The Los Alamos School Board met Tuesday evening for their last meeting of 2019. This was also the last official meeting for School Board members Andrea Cunningham, Bill Hargraves and Jenny McCumber. New members Julia Baker, Christine Bernstein and Dawn Jalbert will be seated at the January meeting.
School Board President Ellen Ben-Naim opened the meeting with a moment of silence in remembrance of the two students who passed away recently.
Outgoing board members received leadership achievement and exemplary awards from the New Mexico School Boars Association for outstanding leadership and training. Keith Rosenbaum, LAPS Director of Transportation, was recognized for his hard work in hiring drivers to cover bus service for the district.
Los Alamos High School Student Body Representatives Emily Holmes and Rebekah Lockhart reported on November activities at the high school including the month of giving, Operation Gratitude where students composed letters to send to soldiers, and a coat drive. They noted that students are preparing for finals next week.
Barranca Principal Gina Terrazas updated the Board on construction at Barranca and said that Pre-K and kindergarten teachers are excited about moving into the renovated 200 wing. Work is continuing on the 100 building and will be completed in the spring.
Kristine Coblentz, LAPS Healthy Schools Director, provided an update on the district’s Healthy Schools Initiative. This initiative is in its third year and aims to provide safe, positive, nurturing environments for all, including students, staff and the community. The goal is to weave social and emotional learning into all environments. Coblentz noted in her presentation these five accomplishments:
- Expanding prevention programs for K-12
- Offering professional development opportunities for staff
- Implementing the Safe Space initiative and Safe and Civil Schools framework
- Leveraging county funding for programs and promoting the message of resilience
- Highlighting and strengthening existing programs, encouraging innovation and increasing engagement across the district
Coblentz thanked the board for their support of the Healthy Schools Initiative and the positive impact it has made on the students, staff and community. School board member Bill Hargraves noted that he was on the board before this initiative was implemented and told Coblentz, “You do make a difference.”
The board then voted to approve the 2020 Legislative brochure with a few modifications. Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus pointed out that there are three important issues that will be addressed at the upcoming 30-day legislative session in relation to education: budget, the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit and impact aid. The brochure reflects the School Board’s legislative priorities for 2020 including implementing raises for all New Mexico school employees to become regionally competitive and increasing understanding of the importance of student and staff well-being.
Finally, the School Board was briefed on policy updates for provisions for school lunch and education of students who have or are carriers of communicable diseases. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Guy and School Board member Jenny McCumber have been reviewing and updating the school board policies over the past several months to ensure compliance and consistency.
The next regular meeting of the School Board will be Tuesday, Jan. 14 in the Boardroom. The next School Board work session is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23 at Mountain Elementary School.