LAPS Unveils Resource Center For School Employees

Kathryn Vandenkieboom shows features of the new LAPS employee resource center during a tour of the facility Tuesday evening. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

By Bonnie J. Gordon
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus gave School Board members a sneak peek Tuesday evening of the new employee resource center, named The Source.

The Source, which is across the parking lot from the School Administration Building, will be available to all school employees.

LAPS Systems, Curriculum Mapping, and Data Analysis Coordinator Kathryn Vandenkieboom headed up the effort to create The Source.

“We were able to do it very cheaply because of equipment donations from Los Alamos National Laboratory and using found materials,” Vandenkieboom said.

The multi-roomed space is part of an office building already owned by LAPS. Most of the other offices are leased from LAPS by local small businesses.

Vandenkieboom and her team scoured LAPS for equipment for the new facility. They found a large poster printer in a basement, for example. Conference room table and chairs, white boards and other equipment that was unused or underused in their current locations were repurposed.

The space contains an office for LAPS coaches, who were without a planning and organizational space before. It also sports a conference room, copy center and exercise equipment area. The exercise equipment was donated by LANL. Virtual training can be conducted at The Source, Vandenkieboom said.

The Source will be open for meetings, and for such activities as book groups, she said. The Source grand opening is Jan. 22.

“Once they see it, I know the staff will find lots of uses for it,” Vandenkieboom said.

In other business, the School Board unanimously agreed to fund the 2019 Summer Institute. The Institute was introduced last summer. It provides staff training, both required and chosen on the basis of the needs of school employees. Funding was capped at $200,000. It includes stipends for employees to attend the sessions. The stipends will increase this year to reflect the four percent raise school employees received in 2018.

“We’ll do this as cheaply as we can,” Steinhaus assured the School Board.  

According to Vandenkieboom, who presented the proposal, evaluations of last year’s Institute were very positive.

“I’d love to see as many as possible take part this summer,” she said.

The School Board also unanimously agreed to forward a grant request to the New Mexico Public Education Department for funds to help serve immigrant students. The State of New Mexico received Title III funding from the federal government for this purpose and state officials encouraged Los Alamos to apply, said Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Accountability Jennifer Guy. The request is for $16,000 in family services and $34,000 for the acquisition of teaching and support materials.

In addition to meeting federal guidelines, parents must self-identity their children as immigrants in order to access services, Guy said, adding that LAPS serves around 75 immigrant students, she said.