Dean Alexander and “Kasey”
Kasey Says program wins $48,000 grant
The Sandoval County Sheriff's Department has received a $48,000 grant from the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families to expand its Kasey Says program.
Lt. Dean Alexander initiated the program in the Bernalillo school district when he started bringing his golden retriever, Kasey, to elementary classrooms to reward children for good reading and good behavior. Alexander and Kasey were well received at the National School Resource Officers convention last summer and sparked continued national interest in the program.
The $48,000 grant will be used to purchase ten more Kaseys and pay for the training of ten school-resource officers. Alexander says that eventually the program will have forty Kaseys statewide. They will be named Kasey One through Forty, with the names of females spelled “Casey.”
Kennels are being searched for Kaseys and Caseys with the proper temperament, and SROs will come from police and fire departments. A curriculum and syllabus are in the works. The program coordinator will be based in the Sandoval County Sheriff's Department.
State funds provide courses for teachers
Twenty-eight teachers from twelve school districts around the state have just finished the first class of an innovative professional development program for secondary science and math teachers at New Mexico Tech.
Melody Alumbaugh and Lynette Deuel of Bernalillo participated in the class.
The teachers have completed a one-week class in water quality on the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro. During this school year, they will work on courses from their homes, via distance education. In June 2004, they will be back on campus for a final month. The fifteen credit hours they acquire may count toward a master’s of science teaching degree from New Mexico Tech.
Optimist Club keeps on helping
Optimist Club de Sandoval
The Optimist Club de Sandoval has continued inviting speakers to talk about important community programs.
Bill Greene spoke recently about Optimist Pediatric Oncology Project, which helps children battling cancer. A Walk-A-Thon is planned for October 11 (8:00 to 10:00 a.m.) at the UNM track, east of the football stadium, to aid the UNM Hospital Pediatric/Oncology Unit. Details (including how to make contributions directly to this program) are available from Bill at 821-3621.
Chuck Scott spoke about the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs that match children in need of additional support and attention with responsible, caring individuals.
Plans are underway to participate in the second annual Blessings Day, a holiday outreach program for needy families. Clothing, toys, and food will be collected and distributed, and money will be made available to help families with heating bills.
The Junior Optimist program has been redesigned so that participating youths will be involved with three community service projects, and their parents will be involved with the junior club. Programs will include special speakers, trips, and craft projects.
On September 17 Terry Smith, a reading specialist from Algodones School, was presented with the books on tape created by the JOOI Club. The children taped the books to help the children of Algodones School, because listening to books read aloud helps youngsters learn to read. Terry also presented books to the Placitas Elementary School in the Junior Optimist Club's name.
Junior club elections were held for the year. Alex Blanton was elected president; Claire Blanton, vice president; Clayton Richards, secretary; James Maduena, treasurer; and Max Dawkins, sergeant at arms.
The topic for this year’s essay contest is “Being the Best I Can Be.” The grand prize is a college scholarship of up to $5,000. Interested students in grades ten through twelve should contact Nancy Hawks at 771-4931 and start writing their four-to-five-hundred-word essay.
A recent fund-raiser organized by the Optimists Club for the prekindergarden program successfully raised money when community members purchased Pampered Chef items and participated in a raffle for a gourmet dinner for two prepared by Jennifer Chavez and served to their home. Loretta Fudzniski was the winner.
The club was proud to learn that one of its sponsored programs (Dean Alexander and his special dog, Kasey) was honored by our governor for its successful reading program. Other states are now adopting the Kasey Says program.
New club officers will be installed on Monday evening, October 6, at 6:00 p.m. in the San Antonio Mission Hall. Penelope Cisneros will be the new president. The festivities will include a potluck dinner. Bring the whole family. Contact Elaine at 771-1171 for details.
You are invited to join the club on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Placitas Mission San Antonio Community Center (on Paseo de San Antonio). Contact our president, Elaine Sullivan, at 771-1172 for additional details.