, portable hand washing stations, cleaning supplies and equipment, and other protective personal equipment.

In the final piece of business for the evening, the school board approved the annual review of School Board Policy 3470, which addresses per pupil expenditures. There were no changes to the policy, but an annual review is required.

The next regular school board meeting is Tuesday, June 9. The next school board work session is Thursday, June 25. Both meetings are scheduled to meet virtually via Google Meet.

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