The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

SCHOOLBAG

Take the stress out of grandparenting

Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are a growing phenomenon across the nation and here in New Mexico. However, grandparents can incur incredible stress, as they deal with a delayed retirement, financial issues, grandchildren's behavioral issues, and health problems.

Outcomes, Inc. with the generous support of Albuquerque Community Foundation, will be expanding their services to these deserving families. A $16,500 grant in July from the Wilhelmina Neat Coe Foundation, with ACF, will provide therapeutic groups for grandchildren, counseling sessions for approximately ten families, and parenting-education groups with emphasis on anger and stress management.

Grandchildren face loss and abandonment issues, and some acquire behavioral difficulties as a result. Therapeutic groups will focus on appropriate emotional expression and improving social skills. A minimal fee will be charged.

Counseling sessions can be designated for the grandchild, grandparent, grandparent couple, or family unit. Bilingual therapists are also available. Grandparents will be asked to contribute $5 per session.

Finally, grandparents will be able to attend sessions on stress or anger management. Child care will be provided during these sessions and a minimal fee will be charged for group attendance and childcare.

Counseling sessions will be available beginning in July, and the groups for grandparents and grandchildren will begin in the early fall. Call Debbie Trujillo or Sheila Genoni, at 243-2551, for more information or to register for the groups, as attendance is limited. Fees may be decreased if warranted by a grandparent's situation.


End of Summer Fun Day for three- to five-year-olds

All parents and grandparents with children ages three to five are invited to bring their children to the Bernalillo Head Start's End of Summer Fun Day on Tuesday, August 8, from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Bernalillo Head Start, at 100 Ricardo Lane, across from the Country Store, is administered by Presbyterian Medical Services.
The Fun Day will have information and applications for Head Start, Early Head Start, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and early-intervention services. Staff will be on site to sign children up for Medicaid. Children will receive free books from Read West and can go fishing in the fish tank for prizes. Tours of the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade's new red engine and ambulance will be provided. Dr. Charles Haines, from the PMS Rio Rancho Family Health Center, will be checking blood pressure and reviewing children's immunization records. Peanut Butter & Jelly staff will have games and information on their parent-skills program. There will be free smoothies for the children while we sign them up for Head Start.

Head Start's fall session begins August 21 for children ages three to five who are from low-income families. They have bilingual teachers who help the Spanish-speaking children and their parents feel welcome in the classes.

Head Start is an early-education program that helps children build their skills through play and social interaction. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities indoors and outdoors in a safe setting that helps them grow socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. They receive a free nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack every day.

Head Start also provides health screenings for all Head Start children and assists the parents in finding medical and dental services. They also work with the children's parents to build their social skills, advance their education, and provide referrals to help them succeed in life.

For more information, please call 896-1885, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also pick up a Head Start application for your child from the Bernalillo Head Start site, 100 Ricardo Lane.


BPS schools to offer free meals to all students

All students in Algodones Elementary, Bernalillo High/Middle School, Carroll Elementary, Cochiti Elementary/Middle School, Roosevelt Elementary, and Santo Domingo Elementary/Middle Schools will be offered free meals regardless of income through the 2006-2007 school year unless otherwise notified.

All meals served must meet regulations established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If a child is determined by a doctor to be disabled and unable to eat the regular school meal, the school will make any substitutions prescribed by the doctor at no extra charge. If you believe your child is in need of substitutions because of a disability, please call the school for further information.

All schools and the office of the superintendent or administrator have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.


Village Academy interim campus prepares for students, hires principal

—ROSANNE EAKIN, BOARD MEMBER, VACS
Village Academy Charter School, officially opening this month, has a new site-based governance council. Members of the 2007 VACS Governance Council are Reggie Nepomuceno (chairman), Rosanne Eakin, Erica Hightower, Rich Rudd, and Teresa Sheehan. The governance council has been working diligently to get the school facility ready for the fall term, and to hire staff, including the new principal, Robin Troup.

Troup is well suited to the task of bringing a new charter school online. A former Peace Corps volunteer, she worked in Honduras and is fluent in Spanish. She understands the importance of effective community schools to help communities improve the quality of life for families.

Says Troup, “I am very excited to be part of a new educational option for Sandoval County. Our charter school will be a real community school, serving a diverse student body. I think that the middle-school years are pivotal for a lot of students who may be overexposed, in many respects, to pop culture. Our aim is to create a small family-oriented school that uses Core Knowledge to expose students to a world-class curriculum and rich resources. We want to help develop confident, successful students with the skills and understanding to move on to the next phase of their academic and life experience.”

In addition to her extensive background in special education and community charter-school development in New Mexico, Troup serves as an examiner for Quality New Mexico, an organization that supports the use of data-driven decision-making to improve organizational effectiveness based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria of Performance Excellence.

Troup notes that opening a new charter school is a tremendous challenge, but also rewarding. “[It] takes strong support from the community and the involvement of families and students to open a charter school. We need to encourage parents and volunteers to work with our governance council and our committees. They can take ownership of this school and create an environment that is truly responsive to their needs and their children.”

Applications are still being accepted for remaining first-year student slots in grades six and seven. Prospective student applications can be submitted to the VACS Governance Council, or mailed during the enrollment period, which remains open. For information about the application process, please see the VACS Web site (www.villageacademyplacitas.com).

Please note: Public governance-council meetings are now held the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the interim campus, 274 Don Tomas in Bernalillo. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the charter school's public meetings to obtain information and offer suggestions. For further information regarding student enrollment, parent or volunteer participation, employment, and the Core Knowledge Curriculum, visit www.villageacademyplacitas.com or e-mail vacsplacitas@cs.com. Continuing developments in Village Academy's progress will be posted to the Web site.


