Los Alamos Schools Earn High Marks From State

LAPS News:

Los Alamos Public Schools received high marks from the New Mexico Public Education Department. Three schools were awarded “A” grades and four schools earned “B” grades for 2014. 

Just released report cards by the NMPED reflected the high quality of instruction by Los Alamos schools. Schools receiving “A” grades included Los Alamos High School, Barranca Mesa Elementary and Mountain Elementary. Aspen, Chamisa, Pinon and Los Alamos Middle School received “B” grades.

All seven school principals were pleased with their school grades. Sandy Warnock, retired LAHS Principal, whose school recorded its third consecutive “A” grade spoke for the group when she stated that the grades were a reflection of great work of teachers, students and parents.  

New LAHS Principal Debbie Belew-Nyquist shared similar remarks stating, “I am very proud to be a part of this great school system. I look forward to working with staff, students, and parents to grow the reputation of educational excellence of the high school.”

School Board President Judy Bjarke-McKenzie was equally effusive in her praise or teacher and students stating, “The district is pleased with this recognition and that it validates the great work in the classroom.”

LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt commented that this year’s school grades were higher than last year when only two schools (LAHS and Aspen) received “A” grades and one school received a “C.”  He attributed the improvement in scores to an increased focus on the growth of lowest performing students.

Barranca Principal Brad Parker praised teachers for their efforts in the classroom. Barranca was one of two schools in the district that improved in the category of school growth, which reflects growth over the past three years. 

Aspen Principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom expressed positive feelings toward the School Grade Report Card of “B” due to all the distraction of the school construction. She praised teachers for their efforts to maintain student focus on education.

Chamisa Principal Debbie Smith praised her staff for achieving a big improvement in their report card. Chamisa, which received 73.68 total points, was just 1.32 points from an “A” grade.

Another school with reason to be excited about the School Grade Report Card was Mountain Elementary, which had a huge jump in their grade. Mountain moved from a “C” in 2013 to an “A” in 2014.  The improvement was generated by an improvement in overall school growth, which reflects trends over the past three years.

LAMS Principal Rex Kilburn, whose school recorded a solid “B”, was pleased with the report card; but like all the principals, felt there was room for improvement. Kilburn thanked teachers and students for their hard work and challenged next year’s students to do even better.

Pinon Elementary Principal Jill Gonzales, whose school received a “B,” noted her school was on an upward trajectory. “Trend data,” she stated, “was better than last year.” She went on to praise teachers and students for their hard work in the classroom.

The strong performance by all seven schools highlighted the strong educational system in Los Alamos. In contrast to other districts, whose report cards showed a wider range, Los Alamos School Grade Report Cards were tightly bunched. This is a strong indicator that no matter which school a student attends, the quality of instruction will be very high.