The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Children's flea market planned for Placitas

Spring is around the corner, and the Placitas Flea Market will start off the season May 8 with a children's flea market. Kids, parents, grandparents: clean out those toy boxes, closets, and garages and haul it all down to the Merc for a fun day of selling, swapping, and buying. Participants can bring outgrown clothing, toys, bikes, books, music, games, and handmade crafts. Lemonade stands and bake sales are welcomed.

This is a great opportunity for children to make a little pocket change and clear out unused items. The usual $10 vendor fee will be deferred for the child's table or space.

The flea market will continue through October 14, always on the second Saturday of the month from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you have something to sell, or love browsing and buying, this is the place to be. Everyone is welcome to participate; however, no hot food or sandwiches are permitted.

The fees collected from the Flea Market support the Art in the School Program at Placitas Elementary. AIS is a nationally recognized nonprofit art-education program that provides a comprehensive visual-art curriculum to over twelve thousand elementary children in our area. Parent and community volunteers attend a series of art lectures and studio workshops that prepare them to go into the classroom to teach the art lessons. Placitas Elementary has the good fortune of having eleven volunteer presenters: nine parents and two volunteers recruited from the community. Every classroom has a presenter and every student reaps benefits from this extraordinary program.

This year's theme focuses on architecture, “From Tut to the Extraterrestrial: An Adventure in Architecture!” The children have created Egyptian pyramids and Greek temples and soon will be exploring medieval castles and architecture of the future in the program “Starships, Earthships, and Multi Family Homes.”
For more information on AIS or the Placitas Flea Market, contact Linda, 867-0027.

Golfing program offers life skills to local youth

The First Tee of Central New Mexico is accepting registrations for its 2006 season. The not-for-profit organization based at the Santa Ana Golf Club provides instruction in life skills and golf skills for local youth. Boys and girls from six to eighteen are welcome in the program.

The year 2005 saw 600 percent growth in numbers of participants over 2004 and it is expected that still more youngsters will participate in 2006. To accommodate this growth, The First Tee will offer classes at both Santa Ana and Twin Warriors golf clubs in 2006.

A wide selection of sessions is offered. All students will register for a summer session, the first of which begins May 30. Spring and fall sessions are optional, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis at additional cost. The spring session begins
March 27.

The cost at time of sign-up is $75. Fees for the optional spring and fall sessions are $30 for each additional session. Golf equipment is furnished for participants who do not have their own. In addition to the group instruction, students receive free rounds of golf, additional discounted rounds of golf, and reduced-cost range balls.

For the best choice of sessions, early registration is encouraged. A printable registration form and further information about the program and teaching schedule can be found at The First Tee office, located at Santa Ana Golf Club, is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, 771-1762.

The public is invited to participate by way of tax-deductible donations, sponsorship, and volunteering.

Village Academy Charter School launches open enrollment for 2006

When the Village Academy Charter School's governance council members and volunteers meet this month, there will be plenty of smiles to go around.

To kick off the preopening phase, Village Academy is conducting its first open enrollment period March 6 through 24. Admission is by lottery for one of the charter school's fifty-four first-year slots in grades six through eight. To enroll a student, parents must first submit an application during the open enrollment period (see ad, this Signpost). The governance council is hosting two information sessions for interested families, on March 8 and March 22, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at San Antonio Church.

Although there are details remaining, such as hiring highly qualified instructional staff for the fall 2006 term and purchasing new furnishings, the site-based governance council and volunteers are happy the new charter middle school will open as planned in Placitas.

A major obstacle has been the location of a suitable facility for the charter school's operations. However, last year, Trevor Reed, a local Placitas developer, offered to help out. Plans are now taking shape for a beautiful new building to house the school, with construction to be completed this year. The proposed site is across from La Puerta, on Highway 165, near the recycling center. In February, the Bernalillo Planning and Zoning Commission approved the initial plan.

Fostering community and parent involvement has helped make the charter school a reality. From choice of curriculum (Core Knowledge) to facility and site-based management, hands-on involvement has been essential, according to Egda Del Valle Delaney, a member of the governance council. Delaney's background in community schools and social work has reinforced that perspective.

“How will our school be different? The difference is our philosophy,” says Delaney. “We believe youngsters are the heart of all relationships between the school (teachers and personnel) and the home (parents or guardians). Youngsters are what connect the school to the home, and vice versa. Therefore, it is essential that they are central to all issues pertaining to their own education, in partnership with their families and school personnel.”

