White Sands School students have less than a week to soak up the sun and summer fun before gearing up for another school year. As is tradition, the First Day of School Holiday will be held today, Aug. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m. at White Sands School to provide kids and parents with vital information and some school supplies.
This year the Department of the Army provided some necessary upgrades to facilities near the school and provided an ease-of-access route for after-school care.
A bridge has been constructed near the entrance of the Middle School Teen center due to concerns of walking up and down a ravine to enter the building. A crosswalk was also placed on Aberdeen Street, the street students must cross before arriving at the MST. Dolores Lopez, Child Youth and School Services school liaison officer, said the Army decided to fund the construction of the bridge due to safety concerns that were expressed.
The basketball courts in front of the school have also now been equipped with a cement ramp that will go from the road down to the basketball courts.
“We really appreciate it,” said the new White Sands School Principal Kathy Vigil. “It was an awesome addition.”
This year the Las Cruces Public School will still have the standard bus schedule where high school students are picked up on post, if the students attend either Arrowhead or Oñate High School. However, this year, the buses will also run on compressed Fridays for White Sands Elementary School students. Once the high school students are dropped-off for the afternoon elementary-school students who do not live on WSMR will be picked up and dropped off at Highland Elementary.
“It’s a way to help families who don’t live on post,” Lopez said.
For students who participate in after-school care, the programs will continue to offer a snack, open activities and the homework labs at the School-Age Care facility or the MST facility, based on the student’s age. Lopez said the after-school programs come at no additional charge to the standard CYSS fees.
White Sands School
This year Kathy Vigil will return to WSS as the school’s principal, since the last school year, WSS has not and will not have a vice-principal for the year. Vigil said she missed the K-8 grade levels having only worked with middle school students at Lynn Middle School before returning to White Sands. She said she missed the parent’s involvement and says the difference between WSS and other Las Cruces Public schools she has worked for is the dedication and involvement of the staff members to the students.
“I missed the sense of family and what that does to the community,” Vigil said.
Sally Evavold will return as the secretary and Sandra Nuñez has returned as the school’s counselor. Michael Rigsby, the school librarian, will now be teaching middle school social studies. Vigil said based on the population, some teachers may be shifting grade levels. The recent departure of the 2nd Engineer Battalion had created a void at the school but Vigil said registration has been steady this school year and she has seen a lot of new faces coming in.
“We are just excited,” she said. “We’ve met a lot of new community members who have kids who are enrolling and it looks like they will be here for a while.”
Vigil said the district has shifted to an online formative-assessment system and the staff has been in training all summer to learn the new program. She said staff members are excited to come in to a new school year and try the new assessment system. The school is also scheduled to be refurnished next year and the staff will have an input on the new additions.
Preparing for a
successful school year
Vigil has some advice for parents and students this year in order to ensure they have a successful school year, she said it is vitally important to always get a good night’s rest and have a healthy breakfast in the morning.
“That’s half the battle,” she said. “Healthy, happy kids learn best.”
Vigil said if ever there is a concern from a parent or a student feels too overwhelmed with work, they need to know they can always come to the office for help. She said her staff is consistently professional, curriculum focused and meets student’s individual needs, all with a positive attitude. Students should always strive to do their best and accept challenges, she said.
“If you feel overwhelmed take a deep breath and ask for help,” she said. “Every question is a good question.”
Vigil also encourages parents to participate in the Parent-Teacher Association at White Sands School. The PTA will be kicking off their first fundraiser at the FDOSH with kettle-corn sales. The large kettle-corn bags are $8 a bag and 50 percent of the profits will go to the school only if they sell 100 bags of the kettle-corn.
First Day of
Several different organizations will be on scene providing free goodies and information for students and parents, to include McAfee Health Clinic, CYSS and the WSMR Fire Department. Vigil said LCPS representatives, including Steven Sanchez, interim superintendent, will be present to introduce himself and answer questions. An opening ceremony will take place at the gym and the event will then move to the school’s front lawn where booths will be set up. Vigil said this is the only school within the district that provides a holiday event for students before school starts, she said she has recommended the FDOSH idea to the previous school she worked at because they also had a close-knit community and she has seen the benefits of the program.
First Day of School
Classes at White Sands School begin at 8:15 a.m. with the first bell ringing at 8:10 a.m.
Though the installation has greatly reduced their military presence, Vigil said they will still have a ceremony after the second bell in the morning, as is customary. She said she will have a volunteer sing the National Anthem and will welcome all the students and welcome herself as the new principal and encourage them to start off the new school-year right.
“Parents are more than welcome to stop by,” she said. “We want to help get kids fired up.”