LAPS Parent Newsletter

December 8, 2020

LAPS Updates

COVID Testing & Vaccinations

Pilot School District for Saliva COVID Testing - 100% voluntary for staff

I am pleased to share that we have the opportunity to begin the transition from nasal tests to a less-invasive at-home saliva test. Most staff will like this better because it is self-administered and is less invasive than the swab nose test. More information will be coming later this week.

Vaccination Plan for Los Alamos

Los Alamos County may be receiving the first round of vaccinations in two or three weeks, and Griffith Gym at Los Alamos High School will likely be used as a vaccination site. More information will follow if one or more of the vaccines are approved at the federal level.

State Legislators Representing Los Alamos

Three NM legislators have been invited to the School Board meeting tonight for an informal meet and great. This is a first for LAPS. Representative Christine Chandler and Senator Leo Jaramillo are confirmed to attend at 5:30 pm. Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales plans to attend at 7:00 pm.

Contingency Planning for LAPS

Contingency Plan - Superintendent's Office

In the event that the Superintendent is out due to COVID, we will implement a plan to: 1) minimize disruptions and continue forward progress for LAPS, 2) clarify modified roles and responsibilities for staff and 3) maximize safety protocols for all staff, students and families. This builds upon current LAPS planning and all of the preventive and safety information developed over the last seven months. A summary can be found by clicking here.

Full Transparency Communications - the School Board, staff and parents will be informed about any changes in leadership roles. LAPS schools and the Central Office have an up-to-date list of contacts with mobile phone numbers.

Cross-training - in order to reduce the number of single points of failure at LAPS, extensive cross-training is being implemented.

District Leadership Team (DLT) - members include Kurt Steinhaus, Jennifer Guy, Kathryn Vandenkieboom, Carter Payne, and Deb Larson. Using the LAPS Strategic Plan, forward movement will be evident even if one or more members are absent. DLT will use the following guiding principals for data-informed decisions:

  1. Guidance from epidemiologists, health officials and federal, state, and local governments.
  2. Impact on the physical and mental well-being of students and staff.
  3. Coordination with our community and other partners like the Lab and County.

School Safety Plans

By January 2021, all LAPS School Safety Plans will be updated and submitted to the Public Education Department. We are following these state guidelines that align with the FEMA National Response Framework.

Planned Interventions for Learning Loss

LAPS teachers, school counselors and Principals are adjusting to virtual and hybrid class routines, implementing tutoring strategies, checking on mental health, and individually contacting students most at risk of academic struggles this school year.

Less time in the classroom means that LAPS leadership and teachers have to streamline curricula and focus on the essential standards. The Los Alamos plan includes these five steps to keep children on track for learning.

  1. Focus on the most important work of the grade or course.
  2. Clarify what students will need to know and be able to do in order to successfully complete grade-level work. Then, identify places where teachers might need guidance on how to revisit these prerequisite skills and content from last spring.
  3. Continue and refine the process of LAPS curriculum mapping.
  4. Customize supports based upon individual students’ needs.
  5. Expand teacher tools for remote learning, small-group work, and hybrid instruction.

Well-Being Tips

The Stress Continuum

This COVID site from Colorado has a really useful infographic (below) for identifying the level of stress you might be feeling.

Expect that where you are on this continuum can change. It’s also important to remember that people will react differently to the same situation, and that is ok.

Know that:

  • What you are feeling and experiencing matters

  • It’s likely that many people are feeling similar

  • There are resources—and people—to help you

They also include helpful stress reduction strategies for coping with stress, burnout, and trauma.

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Quick Takes

LAMS Jazz Band - Quarantine Blues

Please enjoy the latest virtual performance from the LAPS music program. This is the LAMS Jazz Band with special guests from the Jackson Middle School Jazz Band in Albuquerque. They are playing a piece by William and Ryan Finn, "Quarantine Blues." There are a number of awesome soloists and some great quotes from students sprinkled in.
Quarantine Blues

Towering Above Competition Finalists

The Towering Above Paper Tower Building Challenge recently announced their finalists who will be advancing to the Interview Round of the event. Los Alamos is well represented in the list of finalists with three LAHS students and one Chamisa 6th grader.

The Towering Above Virtual Engineering Competition is a NM MESA virtual competition to test students' creativity and engineering skills with a paper tower building challenge using simple supplies of construction paper and scotch tape.

All are invited to the Final Awards Show where winners in all categories will be announced. Tune in Friday, Dec. 11th, 2020 at 2:00 PM here:

Pictured below are the LAPS finalists' towers, clockwise from top left: Gavin Bent, Aaron Philip, Konstantin Nelson, and Ryland Ferran.

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County Support

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Upcoming Events

Calendar Items

Tuesday, Dec. 8th - School Board Meeting, 5:30 pm

Wednesday, Dec 9th - LAPS Foundation Board meeting, 5:00 pm

Thursday, Dec 10th - LAPS Foundation Virtual Teacher Dinner, 5:30 pm

Dec. 21st - Jan. 1st - Winter Break

Monday, Jan. 4th - Teacher work day

Tuesday, Jan. 5th - Winter Institute; district-wide virtual professional development day

Wednesday, Jan. 6th - Start of Second Semester

Monday, Jan. 18th - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; holiday

Tuesday, Jan. 19th - Return to Hybrid for elementary schools

Los Alamos Public Schools

Los Alamos Public Schools is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, handicap, political status, or veteran status in employment or the provision of services. (LAPS Policy 4070)