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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

SCHOOLBAG

Placitas Flea Market

Linda Hughes—Flea Market organizer and coordinator for Art In The Schools— and Thomas Hogan—proprietor of “Old New Mexico Bird House Company"—stand afront his birdhouses during October’s Placitas Flea Market. The event has now closed for the season.

Placitas Flea Market: a success story for Placitas Elementary School

—LINDA HUGHES, COORDINATOR, ART IN THE SCHOOL

In the spring of 2001, a conversation between Sona Dawkins and Orville McCallister resulted in a gift—the gift of knowledge. The Art in the School program at Placitas Elementary desperately needed funding, and Orville and Judy McCallister had a Flea Market and $600 they were willing to pass on to the school in benefit of art education.

Six years later, the Flea Market has become a significant fundraiser for Placitas Elementary. Proceeds from the vendors that set up on the “Merc” field are used toward purchasing art supplies, teaching materials, and funding educational field trips for the school’s Art in the School program.

Art in the School, Inc., a nationally-recognized nonprofit art education organization, prepares parent volunteers to deliver a comprehensive visual arts curriculum to align with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Standards and Benchmarks in Visual Arts and provides substantial enrichment in language arts, social studies, math, and science.

Volunteers are given a broad foundation of knowledge in the topic area through lectures by art historians, art educators, and artists. Presenters then introduce the lesson at the children’s level by using slides for discussion and hands-on art activities. Art in the School’s unique approach addresses the whole child by supporting multiple learning styles. The lessons foster cultural understanding through the study of multicultural arts and peoples. A comment by a fourth grader sums it all up: “When I look at art, I get ideas.”

The program this year is “Art Tells the Story” and includes lessons in Paleolithic Cave Painting, Sculpture: Greek Gods and Heroes, Japanese Printmaking: Hokusai’s “Great Wave,” and Impressionism: Claude Monet.

From the parents, students, and staff at Placitas Elementary, we thank the McCallisters and the Merc for their ongoing support of our program. To the sellers and buyers at this year’s Flea Market—we dedicate our artwork to you.

The Flea Market Season will reopen in May 2008.

This season’s Flea Market raised $1,390 for Art In The School.

Library hosts book sale

—ANNE FROST, CO-DIRECTOR, PLACITAS COMMUNITY LIBRARY

t is the time of year for gratitude, and this year the Placitas Community Library has much and many for which to be thankful. This community is so generous with its book and video donations that the library can’t possibly keep them all (and please don’t stop giving—we love to get new goodies for our shelves), so we are having our semi-annual book sale on November 17 and 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. While you are out cruising around the Placitas Fine Arts and Crafts Holiday Sale, please stop by the library—you might find the perfect gift for someone, even yourself!

The library received a huge gift of several hundred brand new children’s non-fiction titles through contacts of our great new ‘Outreach’ board member, Wendy Aman. Come check out this new collection. Many thanks, Wendy, and welcome aboard!

Wendy will be heading our new Homebound Program. Upon request, the library will come to your home once a month bringing books, audios, or videos you request or those in areas of interest to you for you to check out. Anyone restricted in their ability to travel to the library, whether temporarily or permanently, is welcome to call us at 867-3355 to set up a visit with Wendy.

We have also recently been gifted with spectacular scrapbooks of the library’s first three years. The multi-talented Judy Gajkowski and a scrapbooking friend have put the photos and articles of our early building remodel and events into three beautiful books. Paging through them is an excellent way to get acquainted with the library or to see how far we have come and the wonderful things this community has accomplished and enjoyed together. Ask at the circulation desk to see them.

While I’m thanking people, I’d like to mention another of our fabulous volunteers. Norma Ruptier has been helping out since early on, and is currently training coordinator and organizer of our book group. Her quiet, consistent ways and organizational skills make these projects seem effortless. The library is deeply grateful for her time and energy.

Did you know the library has its own book group? It meets on the first Monday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the library, though in November the meeting will be on November 12. This month’s book is the Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. Everyone is invited to stop in and join the group for a week or long term—you don’t even need to have read the book. December’s title is Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko.

Many thanks go to Peggy McCormick and Wildlife New Mexico for the terrific program on wild birds in October. Everyone learned a lot and had a delightful time as well.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 1 at 10:00 a.m.—Preschool story time

November 12 at 4:00 p.m.—Book group discusses Omnivore’s Dilemma

November 13 at 3:00 p.m.—Bilingual story time for ages two through ten

LIBRARY HOURS:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Library will close at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21 and will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Albuquerque Academy Class of 2008 has record number of National Merit semifinalists

—MARLENE SIGEL, ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY

Thirty-three Albuquerque Academy seniors have been named National Merit semifinalists, qualifying them to compete for $34 million worth of Merit Scholarship awards next spring. More than 1.4 million juniors in nearly twenty-one thousand high schools entered the 2008 National Merit Program by taking the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The nationwide pool of sixteen thousand semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. With this record-setting result, the Academy is among the top five independent schools in the nation for number of semifinalists this year.

