The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Bernalillo Middle School Tennis team
Photo by Bernie Linnarz

Bernalillo Public Schools has fixed up the old tennis courts behind Bernalillo Middle School. The newly formed girls tennis team, coached by Jim Viera and pictured above, has started to win some matches.

Food program brings exotic fruits, healthy snacks to BMS

Bernalillo Middle School students will soon be able to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables during their break time. The school was selected by the state Public Education Department along with twenty-four other New Mexico schools to participate in the federally funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

“We are excited about the program,” said Debbie Trujillo, BPS food service coordinator. “We will be able to offer a variety of fruit and vegetables, including exotic fruit that these students may otherwise never have the opportunity to taste.”

Trujillo said the district is currently implementing a wellness program that the fruit-and-vegetable program will complement. “Adriana's Nutrition Expedition” is the name of one of the instructional programs being implemented. The program includes information and games that integrate fun with learning about healthy food choices.

“We are grateful for this funding and the opportunity to offer our students nutritional snack choices,” said Superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder. “Good nutrition plays a crucial role in academic performance”

Trujillo's successful application obtained $44,173 for the program, beginning in April 2006 and ending June 2007. Only schools in New Mexico, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Connecticut, and Ohio are eligible for the program and all schools must be participants in the National School Lunch Program.

“Our goal is to teach the students to make healthy food choices and create habits that will follow them into adulthood,” Trujillo said. “As the program expands, we are going to continue to apply for the funds and get as many district schools as possible into the program.”

Beginning on Monday, April 24, fresh fruits and vegetables will be distributed to students during the 2:00 p.m. passing period.

BPS presents its first annual district art show in May

“Celebrating the Arts!,” the first annual BPS district-wide art show, will showcase outstanding artwork by Bernalillo Public Schools students in grades kindergarten through twelve. The grand opening, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 5, at the Bernalillo High School Career Academy will be open to the public.

“We have tremendously talented art teachers and students at schools throughout the district,” said Superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder. “This art show gives the district a chance to showcase its outstanding art program and gives the teachers and students the opportunity to shine.”

The artwork displayed will be selected by art teachers at each school with a goal of presenting a comprehensive representation of student work and projects done throughout the school year.

“In an age of art-education cutbacks, BPS stands at the forefront in its support of the fine and performing arts in kindergarten through twelfth grade,” said Sharon Fox, BPS director of secondary education. “The art teachers at BPS are recognized professional artists with notable accomplishments.”

“The art instructors are knowledgeable in technique as well as the art history of the various New Mexico cultures,” said Anna Torres, BPS director of elementary education. “Our district is fortunate to have such highly qualified and dedicated staff working with our students.”

Refreshments will be provided on opening night. The artwork will be on display for public viewing on Saturday, May 6, from noon to 4:00 p.m., but no refreshments will be served. The artwork will continue on display May 8 through 12 and May 15 for viewing by BPS school groups.

BPS Students Win Business Awards

Four BPS students received top awards for their outstanding business presentations at the Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference held in Albuquerque, March 13-15. These students are now qualified to enter the national-level business skills competition to be held in Orlando, Florida, May 10-14.

The four qualifying students are Persingula Tafoya, who received the second place award in the “Graphic Design Promotion” category; and, Jason Castillo, George Garcia, and Jack Sheehan, who received the second place award in the “Presentation Management Team” category.

“The conference was the culmination of a school year's worth of business workforce education and training,” said chapter advisor, Laura Zamora, who teaches Graphic Arts. “I was proud that every student we took to the conference finaled in the various competitions. I have seen a lot of maturity this year.”

Other BPS students who were finalist at the business skill competitions and received a medal were Barbara Goodacre and Jericka Lambert for “Graphic Design Promotion”, and Joseph Threadgill for “Extemporaneous Speech”.

Summer reading fun for children at the Placitas Library

Calling all kids! The Placitas Library will be having a weekly story time along with a related hands-on project this summer. One of the sessions planned is a Placitas Petroglyph Field Trip for both parents and children. The story-time program will take place on Thursday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30, beginning June 8 and running through August 10. The programs will be geared for children from three to eight years old, but all children are welcome. It is not necessary to register beforehand. Join us as we share the magical world of books!

