Batista is new dean at Infinity High

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Mary Batista’s enthusiasm is infectious. With a ready smile and welcoming attitude, the new dean of students for Infinity High School and Family School, Batista is looking forward to a year filled with success for all the students at both schools.

“We have some amazing teaches here, at both schools,” Batista said.

Mary Batista Infinity High School dean

And she and those teachers have an established working relationship, since she came to IHS in 2009 as the cooperative education coordinator. Now as dean of students, she will oversee both Infinity and Family School, which is housed at IHS.

It’s not surprising that Infinity and Family School ended up under one roof, since they are both alternative schools. Family School is an alternative school for first through eighth grades, where students meet in a school setting 2 1/2 days a week, then they are home-schooled by parents 2 1/2 days a week.

Infinity, the district’s alternative high school, was founded in 2000 and moved into its current building on Fourth Street and Baca, near Belen Middle School in 2010.

Family School moved into its temporary new home in January 2013 to the second floor of Infinity High School.

The students use a science lab, computer lab and four classrooms within the high school, along with Belen Middle School’s cafeteria, gym and fields. The design work for the school’s new building is almost complete.

This year, IHS will continue to focus on its career trade student organization, Business Professionals of America.

“This is such a great program for students. It gives them so much confidence,” Batista said.

And Infinity is still home of the Best Program, Batista said, which is a transition program for special-needs students, 18 to 22 year old, who are transitioning into the work force.

The students have completed all their educational requirements but attend the Best Program to learn additional life and vocational skills.

A new addition to the school’s offerings that Batista is very excited about is a robotics program.

“We are thrilled to be starting that,” she said.

And students from IHS and Family School will continue their community work by regularly cleaning the schools’ adopted park, Willie Chavez Park.

Infinity has also held career expos the last three years that were very successful Batista said. To raise the school’s profile and that of the expos, this year they will hold an expo in conjunction with Celebrate Belen.

“We want to build positive relationships and really reach out to the community,” she said. “We want to create opportunities for our students and have the community view us as a resource.”

One way the school is doing that is by partnering with the TRIO tutoring program, a federal outreach and student services program designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We want to make this a positive place and give every student a chance to have a voice,” Batista said.