Village Academy receives $150K
federal grant to prepare for opening
—ROSANNE EAKIN, BOARD MEMBER, VILLAGE ACADEMY
The population of Placitas has grown, now nearing six thousand residents.
As families move into the area, they are also seeking educational
options for their children. With the opening this year of Village
Academy Charter School, a tuition-free public school, students ready
for middle school will have one more local option to consider for
In March, Village Academy conducted its preopening enrollment
process for first-year slots in grades six through eight. The open-enrollment
phase provides information that helps staff prepare its annual operating
budget. The governance council will continue to accept enrollment
applications until the first-year maximum enrollment number of fifty-four
students is reached.
Last month, Village Academy governance-council members participated
in a work session with Bernalillo Public Schools board members to
address the charter school's plans and progress to date. Village
Academy representatives were encouraged by the opportunity to discuss
with BPS representatives the challenges of opening a new middle
school in the area. The process was seen as positive, productive,
and an indication of the future.
The relationship of charter schools to districts that authorize
such schools has evolved as a result of recent changes in state
law. However, the need for cooperation and effective working relationships
between districts and charter schools will continue to be vital
to better serve students and families.
The governance council is also pleased to announce Village Academy
will receive a $150,000 federal grant this fiscal year. The grant,
which is made available through the Federal Public Charter School
Program and managed by the New Mexico Public Education Department,
will be used to prepare the charter school and its staff for the
school's opening this fall. Continuing developments in Village Academy's
progress will be posted to its newly revised Web site, www.villageacademyplacitas.com.
Public governance-council meetings are held the second and fourth
Wednesdays of the month at 7:00 p.m. at San Antonio Mission Church
Social Hall. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the
meetings to obtain information and offer suggestions.
To receive information about student participation, the academic
program, and how VACS can address your child's needs, write to Village
Academy Charter School, P.O. Box 1247, Placitas, NM 87043-1247,
or e-mail email@example.com.
BHS student writes successful grant for recycling
—BARBARA VIGIL-LOWDER, SUPERINTENDENT, BERNALILLO
Bernalillo High School recently received $1,200 from Keep New Mexico
Beautiful for two projects to be implemented by Biology-1 students
and the Severe and Profound Special Education Program.
The first grant, for $480, initiated and written by BHS student
Ben Wassarott, will fund the establishment of a recycling program
at Bernalillo High School.
“Ben came to me with the idea of starting a recycling program
and asked for possible sources of money,” said BHS environmental
sciences teacher Jeremy Marley. “I suggested he write a grant
application to Keep New Mexico Beautiful. To my surprise, he had
a complete draft completed the next day. Congratulations are definitely
in order for his achievement!”
Ben, a senior from Placitas, said his goal is to establish a recycling
program that can continue long-term and inspire others in the community
to consider recycling.
Ben cares not only about the earth but about those less fortunate
than he. In his plan for the recycling project, the Biology-1 class
and the Severe and Profound Special Education Program will be working
together. “The [recycling] program provides these students
with real-world experience in planning and accomplishing an objective,”
Ben has applied for a scholarship at UNM, where he hopes to study
architecture and planning. He is particularly interested in a course
called Watershed Management, which will help integrate his environmental
interests and architectural endeavors.
The second KNMB grant, for $720, will be used to further develop
an organic agricultural research plot and establish a composting
program, to be implemented by students in the Biology-1 classes
and the Severe and Profound Special Education program.
The students will plant corn, chili, and native herbs this spring
as part of a long-term project that will complement classroom instruction
in ecology, plant science, genetic engineering, agricultural studies,
and native-plant studies.
He said that the program complements what the Native American
students already know from their traditional planting practices.
“It is important to these students because it connects to
their culture,” Marley commented. “Native Americans
farmed in these sustainable ways for hundreds of years before pesticides
Classes offered for grandparents raising grandchildren
—DEBBIE TRUJILLO, OUTCOMES, INC.
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support groups and a grandparenting
refresher class, Refreshing and Updating Your Parenting Skills,
will begin April 1. Groups are ongoing through May 2.
The support groups and the refresher class offer grandparents
help in many areas: legal questions, financial concerns, respite
care, relationship problems, parenting, and emotional support. Participants
discover that they are not alone; they find comfort, encouragement,
and friendship; and they learn about resources in the community.
No registration is required for the support groups; grandparents
can simply show up. Free child care is offered, but grandparents
must call 243-2551 at least forty-eight hours in advance to reserve
a spot. Grandparents who are interested in the refresher class must
register by calling 243-2551. The support groups are free; however,
there is a small fee for the refresher class.
Saturday classes are on April 1, 15, and 29 from 10:00 to 11:30
a.m. at the Community of Joy Lutheran Church, 841 Saratoga Drive
NE, in Rio Rancho.
For further information and other class dates, you may call Sheila
Genoni, Debbie Trujillo, or Cindy Anderson, at 243-2551.