The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Bernalillo Mid-School has a new look.

Renovation and construction at Bernalillo Mid-School

Bernalillo Middle School principal Alan Tapia, his staff, students, and parents are excited with the new learning environment at their school site. Mr. Tapia states that Bernalillo Middle School will be a “state-of-the-art” school once Phase III is competed, in August 2003. The Bernalillo Middle School has an enrollment of six-hundred-and-thirty-five students and sixty staff members. The school was in dire need of renovation and new construction in order to fulfill the educational needs of their students. The budget for Phase I was $2.5 million.

The Bernalillo Public Schools divided the renovation and construction project into three phases. Phase I was completed in September 2001. This phase included the renovation of the sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms, shop space, family and consumer science classroom, and a new cafeteria.

Phase II included a renovation of the science department, art studio, special education classrooms, computer labs, auditorium, nurse’s office and examination area, administrative and support staff office areas, and gym locker rooms. The students occupied Phase II areas in August 2002. The budget for this phase was $3.3 million.

Phase III is new construction that includes a multipurpose room, eight new classrooms, extensive site work for utilities, drainage, and landscaping. Bids were accepted and the approval to proceed with this final phase was approved by the BPS Board of Education at its October meeting. Phase II is valued at $2.9 million. The new construction is expected to have an interior completion date of July 2, 2003. the completion of site work is August 2003.

The Phase III contractor is T.A.Cole and the architect firm is Gregory T. Hicks and Associates. The cost of the final phase is $2.9 million, with $1.3 million funded by Public School Capital Outlay.

The total cost of all three phases for renovation and new construction is approximately $9 million. Phases I and II were funded by bond money and PSCO awards.

Capital Outlay money is awarded to New Mexico School Districts throughout the state. The award process involves a lengthy application process and an evaluation by the PSCO staff. The Capital Outlay funds are specific to construction projects in the district and may not be used for any other expenses in the district.


Music increases children’s brainpower, provides fun

Mother and daughter experiment with rythmMother and daughter experiment with rhythm.

Alex squeals with delight as his mother lifts him into the air while singing “Bounce Along.” Thirteen-month-old Bronwyn enthusiastically and accurately taps her rhythm sticks to the beat of “The Muffin Man.” And Hannah, at eighteen months, dances joyfully as Julie Christine and a group of eight toddlers and their parents and grandparents sing a rousing chorus of “Hey, Lolly!” These children are participating in Munchkin Music, an age-appropriate music program taught by Julie Christine, early-childhood-music educator, piano teacher, and community service choir director.

The classes are designed to give parents a chance to play musically with their children while the children sing, move to music, play simple rhythm instruments, enjoy listening games, and even create their own music. What’s more, research indicates that early childhood music maps new neural pathways, which means that these happy children are actually increasing their brainpower while they sing and play.

Mother and daughter experiment with rythmParent’s help toddlers dance to music.

As the class progresses, the children—with the help of the adults—echo rhythm and tonal patterns, dance with scarves, and match animal sounds with farm animals. Christine reassures the parents that their active participation—not any particular talent as singers—is what facilitates the learning process.

Christine, a piano teacher for more than thirty years, started Munchkin Music when her grandson turned two (about five years ago). He was overwhelmed by the adult-sized classrooms and large number of students in a local program, so Christine decided to offer classes in a family-style environment. She trained with Dr. Lorna Heyge of the Musikgarten program. Christine says,” I chose Musikgarten because it combines the best of the tried and true with exciting innovations. And I incorporate activities that reflect the lifestyles and cultures of my students, such as songs in Spanish, songs that are signed, holiday songs, and Jewish folk songs.”

“All children have an inborn ability to dance and sing. Because toddlers communicate most effectively with body language, children revel in the movement activities. This program is designed to develop the child’s singing voice concurrently with the spoken voice,” says Christine. “All aspects of learning are enhanced when music is a key element in a holistic approach. Music and movement can develop balance, control and coordination; help children explore abstract concepts on an experiential level of understanding for deep learning; develop self-awareness; emphasize give-and-take social interaction through play and dance; express activities and feelings of everyday life in mime and drama; and raise the level of consciousness of movement and how parts of the body feel while in action. These classes will even help the children learn how to pick up their toys!” she said.

The class closes with a good-bye sung to each child, many of whom run to give Christine a big hug. “The complete educator learns to follow the children. I allow myself the time and freedom to be receptive to them and to allow their love of life to renew my spirit and energize my teaching,” she said.

Registration is now open for Placitas classes. (Classes are also offered in two locations in Albuquerque: near Candelaria and Tramway, and on Osuna one-half mile west of I-25.) Family Music for Babies is for infants, Family Music for Toddlers is for children from twelve to thirty-five months, Cycle of Seasons is for three- and four-year-olds, and Music Makers is for children from four to six years. Classes last thirty-five to fifty-five minutes (depending on the age level of the children) and are held weekly. The cost ranges from $8 to $9 weekly plus an annual registration fee. You may reach Julie Christine at 410-9981 for more information.


Jemez Pueblo Career Center opening

The grand opening of the Pueblo of Jemez Career Center will be held on December 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Jemez Pueblo Civic Center Complex. Come and meet all the service providers. There will be food, Indian dancers, and door prizes.

The center serves Jemez Pueblo and the Jemez Valley communities and is the first One Stop Career Center on Native American land in Sandoval County. Also, it is the first time that partners under the Workforce Investment Act are joining with a rural Native American community in bringing services to a single location at the same time every month.

The One Stop Career Center will provide residents with local access—instead of traveling forty to sixty miles—to all services available through the Workforce Investment Act partners. Some of the services available are job seeker assistance, veterans services, child-care provider information, financial assistance, job training, career counseling, career assessments, career planning, applications for medicaid, and youth and job training programs.

The participating partners are Jemez Pueblo Employment Services, Jemez Pueblo Higher Education, Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico, New Mexico Department of Labor, New Mexico Human Services Division, Department of Children Youth and Families, New Mexico Job Corps, Youth Opportunity Services, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.




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