Lauren Coupland Announces Campaign For Los Alamos School Board District 3 – Aspen Elementary School

BY LAUREN COUPLAND
Candidate for Los Alamos School Board
District 3 – Aspen Elementary School

Since moving to Los Alamos 10 years ago, I have been actively involved in the community and in Los Alamos Public Schools.  In March 2013, our family moved to Los Alamos from Michigan. We immediately felt at home here due to the support and community we found in Family Strengths Network (FSN).  Our visit was supposed to be a short postdoctoral appointment before returning to the Midwest, but Los Alamos and New Mexico quickly became a place that I never wanted to leave.

I started putting down roots immediately and volunteered across the county. From events and fundraisers at FSN to coaching the Hilltalkers at Los Alamos High School, I offered up my skills as a former teacher to support a wide variety of education efforts in the county. 

As my children got older, I also volunteered at their schools — first at Little Forest Play School and then Aspen Elementary.  I have also volunteered at the district level, serving on the Gifted Advisory Committee, Equity Council, and, most recently, the Calendar Committee. Throughout this service, I worked well and enjoyed collaborating with the current administration and Supt. Jennifer Guy. 

I believe that running for school board is my next step in supporting this community and Los Alamos Public Schools.  I am excited to continue collaborations to better support our students and teachers. I enjoy bringing fresh insights to the district to keep Los Alamos at the forefront of modern education. 

I am eager to help  grow  LAPS and continue working with Jennifer Guy and LAPS board members to cultivate a more robust and inclusive academic environment.

I believe in addressing issues head on. I prioritize truth and transparency over propping up perceptions. I have spoken to parents and teachers across the district, and heard their concerns.  Time after time, common themes come up— accessibility, communication, transparency, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) implementation and effective intervention, bullying, racism, stress levels, mental health, and substance abuse.  

We can’t solve problems by pretending our community isn’t affected by them. We need to roll up our sleeves and do the uncomfortable, but necessary, work of rooting out these problems. Discrimination, drug use, and disability can be uncomfortable to talk about, but we must push past the discomfort in order to better support our students and families.  We need new innovative approaches to support students and families currently struggling.  We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. 

I am the best person to help our district face these challenges, because I have faced them all before.  From personal to professional experience, I have navigated complex issues related to IEPs, accessibility, and discrimination.

As a young student, I struggled with both physical and learning disabilities. I learned quickly how to advocate for myself and make the most of my IEP.  A passion for education and advocacy was born out of those early experiences and  led me to earn a  teaching degree with a concentration in communication. 

I have taught in a variety of schools with diverse populations, and navigated the conflicts that arose.   Before moving to New Mexico, I taught at The Bridge Alternative High School in Brighton, Michigan. In my first year, we transitioned from being an Adult/Alternative program to a full Alternative High School for students that did not find success in the traditional school environment.

I helped build the program and culture of the school, with a focus on meeting students where they were, and viewing them as a whole person, not just a student who had failed elsewhere.  The mission statement that I helped draft continues at the school nearly 15 years later…

“The mission of The Bridge is to create a safe, caring, and supportive learning environment with an emphasis on inspiring students to achieve social, emotional, and intellectual success for post-secondary pursuits and professional work opportunities.”

It’s a mission that I’m still personally committed to for all students.

Many of the challenges my students in Michigan experienced are the same ones facing Los Alamos today.  My  successes as a teacher working with at risk students with complex backgrounds has made me uniquely suited to support our students in Los Alamos.  

I am running for Los Alamos School Board District 3 to bring missing voices to the table.  I am running for Los Alamos School Board to encourage  open, honest communication to better address the problems facing our students and families.  

I welcome open dialogue on how we can best support our students and staff as we navigate our future. 

If you would like to learn more about Lauren Coupland and her campaign, please visit our facebook page at facebook.com/CouplandforSchoolBoard or email committeetoelectlaurencoupland@gmail.com