LL Schools give list of improvements

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Los Lunas Schools is busy implementing changes, improvements and getting schools' technologically up-to-date across the district.

The nine remaining elementary schools without Wi-Fi will have it this year, and several more iPads have been distributed to Ann Parrish, Sundance Elementary and the Special Services Department.

"We're in the process of installing 30 smartboards in some of our elementary schools, which is huge," said Ron Williams, assistant superintendent of operations and IT.

Williams supervises curriculum, instruction, research, data, assessment and the technology departments.

"One of our elementary schools, RGE (Raymond Gabaldon Elementary) had a 21st Century grant, so they had some money to spend in the summer and purchased 20 boards themselves. So now, another promise we made to the voters, we would work to bring the schools on an even keel as much as we could."

The department also purchased six sets of response clickers, which are very popular with the teachers, because students are able to give instant feedback, Williams said.

The district was able to purchase the added electronic media equipment with the help of federal e-rate discounts for school telecommunication services and grant funding.

The skeletal steel walls are up at the new Los Lunas High School, and a second cafeteria portable and heaters have been brought in now that it's getting colder, said Claire Cieremans, CFO supervising student nutrition, maintenance and construction, purchasing and finance.

Desert View Elementary has a new marquee, and a new marquee board for Valencia High School has been ordered.

Wheelchair ramps are being installed at Valencia Middle School, and the Valencia High School auxiliary gym has been bid, and construction is slated to start in January.

The district has another 2 mill levy election coming up in February. The 2 mill levy is mainly used for capital outlay and maintenance-repair of school buildings and grounds, Cieremans said.

"We're working on our brochures and presentation material, and will come out in December with more information and specific projects that the money will support," she said.

The district is in the process of implementing the school turn-around program developed by the Curry Institute of Education at the University of Virginia, as well as changing to the Common Core State Standards.

As part of the school turn-around program, the Los Lunas Schools District is partnering with Las Cruces Schools to improve bilingual education, said Brian Baca, assistant superintendent.

Six staff members traveled to Las Cruces and saw the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Enrichment Model strategy in action.

Doctors Leo Gomez and Richard Gomez, two brothers from Texas, are the creators of the strategy, and will visit the district to provide an overview of their program for possible district implementation.

This year, the standards-based grading report cards were implemented in grades K-3, and the district is now shifting its focus to the next Common Core standards-based report cards for grades 4-12 in the 2013-14 school year.

The Safety and Security Department is working with New Mexico Game and Fish in a student archery program and all-terrain vehicle training as an alternative to truancy, said Dana Sanders, assistant superintendent. The department is also on the underage drinking board and works with teen court. Prison tours are given to at-risk students along with interventions to keep youth out of trouble, she said.

They are currently working to set up a system on the safety and security website for students and parents to report incidents of bullying.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.