Los Alamos School Board Meeting Summary

Standing from left, Los Alamos Heart Council Chair Phil Gursky, Fire Chief Troy Hughes and LAMC CEO John Whiteside donate an AED to provide potentially life-saving first aid for students and spectators at Sullivan Field. Courtesy photo

School Board member Stephen Boerigter listens as Los Alamos High School science teachers Debbie Grothaus and Stephanie Mitchell present information about the transition to Next Generation Science Standards in classroom instruction. Courtesy photo

LAPS News:

The Los Alamos Public School’s Board met for a regular school board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13; here’s a brief summary of what was discussed.

To begin, the board recognized the generous donation of an AED, or an automated external defibrillator, to be installed at Sullivan Field. The board thanked Phil Gursky with the Los Alamos Heart Council, Fire Chief Troy Hughes with Los Alamos Fire Department, and Los Alamos Medical Center CEO John Whiteside for donating the AED and a secure box to house the device. The AED is one-way LAPS can provide potentially life-saving first aid for students and spectators at Sullivan Field.

Next, Los Alamos High School science teachers Debbie Grothaus and Stephanie Mitchell presented information about the transition to Next Generation Science Standards in classroom instruction. This will involve more hands-on student learning. Classroom activities will include collecting and analyzing data from science experiments. The changes also include use of new equipment purchased for the science department with the help of LAPS Central Office. The new science gear, totaling $37,000 for Vernier lab equipment, included more than 300 sensors and probes, 20 labquest interfaces, six charging stations, and seven lab manuals for teachers.

According to Mitchell, this new lab equipment has many benefits. It will increase student engagement, be used in a majority of LAHS science classes, it is compatible with students’ Chromebooks, and much more. In addition, Vernier gave teachers a free full day of training on how to utilize the equipment.

After viewing photos of AP Physics students using the new equipment, Board Member Ellen Ben-Naim said, “It’s great to see that that enthusiasm from teachers is transferring to the students.”

“Their teamwork is setting an example for the whole district.” Kurt Steinhaus said.

Lastly, the district’s Learning Systems Director, Kathryn Vandenkieboom, updated the board on progress with her new position and how it connects to four of the LAPS Strategic Plan focus areas including Student Well-Being, Student Learning, Teacher and Staff Excellence and Innovative Leadership.

For example, one major focus for Vandenkieboom is aligning curriculum between grade levels, which directly impacts Student Learning. Curriculum alignment is the process in which educators engage to create and refine a course or grade level subject area. This is important because it provides a roadmap for teachers to follow when creating and presenting lessons.

Additionally, Vandenkieboom published a survey for students at the beginning of the school year to gain insight as to their overall well-being. Statements including, “I have at least one adult in school who makes me feel excited about the future,” and “My teachers know how I learn best” were posed to students.

Students answered on a 5-point scale of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

Vandenkieboom also created the LAPS Data Buildership Team, made up of teachers from around the district, in order to support and encourage a culture of data use. This correlates to Innovative Leadership in the Strategic Plan. The LAPS Data Buildership Team has just begun assisting school Leadership Teams in analyzing data that will help teachers make well informed decisions about the lessons they present.

The next school board work session is Nov. 29 at Los Alamos Middle School. The next regular school board meeting is Dec. 11 at the Los Alamos Administration Board Room.

Learning Systems Director Kathryn Vandenkieboom updates the board on progress with her new position and how it connects to four of the LAPS Strategic Plan focus areas. Courtesy photo

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