The Placitas Library will also be sponsoring a Reading Challenge Program. Children of all ages who register for the program will be reading books (or have books read to them, in the case of younger children) that will count towards the library goal. We will be marking our progress throughout the summer and celebrate all our reading with a party at summer’s end.

egistration will be at the library’s Birthday Bash, on Saturday, June 3. Children may also register any day after that during library hours. Upon registration, participants will receive a packet with a bookmark, reading log, book lists, and more. Small prizes and certificates will be passed out at the end of summer to all. We are hoping to have lots of young readers to help us reach our goal.

Village Academy continues enrollment for fall term

Village Academy Charter School, a new tuition-free public middle school, is conducting two additional enrollment and lottery-selection periods for interested student applicants and their families. Applications are being accepted for remaining first-year slots offered in grades six, seven and eight. These will be the second and third enrollment periods since the enrollment process began in March.

The current lottery, which started April 18, will end May 6. To be eligible for consideration, student applications must be submitted to the VACS Governance Council or postmarked by 5:00 p.m. on May 6. Applications received will be entered into the May 10 lottery for possible selection. Another enrollment period will be conducted May 8 to June 10, with the lottery held on June 14 if slots are still available.

The governance council will continue to accept enrollment applications until the first-year maximum enrollment of fifty-four students is reached. Due to the limited availability of first-year slots, families interested in the charter school are strongly encouraged to submit their child's enrollment application as early as possible.

Plans for the charter school's permanent site at Highway 165, near I-25, are moving forward; however, formal discussions regarding zoning and site planning must be completed this summer before actual construction can commence. This will delay opening of the new building until after the fall term has already started, according to developer Bailey, Olsen, Reed.

In the interim, the governance council is preparing to open the school at a convenient temporary location, most likely in Bernalillo, that has amenities and services to support student instruction.

Prospective school families may learn more about the Village Academy Charter School's program and obtain an application by visiting or e-mailing Continuing developments about Village Academy's progress will be posted to the website.

Public governance-council meetings are held the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the community center at San Antonio Mission Church. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the charter school's public meetings to obtain information and offer suggestions or write to Village Academy Charter School, P. O. Box 1247, Placitas, NM 87043-1247.

Pueblo governors express support of BPS in meeting with administrators

The drumming and the singing of the invocation by Native American students K-12 opened the annual gathering of Bernalillo Public Schools administrators and the governors of pueblos in the district.

The BPS superintendent and administrators meet with the governors annually to update the pueblos on the education of their children and to orient the new governors. In attendance this year were school-board members Ray Trujillo, Jack Torres, and Lorenzo Tafoya.

As principals presented their schools’ focus areas, successes, and intervention activities, interaction between the governors and the school district began. With a focus on cultural diversity, Algodones Elementary School described the newly established Keres Language Program for San Felipe Pueblo students.

“The students are taking a great interest in learning their native tongue,” said Judy Casaus, Algodones principal. “I am receiving reports from the parents that the students are even correcting the parents on their word pronunciations.”

BPS also assists the Cochiti and Santa Ana tribes with staff and programs to revitalize their language and hopes to begin a program at the high school level soon.

“The world is changing and unless we allow our native tongues to be taught at the schools to our children, we are going to lose our native language,” said Lorenzo Tafoya, a school-board member from Santo Domingo.

Bryan Garcia, co-principal at Santo Domingo School, highlighted a nationally recognized after-school program. Garcia said the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory recognized the 21st Century Kewa After-School Program, which serves grades kindergarten through eight, as a national model. The program provides children with academic tutoring and a choice of several enrichment programs, ranging from pottery and jewelry making to robotics and computers.

Santo Domingo School also is succeeding academically. Sammy Garcia, lieutenant governor of Santo Domingo Pueblo, held up an award received by the school, saying, “I was so proud when, at the state legislature, our school was presented with a School on the Rise award by Governor Bill Richardson.”



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