LAPS Supt. Kurt Steinhaus. Photo Courtesy LAPS
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS), briefed the Rotary Club of Los Alamos during its October 6 meeting on the current accommodations being made by the school district to adapt to recent changes in pandemic protocols.
Remarking that a “really tough” situation has been addressed by teachers, staff, parents, and students “working hard to pull together,” Steinhaus emphasized that “safety and well-being are always pre-eminent considerations.”
Beginning Monday, Oct. 19, LAPS elementary schools will transition from predominantly remote instruction to a hybrid model that will welcome 50 percent of a classroom’s students on Monday and Tuesday; the other 50 percent on Thursday and Friday. On the days a 50 percent cohort is not on campus, those children will work remotely at home. Wednesdays will be designated for tutoring, teacher planning and professional development, and small group instruction. The goal is to transition back to all students attending school, in person, five days a week.
During his presentation Steinhaus thanked community partners who have given generously to assist the school district. They include the Rotary Club of Los Alamos for providing $950 for ‘hotspots’ for student connectivity; Los Alamos Credit Union, Zia Credit Union, and Del Norte Credit Union for each giving $1,500 for personal protective equipment (PPE); the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation for $500 towards PPE; Century Bank for $1,500 for background checks and $500 for teacher and staff appreciation. The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce has donated thermometers and masks to the school district.
Steinhaus also mentioned that the major remodel of Barranca Mesa Elementary is “99 percent complete,” and that Smith Auditorium has been outfitted this summer with LED lights. Of course, the completion of the field house at Sullivan Field is a significant accomplishment.
As a segue from the new field house to school athletics, Steinhaus had been encouraged by the return of high school sports activities at the time of his presentation. However, Governor Lujan-Grisham has since imposed further restrictions on school athletics due to an increase in Covid-19 infections across the state. According to the October 9th edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican, “No high school or club sports will be permitted until at least January.”
In closing, Steinhaus once again thanked the “incredible Los Alamos community” for its support in circumstances that change–and challenge–almost daily.
Dr. Steinhaus joined the Rotary Club of Los Alamos in 2018. He was born in Los Alamos and holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education, as well as Master’s degrees in Music and in Education Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning from the University of New Mexico. Previously he served as director of student programs, education, workforce development, scholarships, and community giving at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Steinhaus has also served as Deputy Secretary of Education and as an Education Policy Advisor for the Governor of New Mexico. Steinhaus is a lifetime member of Leadership New Mexico.