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Drivers Reminded to Obey School Bus Safety Rules As Students Head Back to School

August 9 is the first day of school for Los Alamos Public Schools for the new school year. School buses will be sharing the road with drivers commuting to work, as well as parents dropping off students at school and high school students driving themselves to school.

The LAPS Transportation Department would like to remind drivers in Los Alamos and White Rock to exercise caution when it comes to school buses, bus stops and the students who ride those buses, as well as inform the community about the law regarding school buses. 

“We want to do everything we can to ensure the safety of students on or near the school bus. Once students start to walk away from the bus, it is essential that the public stop when the lights are flashing and the stop arm is out to ensure the safety of our students,” said Keith Rosenbaum, LAPS Director of Transportation.  “Last year we recorded over 230 incidents of cars passing school buses when the red lights were flashing and the stop arm extended. We don’t want to see any student get hurt while getting on or off a school bus.”

Here is a list of the school bus safety rules:

  • First, drive slowly and look for children waiting at the bus stop, walking or riding their bicycles to school. 
  • Second, know what the flashing lights indicate. A red flashing light with the extended stop arm means traffic is required to stop, even in both directions of a two-lane road. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop, so proceed with caution. 
  • Be careful when pulling up to a bus stop because children might be running out to the bus. 
  • Finally, follow all school zone speed limits, look for students in crosswalks and never pass a bus on the outside of a turn. 

All students eligible to ride the school bus must complete the 2023-2024 Student Bus Card. More information regarding LAPS transportation and bus routes may be found here.

If you have any questions about school bus stops or school bus safety, please contact the Transportation Department at 505-663-2255.

Longtime Los Alamos husband-and-wife coaches cross the finish line

By Will Webber


Retired Los Alamos cross-country coaches Kathy and Rob Hipwood led the boys and girls teams for nearly 30 years, amassing 29 team state championships.

Jim Weber/The New Mexican

After a lifetime in pursuit of the finish line, you would think retirement for a pair of distance-running legends would mean sipping Champagne under the Eiffel Tower or hiking the path to Machu Picchu.

Nope, not the Hipwoods.

Heading off into the proverbial sunset has more to do with easing into the next phase of life rather than abandoning the current version.

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find us somewhere near the finish line at the next big race,” says Kathy Hipwood who, alongside her husband, Rob, cultivated one of the most amazing coaching careers in New Mexico prep sports history.

The pair took over as distance running coaches at Los Alamos High School in 1994 and, together, have amassed 29 team state championships, with their athletes stockpiling another 14 individual titles. There’s also a string of nationally ranked teams and dozens of graduates who’ve gone onto the next level and run in college.

Read the full story here.

Sun State Cell Tower Lease

June 20, 2023 

Los Alamos Public Schools is seeking community input on the possible lease of property at 3400 Arizona to Sun State Towers for a cell phone tower. Please provide your comments for consideration here. Comments will be accepted through July 30, 2023.

To view the presentation with more information on the lease, please go to

To view the draft of the lease, click here:



Summer School website now available to view

For those seeking to learn more about Summer School 2023, a website has been published with dates, staff, and an F.A.Q.; please see the website here:

You can now find Summer School 2023 on the main district webpage by mousing over Family & Students and selecting Summer School 2023.

How to find Summer School 2023
March Prevention Theme: Sleep Awareness

 Are you or someone you know struggling with irritability or overwhelm? Having trouble managing your emotions and staying focused? Feeling sluggish and unmotivated? It might be a good time to check in on the amount and quality of sleep you’re getting.

 Sleep is a time for the body to rest and repair and for the brain to integrate and process the day’s information and events. Lack of sleep can have negative impacts on mental and physical health for children, youth and adults.

 Adequate and restful sleep helps children grow, pay attention, learn, and manage their behavior.

 According to the Child Mind Institute, 60-70% of teens are borderline to severely in sleep deficit. Lack of sleep can lead to increased moodiness, difficulty regulating emotions, learning challenges, dangerous drowsy driving, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 Focusing on sleep awareness as our prevention topic during March, we would like to offer these sleep support reminders from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Go to bed early enough to get the amount of hours you need (general recommendations - children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps); children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours; teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours; adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night.)
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet device-free activity without a lot of light exposure.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Do not work, do homework, or online activities in bed.
  • Try to make your bedroom a quiet and relaxing place keeping the temperature cool.
  • ·Limit exposure to bright lights in the evening.
  • Turn off devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and charge them outside the bedroom.
  • Eat a light, healthy snack instead of a heavy meal.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • ·Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon or evening.