Village Academy will be guided by that partnership philosophy. The approach is a proven one that has been used in other parts of the country—successfully, notes Delaney. “Those partnerships help prevent the problems that often surface and get in the way of youngsters learning and of teachers teaching. Besides VACS being a learning institution, we are seeking to create a school climate where both learning and collaboration are at the forefront, where teachers and families are seen working together towards the same goal: developing a well-educated, well-rounded individual.”

Public governance-council meetings are held the second Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at San Antonio Church. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the public 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, visit, or e-mail

Ken Noel

Ken Noel, Bernalillo Public School district’s new football coach

New BPS football coach has great goals for district

Bernalillo Public Schools superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder has hired Ken Noel as the district’s new football coach. Noel, who began his duties in February, has served the district as a science teacher at Bernalillo Middle School for almost three years.

Noel replaces Matt Fortune, who coached one season at Bernalillo and was 0-9. Noel is a former assistant football coach in Bernalillo, under head coach Stan Garcia in 2003.

Noel was an assistant coach at Belen High from 1994 to 1997 and an assistant coach at Los Lunas High from 1998-2002. He started his coaching career at Idaho Falls High, where he was employed from 1983 to 1986; then he was an offensive coach at Western New Mexico until 1990. He was an assistant at Cobre for a year, then the head coach at Reserve in 1992 and 1993. Subsequently Noel joined Avilio Chavez's staff at Belen, working under Chavez for nine years, first at Belen and then at Los Lunas.

“I am really excited that I was hired,” Noel said. “I am committed to the students and the programs and I believe that this will make all the difference toward a successful program.”
Noel is planning the spring program and soon will begin recruiting students, holding parent meetings, and gearing up for spring training.

“I have high hopes for our new football coach,” said Vigil-Lowder. “I believe he has great goals for our district and I look forward to seeing our students benefit under his leadership.”

Udall’s D.C. office seeks summer interns

U.S. Representative Tom Udall, D-NM, announced that his office is seeking interested college students to apply for its summer internship program.

Every year, students are selected to gain a special perspective of the U.S. House of Representatives by working in Udall's Capitol Hill office.

"Participating in my internship program provides valuable insight into the legislative branch of government," Udall said.

To apply for an internship, candidates must send a cover letter and résumé to or fax the materials to 202-226-1331 by March 15. Interviews and selection will take place during the second half of March and notifications made by April 1. For more information, please visit

Bernalillo Public Schools to hold meeting for homeschool families

Bernalillo Public Schools has scheduled a meeting open to homeschool parents to discuss how BPS might support the area’s homeschool families. Aware of the number of homeschool families residing within its boundaries, BPS is interested in discussing with homeschooling parents methods of support that could be provided to them.

One method of support is through family schools. Family schools have been created throughout New Mexico to support the education of homeschooled children. According to the New Mexico Public Education Department,

A family school provides a unique educational approach for school districts that provides more than half-time instruction in the public schools with the remaining time in home-based parental instruction. The school site program is usually multi-grade with a focus on the core content areas. The family school must receive approval to operate as a family school by the local School Board and the State Board of Education. Students in a family school are considered public school students and can graduate with the school.”

Family schools have been established in Albuquerque, Belen, Bloomfield, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Silver Consolidated Schools, and Las Vegas.

A meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, at the BPS central office board room to discuss with the community ways that BPS might support homeschooling efforts. The meeting is open to all homeschooling parents who are interested in the possibilities of a BPS family-school program.

The Bernalillo Public Schools office is at 224 North Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo. For more information, you may contact Anna Torres, at 867-2317.

Volunteer tutors needed

ReadWest, the adult and family literacy provider in Rio Rancho, is looking for volunteers to present parenting programs to parents in Rio Rancho elementary schools and preschools. Volunteers commit to presenting programs once or twice a month throughout the year. Free, quality training is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

ReadWest is also looking for volunteers to provide English as a Second Language tutoring to waiting adult students. Volunteers commit to two hours per week tutoring students in a one-to-one or small group environment in a public place. Certified tutor training is scheduled for two Saturdays: March 18 and March 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Training is provided by the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy and ReadWest and is held at the ReadWest office, 2009 Grande Boulevard, in Rio Rancho. Orientation and preregistration will be held on Wednesday, March 15, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. For more information, call Susan Ryerson, at 892-1131.



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