The semifinalists are: Emily Adkins, Boris Atanassov, David Baack, Seth Becker, Elizabeth Bergman, Isabelle Bounkeua, Kyle Cooper, Rilke Crane, Raul Diaz-Wahl, Richard Held, Rachel Kolb, Miela Kolomaznik, Kate Liebmann, Daniel Lyle, Ben Magnus, Colin Martz, Timothy McKee, Elizabeth Miller, Ariana Moseley, Emil Mottola, Ashwath Rajan, Evan Ranken, Nikhila Reddy, Benjamin Rogers, Ishtar Schneider, Punit Shah, Nathaniel Shoemaker-Trejo, Wesley Smalls, Connor Stern, Kira Thomas, Madeleine Watson, Travis Willett-Gies, and Helen Wu.

In addition to the thirty-three semifinalists, the Academy Class of 2008 also had an additional fifteen commended students, including: Molly Biggs, Benjamin Burnett, Caitlin Cole, Evan Garrett, Miles Gray, Lauren Harding, Stephanie Lashway, David Liou, Brandon Oselio, Vlado Ovtcharov, Kyle Paoletta, Margaret Root, Lindsey Shroff, Caitlin Williamson, and Taylor Wilson.

Commenting on the stellar performance by the Class of 2008, Head of School Andrew Watson said, “What is wonderful about these students is that they bring the same spirit and excellence to all of their endeavors at the Academy, leading and excelling in athletic, artistic, forensic, publication, and service endeavors. We are very fortunate to have them in our school.”

SIPI and Bernalillo Public Schools form partnership on Innovative Engineering Career Pathways Program

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) will partner with Bernalillo Public Schools (BPS) to implement an Engineering Pathways program as part of BPS’s Career Pathways initiative. The SIPI/BPS collaboration will also provide articulated, dual, and concurrent student enrollment for college credit and promote the advancement of BPS students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers.

The program provides students with the opportunity to enter a Technology and Engineering pathway. These pathways are a sequence of courses that will prepare BHS students for college studies in the electronic, mechanical, and civil engineering areas for careers in micro-technology, nanotechnology, engineering design, architectural engineering, electronics, and many other fields.

Dr. Nader Vadiee, SIPI Engineering Programs Coordinator, said, “The robotics element of the program will focus heavily on performing remote science operations, akin to the Mars Exploration Rovers, and provide an interesting and technically-rich IT environment for students to learn. Students will get hands-on experience in operating robots from remote locations to emphasize the importance of computers for computation and control, as well as communication networks to transmit and receive information. Additionally, students will work directly with robots to program and configure them with various science and technology payloads.”

Dr. Vadiee and Kirby Gchachu, SIPI CCTI Program Coordinator, along with BPS Technology Director Tricia Steiner, Van Hoose and Gurule, were instrumental in developing the BHS/SIPI Engineering Pathways agreement. Steiner was responsible for initiating the BPS robotics program in 2005 at the middle school level. The successful program soon expanded to the high school, and Steiner now has plans to extend it to the elementary level.

The robotics program is further strengthened by a team of mentors from SIPI and UNM. SIPI IC-MARS laboratory interns and UNM senior and graduate engineering students come to the high school to prepare students for statewide RoboRave competitions. SIPI will host the event in December 2007.

BPS began its technology program in 2003 with the state’s first Micro Technology Academy made possible through an NSF grant in partnership with Central New Mexico College, the University of New Mexico, and Sandia National Laboratories. In addition, Bernalillo Public Schools is home of the Intel Computer Clubhouse. The clubhouse provides students with state-of-the-art equipment and a fun atmosphere where community experts and parent volunteers are invited to coach students in computer technologies. Plans are being made to make the Intel Computer Clubhouse more accessible to middle and elementary school students through an after-school program.

According to Dr. Vadiee, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is developing a robotics-centered Information Technology (IT) immersion program designed to promote the advancement of Native American and Hispanic students in IT and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. The program will provide students with a stimulating, challenging and creative learning environment to explore STEM fields.

Bill would make college more affordable

Last month, a large majority in the House voted for the final passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which makes the single largest investment in college financial aid since the 1944 G.I. Bill. The act helps millions of students and families pay for college—and does so at no new cost to U.S. taxpayers. The bill now goes to the President’s desk for his signature.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act combines key elements from House and Senate bills that were passed in July. The legislation, which the House passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 292-97, would boost college financial aid by more than $20 billion over the next five years. The bill pays for itself by reducing excessive federal subsidies paid to lenders in the college loan industry by $20.9 billion. It also includes $750 million in federal budget deficit reduction.

“This bill does for the current generation of students what the G.I. Bill did for the World War II generation,” said New Mexico Representative Tom Udall. “It puts college within reach for hard-working students who thought they couldn’t afford it, and ensures they won’t be buried under a pile of debt.”

Under the legislation, the maximum value of the Pell Grant scholarship would increase by $1,090 over the next five years, reaching $5,400 by 2012. This change could bring more than $201 million to more than forty-two-thousand New Mexico students, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The legislation fully restores the purchasing power of the scholarship, which in recent years had been frozen at $4,050 until Congress boosted its value to $4,310 earlier this year. Close to six million low- and moderate-income students nationwide would benefit from this increase.

In addition, the legislation would prevent student borrowers from facing unmanageable levels of federal student debt by guaranteeing that borrowers will never have to spend more than fifteen percent of their yearly discretionary income on loan repayments, and by allowing borrowers in economic hardship to have their loans forgiven after twenty-five years.

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