Classified School Employees Council-Las Cruces (CSEC) President Irma Valdespino announced that the district and CSEC-LC are set to resume salary negotiations as early as next week.

“I’m glad we were able to get to this point, and we hope to finish negotiations as soon as possible,” Valdespino said. “As partners with the district, we will continue to work collaboratively.”

Valdespino also explained that once CSEC-LC and LCPS reach a tentative agreement, it will first be sent to all CSEC-LC members for ratification then to the Board for ratification, before it is put into place.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing announced that Wendy Alberson has been appointed as the new National Education Association-Las Cruces (NEA-LC) President. In her opening remarks, Alberson thanked Past-President Bruce Hartman for his service to NEA-LC. “He spent countless hours working for our membership and fostering the relationship with our district and we look forward to his continued work as our past president,” Alberson said.  “As we move forward, we are committed to representing our members and advocating for the students they care for.”

Recognitions

Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing recognized Julie Janecka, a teacher at East Picacho Elementary, who was recently named the 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year award by the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau’s New Mexico Agriculture in the Classroom Program. Janecka now goes on to represent New Mexico in the national Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year competition in Portland, Maine.

Ewing also recognized Sabina Aguilar and Mary Underwood, both retired LCPS employees, for being inducted into the National Education Association-New Mexico Hall of Fame, Tommy Flores, lead custodian at Central Elementary, named the NEA-NM Education Support Professional of the Year, and Irma Valdespino, the Classified School Employees Council – Las Cruces (CESC-LC) president, named the NEA-NM Advocate of the Year.

In addition, Ewing recognized Dr. Maria Artiaga, Head Start Director, for earning the New Mexico Public Education Department Focus Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System Outstanding Educator Award for her work with LCPS early childhood educations programs.

Ewing also honored Dr. Anita Hernandez and Dr. Jose Montelongo, both professors at New Mexico State University, for providing professional development to teachers with bilingual and English Learner students, and for securing a federal grant that will allow 12 LCPS teachers to attain their Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages certification.

Finally, Ewing recognized Merissa, an Oñate High School student, who saw one of her fellow students having a seizure and she immediately notified the school nurse so the student could receive prompt medical attention.

Public Input

During the public input section of the meeting, two students from Arrowhead Park Early College High School gave a brief presentation, about a 24/7 anti-tobacco campaign. The presentation included recommendations for additional tobacco-free signage at district facilities and modifications to the district’s tobacco policy. Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing said district officials will work with the students in the coming months to discuss possible changes to the current no-tobacco policy.

Bilingual and Migrant Education Initiatives

Superintendent Ewing announced a Bilingual & Migrant Education Department initiative to provide presents for about 180 students who are the children of migrant workers living and working in the Las Cruces area. In the initiative, Wish Upon a Star, community members visit a tree display in the LCPS Administration Building lobby to select paper stars bearing the names and ages of migrant children. The kids will receive an age-appropriate gift before the holidays.

Ewing also announced that the Bilingual & Migrant Education Department will host a Posada, Monday, Dec. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the LCPS Administration Building. The word “posada” means “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish.  At the event, food and donated gifts will be provided to the migrant children.

Complimentary tickets to the Arizona Bowl

Superintendent Ewing announced that an anonymous benefactor has offered to donate up to two tickets for every LCPS employee to attend the Arizona Bowl Football game. The football game, where New Mexico State University will face Utah State Friday, Dec. 29 in Tucson, AZ, will be the first time since 1960 that NMSU will compete in a bowl game, and the fourth time in program history. “It’s great that a donor honors the hard work by our teachers and staff by recognizing them in this way,” Ewing said.

New Administrator Assignments

Superintendent Ewing announced several new administrator assignments: Rey Muñoz, Assistant Principal at Mayfield High School; Ramón Acosta, Interim Principal at Monte Vista Elementary School; Ana Candelaria, Interim Assistant Principal at Sonoma Elementary; and Lisa Dominguez, Assistant Principal at Vista Middle School. Ewing also announced that Andres Armijo will serve as the Principal/Executive Director of the CrossRoads Program, in addition to his role as the Ethnic Studies Coordinator.

Bond Update

Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing announced that Ben Woods has agreed to chair the citizen-based “blue ribbon committee.” Composed of community members, parents and voters, the committee is designed help raise community awareness about the district’s needs and assist with private donations to support the February 2018 general obligation bond campaign. No LCPS funds will be used in the committee’s awareness campaign.

“It’s a great honor to be part of this effort, because I know from first-hand experience the significance these dollars play in the lives of our teachers, staff and students,” Woods said. “These projects, if left uncompleted, would have a significant detrimental impact on the future of the district and students.”

Woods is currently an administrator at MountainView Regional Medical Hospital, and is a member of the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a member of the U.S. Bank board of directors and just recently completed a four-year term as an LCPS Foundation board member. Prior to his retirement, Woods was formerly the New Mexico State University president’s chief of staff.

PSCOC for Facilities Master Plan Funding

Deputy Superintendent Gabe Jacquez announced that the district has been awarded up to $247,949 in grant funding to assist with the development of a districtwide five-year facilities master plan. The five-year FMP is required for LCPS to apply for Public School Capital Outlay funding to assist with capital construction projects. The Board of Education unanimously voted to accept the award. Jacquez said the district will likely start the FMP procurement process in Jan. 2018.

Energy Education Initiative Update

Deputy Superintendent Gabe Jacquez gave a brief presentation about the districtwide Education program developed in the 2009-2010 school year. The energy education initiative was developed to help create energy efficient practices throughout the district.

Over the course of several years, the district saw cost savings of millions of dollars. Jacquez also announced that an energy initiative task force has been created to help analyze energy data and make future recommendations about sustainable energy and energy efficiency.  Board Vice President Ed Frank and Board Member Maury Castro volunteered to serve on the committee.

Letters to the Public Education Department

Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing discussed two letters that were recently sent to the PED. The first letter asked for clarification about the specifics of the newly created PED Student Leader Network and the second letter voiced concerns about proposed changes to the history and social studies end-of-course blueprint. Click here for more information about the blueprint letter.

Board Reports

Board President Maria Flores:

  • Attended the New Mexico School Board Association conference in Albuquerque
  • Attended the Mesilla Park Elementary Writing Rodeo
  • Attended an NEA national training by the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project
  • Attended a joint-city council work session
  • Took a tour of the construction at Las Cruces High School
  • Visited CrossRoads and Mesa Middle School

Board Vice President Ed Frank:

  •  Attended the New Mexico School Board Association conference in Albuquerque
  • Attended a joint-city council work session

Board Secretary Ray Jaramillo:

  • Attended the New Mexico School Board Association conference in Albuquerque
  • Attended a joint-city council work session

Board Member Maury Castro:

  • Attended the New Mexico School Board Association conference in Albuquerque
  • Attended a joint-city council work session

Board Member Terrie Dallman:

  • Attended the New Mexico School Board Association conference in Albuquerque
  • Attended an NEA national training by the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project
  • Attended the joint-city council work session
  • Took a tour of Centennial High School.
  • Attended a finance committee meeting.
  • Judged the Zia middle School spelling bee.
  • Celebrated Ray Jaramillo’s graduation from NMSU.

-LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808