Placitas Library party to celebrate children’s summer reading

—NANCY GUIST, CHILDREN'S SUMMER PROGRAM COORDINATOR, PLACITAS COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Come to the Placitas Community Library on Thursday, August 10, at 10:00 am. and join in celebrating the summer reading our community's children have done, far surpassing the Summer Reading Challenge library goal of three hundred books. As of this writing, 465 books have been read by or to the children who registered for the program. Truly a cause for celebration!

All children are invited to attend the party, regardless of whether they participated in the Summer Reading Challenge Program. We will have two special guests. Larry O'Hanlon, a Placitas resident who is currently a science journalist and who previously worked for the Explora Science Center and Children's Museum, will be representing the Rio Grande Astronomical Society and has planned some solar demonstrations. He will use a solar cooker to make grilled cheese sandwiches for the children and will also set up a telescope with a solar filter for looking at the sun. Our second guest will be Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, an Albuquerque author who has written several picture books for children, including I Have a Sister—My Sister is Deaf (a Reading Rainbow book), My Mama Sings, and Sometimes I Dream Horses. She will read to the children.

The celebration will also include refreshments for all and certificates and bags of prizes for the children who participated in the Summer Reading Challenge. Mark the morning of August 10 on your calendar. This will be the last event of our summer program.


Complete guide for grant writers available at Placitas Library this month

—ANNE GREY FROST, BOARD MEMBER, PLACITAS COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Have you ever wondered about applying for a grant but didn't know where to start? Well, for the next six weeks all the information you need will be available at the Placitas Community Library. The library is hosting the state library’s Traveling Foundation Center Collection, thirty-four-volumes on how to write successful grants and where to send them to have the best chance of success for your particular organization. The books cover current information on independent, corporate, and community foundations and have focused information for interest areas such as animal welfare, education, minorities, health, and more. The traveling collection is funded by the New Mexico State Library and is for use in the library only. To start your research, come to the library and ask for the Introduction to Grant Writing.
Our book group will be meeting Monday, August 7, at 4:00 p.m. This month we are reading One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd: A Novel, by Jim Fergus. This is a fascinating story of a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government traveled to the western prairies to intermarry among the Cheyenne. At the September 11 meeting the group will be discussing Tiger in the Grass, by Harriett Doerr. If you are looking for a book group, please join us for these fascinating discussions. This group is always open for drop-ins and new regulars.

The library would like to thank Gary Priester for all his time and TLC as our Webmaster these past three years. He has been most generous in giving us a presence on the Web and crafting and maintaining our site. He is ready to pass this responsibility on to Jodie Streit. Welcome aboard, Jodie!

You can visit our Web site and find out what's happening at the library at www.placitaslibrary.com.

The play-yard landscaping is now complete. We would like to thank Keep New Mexico Beautiful for their generous grant. Since the rains have come, the buffalo grass is greening up and the shrubs look great. Many thanks go to all who have worked to plant and maintain this yard. It should look better and better.

The library needs your help to make our entryway more accessible. We need to build a cement ramp. If you have skills or cement you could contribute, please call us, at 867-3355. We hope to have the ramp completed by the end of August. To those of you who have been inconvenienced by our lack of an appropriate ramp, thank you for your patience and we hope to welcome you to the library very soon.
The community is always welcome at our board meetings, on the second Wednesday of each month, now at PVFB main station.

The library hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; noon to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. We look forward to seeing you!

Crashes involving teen drivers often result in someone else’s death

—BRENDA YAGER, MANAGER OF PUBLIC AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, AAA NEW MEXICO
When teen drivers are involved in a fatal crash, someone else is usually the victim, according to a recent analysis of ten years of crash data by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The new AAA study shows that, nationwide, young novice drivers comprise slightly more than one-third of all the fatalities in crashes in which they are involved. The remaining two-thirds of those killed are other vehicle users and pedestrians.

In New Mexico, according to the AAA Foundation analysis, 339 lives were lost in crashes involving young novice drivers from 1995-2004; this included 102 drivers fifteen to seventeen years old (30.1 percent), 121 passengers (35.7 percent), seventy-five occupants of vehicles operated by drivers at least eighteen years of age (22.1 percent), and thirty-nine non-motorists (11.5 percent).

The AAA Foundation analysis shows that from 1995 through 2004 crashes involving fifteen-to-seventeen-year-old drivers claimed the lives of 30,917 people nationwide, of which only 11,177 (36.2 percent) were the teen drivers themselves. The remaining 19,740 (63.6 percent) included 9,847 passengers of the teen drivers, 7,477 occupants of other vehicles operated by drivers at least eighteen years of age, and 2,323 non-motorists.

New Mexico's graduated driver-license law went into effect in 2000. In stage two, which is the provisional-license period, the teen driver may not operate a motor vehicle between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver at least twenty-one years old. The law also states that no more than one passenger under twenty-one who is not a member of the minor's immediate family may be in the car during the provisional-license period, unless a licensed driver at least twenty-one years old is also in the vehicle. The teen driver must hold the provisional license for at least twelve months and cannot apply for a full unrestricted license if convicted of a traffic violation within the ninety days preceding the application.

AAA graduated driver-license laws now exist in all fifty states. AAA and the AAA Foundation have released updates of two of their popular educational tools for parents, AAA's Teaching Your Teen to Drive DVD and the AAA Foundation's interactive, risk-management DVD, Driver-ZED. For order information about Teaching Your Teen to Drive, call 1-800-327-3444. For information about Driver-ZED, call 800-305-SAFE or visit www.aaafoundation.org.

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