Some additional strategies:

  • Complete chores and tasks including homework and email communications early in the evening. Limit distractions to make this time more efficient.
  • Take a look at what you’re consuming in the evenings before bed (food, news, social media, entertainment) - is it relaxing or stimulating?
  • Make a list of activities that help you wind down and check that they have that effect.
  • Evaluate your time commitments - is there enough time in the day to do everything you’d like to do and get adequate sleep?
  • Set out clothes and prepare lunches the night before.
  • Make a to-do list for the next day so that you can set aside worries and planning. 
  • Try out an alarm that wakes you up with natural light.
  • Take this sleep awareness survey to learn more about your sleep patterns and contributing factors.
  • Keep a log for two weeks to better understand what might be affecting your sleep - here is one example. There are also sleep diaries designed for children and teens.
  • Screen time affects sleep. Learn more about sleeping well in the digital age in this article from the Georgetown University School of Nursing.
  •  If you continue to struggle with sleep or are sleeping enough hours and are still feeling poorly, consult with a medical provider to screen for sleep disorders.

 The Los Alamos Public Schools district coordinates a spectrum of prevention activities that are provided by school staff and community partners with funding support from Los Alamos County. The aim of the program is to build protective factors, life skills, and resilience as well as reduce risk behaviors and harm to children and youth.

 For more information or to offer suggestions to the LAPS Prevention Program, Prevention Support Specialist Kristine Coblentz can be reached at or 505-663-2575.


Nominations for 2023 Excellence in Student Achievement Award Due March 3

Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) is seeking nominations from the community for the New Mexico School Board Association’s (NMSBA) 2023 Excellence in Student Achievement Award.

 This award recognizes school leaders, staff and other individuals who have played an important role in improving student achievement. 

Nominees may include:

·       Administrators

·       Teachers

·       Staff Members

·       Parents

·       Community Members

·       Volunteers

 Submit nominations for the New Mexico School Board Association’s 2023 Excellence in Student Achievement Award using the form here.

 The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, March 3, 2023. The Los Alamos School Board will review the nominations and choose the final recipient. Winners will be announced at a School Board meeting in May.

LAHS Athletic Director Earns Certified Master Athletic Administrator Distinction

The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) is pleased to announce that Ann Stewart, Athletic Director at Los Alamos High School, has been recognized by this association as a Certified Master Athletic Administrator.

To earn this distinction, Ann Stewart has demonstrated exemplary knowledge, contributions and on-going professional development in the field of interscholastic athletic administration. The voluntary certification process included a thorough evaluation of the candidate's educational background, experience, NIAAA Leadership Courses and professional contributions. It culminated with a practical written or oral presentation project.

Ann Stewart is one of a very elite group of interscholastic athletic administrators nationwide to attain this level of professionalism.

Ms. Stewart has worked for Los Alamos Public Schools for ten years. She began her career at Los Alamos High School as a physical education teacher. She also coached the boys golf team and girls basketball team. In 2014, she was promoted to the role of Athletic Director.

About the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA)

The NIAAA is an accredited organization and is the professional organization for interscholastic athletic administrators. Based in Indianapolis, IN, the NIAAA’s mission is to provide professional development options for directors of athletics, and to enhance the athletic administration profession. With a current individual membership of over 12,000, the NIAAA consists of member state athletic administrator associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, as well as internationally. The NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders, and fostering community. For more information, visit the NIAAA website at

2023 County Science Fair Results

Over 65 projects were on display as students from elementary, middle and high school participated in the 2023 Los Alamos County Science Fair this past weekend. Thirty-two students qualified for the 2023 Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science Fair which will be hosted by New Mexico Highlands University on March 11.

LAHS Junior Daniel Kim was awarded Best of Show for the Senior Division in the 2023 Los Alamos County Science Fair.

LAHS Junior Daniel Kim was awarded Best of Show for the Senior Division in the 2023 Los Alamos County Science Fair.

Los Alamos High School junior Daniel Kim was awarded Best of Show for the Senior Division for his project in the Environmental Sciences category, “Mapping Anthropogenic Ocean Litter with an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.” 

Head judge for the Science Fair was Cathy Snelson, with assistants Jonas Kintner and Nishath Ranasinghe.  

