Vivid input from parents during Los Alamos Public Schools Board Meeting Votes 4-1 For ‘Calendar C’

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Mar 25, 2023, 10:50:04 AM3/25/23

Vivid input from parents during Los Alamos Public Schools Board Meeting Votes 4-1 For ‘Calendar C’

I was disappointed that the school board voted for Calendar C, despite most of the parents, teachers and students voted for Calendar A.

It felt like the school board didn’t listen to us and went along with their preconceived notion what they are going to vote for.

In Monday’s meeting, it was disclosed that MS and HS wouldn’t need additional hours and that only Elementary schools needed to increase the hours to meet the required 1140 hours by the state. That could have been achieved by simply adding the time on Wednesdays. Perhaps it would have been a solution to transition to a new schedule.

In Thursday’s School Board Meeting, Mrs. Guy presented additional programs with an already existing $ 13 Million budget. The proposed programs for additional funding was $ 649 000.- for a program that adds 6 additional math teachers who are more “movtivated and teach in a fun way”. I believe that our teachers are quite capable and skilled to teach academics and that there is no need to add teachers. Our teachers work above and beyond and if given freedom to find creative ways while maintaining the academic needs, I believe will be successful.

Perhaps it would be more wise to investigate why so many teachers are leaving? To think to get these specialty teachers and spending $ 480 000.- on 6 of them seems steep. We shall see if we even have enough teachers to cover all the schools. Other programs include “inclusivity and equity training for teachers”. The details on this program should be explored and parents informed. It may spark controversy especially in people’e belief system. Funding for JJAB and FSN was included as well which I believe is deserving. 

Why is the pursuit of money more important than our children’s well-being? When has our value system changed to such an extend that we put money before our children’s mental and emotional health?

Isn’t that more important than to pursue then adding additional programs for the extra funding? Why can’t we even cover the basics?

The clear pursuit for the additional funding by adding days to the schedule seems more of a selling out of our children, teachers and well-being for programs which aren’t necessary. Why are we not focusing on educating our children with academics but rather follow political interests? How come that CO is #3 in the nation and we are 50th?
In a town where the highest accumulations of PhD.’s call their home, it seems quite surreal.
Can the teachers teach the academics they are trained to teach? What does the curriculum look like? Do we even know what our children are being taught?  Why is there no program for students with dyslexia instead? Why are so many teachers leaving? Who believes that increasing school time by days is more effective? What is the goal?

What was disturbing also, that there were about 200 parents online and perhaps 50 in the room whom of which the majority preferred the Calendar A. Only a few parents online were able to comment but they did so graciously including others who didn’t get a chance. They brought forth many valuable points to the school board. Many even had suggestions how to solve the added time. Did the school board listen to us? I felt like they didn’t.

The student liaison Willow did a wonderful job speaking out for herself as well as the students bringing forth compelling arguments how a change in schedule will impact her life and the students lives in their summer jobs, activities, family visits, mental and emotional health and motivation.
Another young man, very eloquently, stated his arguments extremely clearly and logically.

Ellen Spector’s statement, that parents are not educated to make such decisions and should not be taken into consideration was quite inconsiderate and lacked humility. Parents paid attention to that and parents online commented on that, rightfully so. Our school board should be a liaison for the students, teachers, parents and community and a bridge between both sides.
We need liaisons who advocate for our students and parents. Mrs. Sonya Wyman was the only one with critical thinking, questioning the need for additional hours since there was no transparency on if and why. 

Mrs. Bernstein attempted to look for answers, yet seemed conflicted. Mrs. Colgan did applaud the hard-working teachers but had very little else to say and the president unfortunately seemed indifferent to the opinion of others. Did the school board really listen to us?

These are OUR kids and we have their best interest at heart. We have to be respectful of everyone’s opinion, but can we do that with the right heart, mind and intention, despite their own preference? 

It would have been helpful to have transparency from what the state expects and how much freedom the individual districts have to implement the changes.
I like to ask for more inquiry on the monies, the conditions of funding and if it’s necessary to increase hours. Perhaps this way the community, parents and students can have a voice and their voices are being heard, regarded and taken into consideration. We all deserve to be heard and participate in the decisions of our children.

Thank you.
H. Wilcox

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