A field trip to a missile launch, a robot-building class, and a gym class on the golf course are all typical educational activities at White Sands School on White Sands Missile Range. The school, which is part of Las Cruces Public Schools, offers kindergarten through eighth-grade students tremendous opportunities and individualized attention. And unknown by many, any student can enroll in the school.
White Sands School is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-focused school with class sizes often smaller than average. The school’s attendance of 300 students is rapidly dropping to about 225 students by August because of the departure of the 2nd Engineering Battalion, a military organization of 800 Soldiers that is leaving White Sands Missile Range due to a Department of the Army reorganization.
“We are not shutting our doors,” said Thomas Bulger, White Sands School principal. “This school has been around since 1948, and the Las Cruces Public School is committed to keeping White Sands School open, but we are trying to increase enrollment so that we can keep all of the amazing, dedicated teachers who work here, as well as maintain the numerous youth activities that exist on White Sands Missile Range.”
Students who live in Las Cruces, as well as surrounding areas to include El Paso and Alamogordo, are welcome to enroll at White Sands School. Parents and care custodians who do not currently work or live on the military installation can be granted an annual visitor pass.
“People think that White Sands Missile Range is extremely far away from Las Cruces,” said Shawn Ticho, Child, Youth & School Services Coordinator. “I live in Las Cruces and it takes me 32 minutes to get from my house to the office, which really is about the same amount of time it takes you to get anywhere in Las Cruces. You just can’t beat the opportunities that White Sands School and CYS Services has to offer.”
Parents who are Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, DoD Civilian and DoD Contractor are eligible for CYS Services. If parents have any questions regarding eligibility and programs/services please feel free to contact CYS Services directly at (575)678-2441.
Beyond education, students are able to take sports, dance, music, and other extracurricular activities.
White Sands School and White Sands Missile Range has a lot to offer students.
“Fifty percent of our eighth graders are early high schoolers, which means they have completed high school credits already,” said Bulger. “We are setting students up for success…that is our main goal.”
White Sands School is preparing for the 2015 to 2016 school year now. There will be an open house for kindergarten registration April 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school. Parents should bring their children’s birth certificates and a copy of their immunization records. For more information about registering students at White Sands School (kindergarten through eighth grade), call (575) 674-1241.