County Science Fair Director Eva Abeyta and Assistant Director Pamela Miller played a major role behind the success of the Science Fair. “Your hard work has not gone unnoticed,” said Acting Assistant Superintendent Carter Payne during the elementary and junior/senior award ceremonies in the Los Alamos Middle School gym Saturday evening.

Members of the Science Fair committee included Amy Gilbert and Emily Christensen, Aspen Elementary; Stephanie Martinez, Barranca Mesa Elementary; Deidre Thorn, Chamisa Elementary; Mary Alice Hawkins, Mountain Elementary; David Krell and Tera Deines, Piñon Elementary; Naomi Unger, Los Alamos Middle School; Jacqueline Griego, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy; Michela Ombelli, Los Alamos High School and Lynn Strauss, community volunteer.

Over 75 students shared over $3,700 in cash and gift certificates provided by community sponsors including PEEC, Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, Los Alamos Master Gardeners, Science Fair Committee, American Society for Materials LA Chapter, Pajarito Astronomers, Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Consortium, Pajarito Masonic Lodge, AAUW Los Alamos, LAMS PTO, Los Alamos Garden Club and an anonymous donor.

2023 Los Alamos County Science Fair Awards

Best of Show for Elementary Division
Earth Science: Julian Delorey, Barranca Mesa Elementary
Life Science: James Junghans, Barranca Mesa Elementary
Physical Science: Neal Somasekharean, Mountain Elementary, and Alexander Sherrill, Mountain Elementary 

Best of Show for Class Projects 
Grades K - 2: Mrs. Littleton’s Class, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy
Grades 3 - 4: Mrs. Griego’s 3rd/4th Grade, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy 

Best of Show for Junior Division
Life Science: John Fung, Los Alamos Middle School
Physical Science: Rebekah Scott, Aspen Elementary, and Aditya Viswanathan, Los Alamos Middle School

Best of Show for Senior Division
Physical Science: Daniel Kim, Los Alamos High School

County Science Fair Elementary Division Winners

Elementary Division Awards

Earth Science
Honorable Mention - Julian Delorry, Barranca Mesa Elementary
Honorable Mention - Mrs. Littleton’s 2nd Grade Class, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy

Life Science
1st - James Junghans, Barranca Mesa Elementary
2nd - Sequoya Ke and Benji Minko, Mountain Elementary
3rd - Oliver Saenz, Chamisa Elementary
Honorable Mention - Sebastian Holtkamp, Chamisa Elementary

Physical Science
1st - Alexander Sherrill, Mountain Elementary
2nd - Fiona Smith, Mountain Elementary
3rd - Javier Chacon, Max Renner and Lane Metcalf, Mountain Elementary
Honorable Mention - Natalia Griego, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy
Honorable Mention - Neal Somasekharan, Mountain Elementary

Carter Payne with County Science Fair Junior Division Best of Show Winners

Junior Division Awards

Animal Science
1st - Aislinn Marshall, Los Alamos Middle School
2nd - Simeon Capolungo and Hans Gardner, Mountain Elementary
3rd - Aleyana Baca, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy 

Behavioral & Social Science
Honorable Mention - Sarah Haaser, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy

1st - Rebekah Scott, Aspen Elementary
2nd - Burke Tastan, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy
3rd - Eliot Work, Los Alamos Middle School
Honorable Mention - Riley Fensin, Mountain Elementary

Earth & Planetary Science
Honorable Mention - Luke Patterson, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy 

Engineering: Electrical & Mechanical
1st - Natan Svyatsky, Los Alamos Middle School
2nd - Linus Plohr, Mountain Elementary
Honorable Mention - Bronze Strum, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy
Honorable Mention - Max Wilson, Barranca Mesa Elementary 

Engineering: Materials & Bioengineering
1st-Antonio Martin-DeVargas, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy

Environmental Science
1st - Aditya Viswanathan, Los Alamos Middle School 

Medicine & Health Sciences
1st - Yuiko Yamaguchi, Mountain Elementary
2nd - Grace Norman, Piñon Elementary 

1st - John Fung, Los Alamos Middle School
2nd - Jasper Stauffer, Piñon Elementary
3rd - Julia Neale, Barranca Mesa Elementary 

Physics & Astronomy
1st - Tate Plohr, Los Alamos Middle School
2nd - Brailyn Manzanares, Barranca Mesa Elementary
3rd - Boden Holmes, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy
Honorable Mention - Haley Bishofberger, Barranca Mesa Elementary 

Plant Sciences
1st - Amelia Hill, Los Alamos Middle School
2nd - Iris Butcher, Los Alamos Online Learning Academy

Carter Payne with County Science Fair Winners in the Senior Division.

