Los Alamos National Laboratory

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December 2012/January 2013

Los Alamos Public Schools Recommended for Accreditation

While virtually all high schools in the country are accredited so their students can qualify for admission to a full array of colleges, Los Alamos Public Schools has taken the unusual step of working to obtain accreditation for its entire district. It is one of few in the state to obtain an accreditation recommendation by the internationally recognized AdvancED.

The effort was undertaken as part of the school system’s goal to become a “Top 100” school in the country. Such external scrutiny was intended to help everyone involved to better understand their institutional strengths and weaknesses.

“We knew as a school system we had a lot going for us, but we wanted additional perspectives on areas where we needed to do more work,” said Gene Schmidt, the school district’s superintendent.

In November, an AdvancED team spent three days interviewing students, teachers, staff, stakeholders; observing classrooms; and reviewing documentation. At the end of the review, the team announced that it would recommend the district for accreditation.

Among the strengths the review team recognized were the high expectations for students, faculty, and staff; respectful relations that support student learning; and strong stakeholder engagement.

If the review team’s recommendation is accepted by AdvancED, the district will be internationally benchmarked through an official announcement scheduled for January.

“In an increasingly competitive and international landscape, accreditation means we really are preparing our students to the very best of our abilities,” said Paula Dean, the schools assistant superintendent. “We’re also very thankful to have such a supportive community that really wants our students to succeed.”

For more information on the accreditation process, go to http://www.advanc-ed.org/.

Santa Fe Community College Offers New Welding Program

Due to increased national and local demand (including LANL and Caterpillar Santa Fe), Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) will begin offering an Associate in Applied Science degree in welding for the Spring 2013 semester through its Applied Technologies Department. A certificate in welding is also available. The U.S. Department of Labor expects the need for welders, cutters, solderers, and brass workers to increase by 15% by 2020.

“We believe that Santa Fe Community College needs to launch these high-skill and high-wage training programs because it is the College’s responsibility to become the economic engine for Santa Fe. This collaboration with our partners will advance our economy and provide new employment for years to come,” said SFCC President Ana M. Guzmán.

The new programs are financially supported by the Los Alamos National Security, LLC, which anticipates an increased need for welders for construction programs scheduled during the next 15 years. Caterpillar Santa Fe provided the College with funds to create a welding lab on campus.

For more information on the degree and certificate programs, go to http://www.sfcc.edu/programs/welding.

Building Operator Certification offered in Santa Fe Next Year

Beginning in January, Santa Fe Community College will offer a nationally recognized training and certification program for facility managers, operators, and technicians. The Level 1 Building Operator Certification (BOC) is designed to offer job skills and knowledge to improve the energy performance of the buildings these people manage. The 74 hours of training requires a time commitment of two days a month for four months.

There is currently funding available to pay for the training of those already working in building management through the U.S Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration organization. Normal cost of the training is $1,595. The first class will be held on January 10.

To learn more about the training, go to http://greenbuilding.greentraining.sfcc.edu/. The class is limited to 25 people and is first come, first serve.

The coursework is provided by the Santa Fe Community College’s Center of Excellence in Green Building and Energy Efficiency.

Chimayo Elementary School Performs Well in Fuel Cell Challenge

In mid-November, 47 teams from 26 schools from all over New Mexico came together at Highland High School in Albuquerque as part of the New Mexico Alternative Fuel Challenge. The event provided the students, in grades six through eight, with an opportunity to see how their hand-made, fuel-cell cars would compete against each other. A team from Chimayo Elementary School placed second overall in the competition, even though it was its first year in the event.

In addition to learning about how to build and race fuel cell cars, the teams of students also had to work together to answer the question “How could a hydrogen car contribute to reducing global warming?” and make a presentation with their answers to judges.

Other winners for the day included Albuquerque's Kennedy Middle School, which won first place in the overall ranking, and Albuquerque's Taylor Middle School teams, which placed first and second in the racing results.

Los Alamos National Security, LLC has helped sponsor this competition since 2008.

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