Senior Division Awards

Honorable Mention - Jason Zhao, Los Alamos High School

Engineering: Electrical & Mechanical
1st - Andres Iturregui , Los Alamos High School
2nd - Michael Bane, Los Alamos High School 

Environmental Sciences
1st - Daniel Kim, Los Alamos High School 

For a complete list of award winners and their projects, click here.

Girls Cross Country Coach Kathy Hipwood Selected as NM Coach of the Year

LAHS Girls Cross Country Coach Kathy Hipwood at the 2022 New Mexico State Cross Country Championships. Photo by Blake Wood.

Los Alamos High School Girls Cross Country Coach Kathy Hipwood has been selected as the 2022 Girls High School Cross Country Coach of the Year for the state of New Mexico by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).This is the second year in a row, and third time in the last four years that Coach Hipwood has received this recognition.

 “This honor is based upon your leadership and the success of the cross country team throughout the season,” noted Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA. “It’s also a reflection of your hard work and the dedication of the student-athletes, the coaching staff, and the administration of the school.”

 The USTFCCCA High School Coach of the Year Award Program is sponsored by the United States Marine Corps. Started in 2014, the program recognizes the best high school boys’ and girls’ coaches, at both the state and national levels in cross country and track & field. A boys’ and girls’ coach from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are chosen at the end of each respective season as state-by-state winners, and from there, those 102 honorees are vetted, and two national award winners are selected.

 “The recognition is an honor and is a tribute to all of the coaches and the team,” said Coach Hipwood.  “This year was unique because it took a leap of faith on the part of the girls after a big turnover of last year’s varsity. The win was hard-fought and definitely rewarding, but the way the entire team embraced the whole process and gained confidence and trust in each other throughout the season made it very special.”

 The LAHS Girls Cross Country team was undefeated for the second consecutive year against New Mexico schools from all divisions. They won the 2022 4A State Championships last November with the fastest top 5 average of all divisions. This state championship was the fourth in a row and 21st girls title for Coach Hipwood in her 29 years as head coach. With seven boys’ titles, Coach Hipwood has earned more championships than any other cross country coach in New Mexico history.

 The USTFCCCA is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches. The organization has over 11,000 coaching members, encompassing NCAA track & field and cross country programs of all divisions, the NAIA, the NJCAA and several state high school track & field/cross country coaches associations.

District Spelling Bee Winners
Spelling bee winners from left to right: Julia Zhou, 1st place; Rebecca Scott, 2nd place; Gianna Rolfe, 3rd place.

From left to right: Julia Zhou, 1st place winner; Rebecca Scott, 2nd place; Gianna Rolfe, 3rd place.



Julia Zou, a 7th grader at Los Alamos Middle School, won first place at the Los Alamos Public Schools District Spelling Bee. Aspen Elementary School 6th graders Rebekah Scott and Gianna Rolfe, placed second and third, respectively.

The winning word was “exaggerate.”

Julia and Rebekah will participate in the New Mexico State Qualifying Spelling Bee on February 28. The top 25 qualifiers will compete in the New Mexico State Spelling Bee on April 1.

Last year Julia was a runner up in the Piñon Elementary Spelling Bee; Rebekah placed third in the Aspen Elementary Spelling Bee.

Seventeen students representing Aspen Elementary, Barranca Mesa Elementary, Chamisa Elementary, Mountain Elementary, Piñon Elementary and Los Alamos Middle School participated in the District Spelling Bee held last Wednesday evening in the Los Alamos High School Speech Theater. In addition, two students from Alcalde Elementary School also participated.  Nancy Brugh served as emcee and recordkeeper. Judy Crocker was the pronouncer, Tammy Hinckley was the timekeeper, and Debbie Grothaus, Oliver Morris and Morrie Pongratz were the judges.

Hosts for the District Spelling Bee included the LAHS Activities department; Acting Superintendent Jennifer Guy; Dr. Sharon Fogle, LAPS Director of Curriculum; and Curriculum Specialist Kaela Jacobson.

School site sponsors include Skyeanne Webb, Aspen Elementary; Pam Miller, Barranca Elementary; Nancy Brugh, Chamisa Elementary; Shanda Moore, Mountain Elementary; Tera Deines, Piñon Elementary; and Sherri Bublitz, Los Alamos Middle School.