Student Services

Karla Crane
Karla CraneDirector of Student Services

Our Staff Welcomes You!

Director of Student Services:  Karla Crane  (505) 663-2208  •  k.crane@laschools.net

Student Services Assistant:  Phyllis Foley  (505) 663-2208  •  p.foley@laschools.net

Student Services Secretary:  Diana Stokes  (505) 663-3235  •  d.stokes@laschools.net

SPED Records Specialist:  Sarahrose Sanchez  (505) 663-2215  •  sa.sanchez@laschools.net

Our Location

The Los Alamos Public Schools is required to identify all children with disabilities from birth to age twenty-one who may be in need of special education and who reside within the jurisdiction of the district.  This applies to all children whether they are in public school, private school, or in the custody of public institutions or agencies.  Anyone who knows of a child with special needs, who is not presently being served by the public schools, should contact Karla Crane, Coordinator of Student Services at 663-2208.  Children who are birth to three years old are referred to the Part C Early Intervention Service Provider, Las Cumbres, for assessment and possible services.  Information will be kept confidential.

The Los Alamos Public Schools provides preschool programs for children ages 3-5 who are eligible for special education due to disabling conditions or severe developmental delays.  To qualify for services, a severe delay must be identified in one or more areas of development (i.e. speech and language, motor, cognitive, social/behavior skills) through a complete evaluation. Parents who have concerns about possible developmental delays may contact Student Services at the Los Alamos Public Schools, 663-2208, to schedule an appointment for a screening.

Preschool age level peers who are typically developing in all areas are selected to participate on a tuition basis to serve as models of age-appropriate language, motor, and social skills.  Parents desiring to have their children considered as peer models should contact the schools at the above number to be placed on a screening list.  Peer models are selected in the beginning weeks of the school year.

The special education preschool programs are located at Barranca and Pinon Elementary Schools and are in session Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during the school year.  Morning programs for three-year-old children are held from 9:00-11:40 and afternoon programs for four-year-old children are from 12:55-3:35.

The IEP team may recommend one of more of the following related services necessary for a child with a disability to benefit from special education. These can include audiology, physical therapy, school counseling, psychological services, speech/language therapy, special transportation, orientation/mobility training, parent training, school social work, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, school health services, or interpretation services.

Work Study Program
A work study program is coordinated by licensed special education staff at the high school. The students receive instruction in job skills as necessary from their special education teachers, the work study coordinators, and job coaches. When students have mastered some basic job skills, they are placed according to individual needs at job sites in the community which are funded through a variety of supplemental sources including state and federal agencies and private employers.

Extended School Year Services
Special education and related services are provided to eligible students beyond the 180 school days at no cost to parents. Eligibility is determined on an individual basis by the IEP team based on demonstration of significant regression/recoupment relative to current IEP instructional goals and objectives.

Gifted Education
In New Mexico, gifted programs are provided through special education and funded through the special education funding formula. For this reason, the federal and state regulations written primarily for students with disabilities also apply to students who fall under the gifted exceptionality. Specific eligibility criteria are mandated by state legislation. Students identified as gifted are those whose measured intelligence quotient is at least two standard deviations above the mean on an intelligence test and who meet at least one of the following criteria: superior performance on the total battery score of a standardized achievement test, outstanding creativity or divergent thinking, and/or outstanding critical thinking or problem-solving ability on a test. The district offers GATE (gifted and talented education) programs including both in-class and pull-out models in grades K-8. A program is available at the high school which offers support for gifted students whose needs are not met through the wide range of programs available to all students at the high school. The district has a GATE Advisory Committee composed of parents, staff, and students which meets to review current programs for gifted students.

Transfer Students
A student transferring into Los Alamos Public Schools who has been served in a special education program in the previous district may be placed on an interim IEP in a special education program which appears to meet the student’s reported needs. Final placement in special education is contingent upon the receipt and acceptance of previous diagnostic data and the determination of need by the IEP team. If the records are not received or do not verify the student’s eligibility, the student may be referred for further evaluation by local diagnosticians.

Homebound Services
Special education services are provided in home, hospital, or other settings as deemed necessary by the IEP team.

Gifted and Talented (GATE) Program

The program for gifted students in the Los Alamos Public Schools will focus on providing for the academic, emotional, and social needs of the gifted student within a supportive environment. It is the purpose of the gifted education program to provide educational opportunities for the development of intellectual excellence. These opportunities will be appropriate to students’ individual capabilities and will encourage students’ commitment

GATE program goals are aligned with the LAPS 2016 Strategic Plan in the areas of Student Learning (SL), Student Well Being (SWB) and Teacher and Staff Excellence (TSE).

  1. To provide increased and varied opportunities for learning higher level thinking skills and to help students learn how to apply those skills.
  2. To identify and support gifted students including those who may be difficult to evaluate due to cultural or linguistic background, socioeconomic status, or disability.
  3. To develop and encourage independent learning and task commitment toward completion of a variety of quality products.
  4. To provide opportunities for gifted students to meet with their intellectual peers for purposes of academic, emotional, and social support.
  5. To develop attitudes of mutual respect, positive risk-taking behaviors, and self-confidence that intellectual excellence requires.
  6. To provide all school staff with the knowledge and tools to support the academic, social and emotional needs of gifted students across all school settings.
  7.  To foster parent involvement in gifted programs.

A student demonstrating characteristics of giftedness may be referred at any time in grades K-12 to the building Student Assistance Team (SAT) by teachers, parents, other school staff or through self-referral. The referral will include academic achievement data and documentation of gifted characteristics in response to classroom Tier 1 and 2 interventions. Push in services from the GATE teacher to all K-2 classes will be provided on a regular basis to support both identified and unidentified gifted students. GATE teachers will collaborate with classroom teachers to collect evidence of gifted behaviors to facilitate appropriate referrals for evaluation prior to third grade. Building principals will facilitate ongoing collaboration between gifted education and general education teachers to support the intervention and identification process.

  1. The SAT will review the documentation provided to determine if additional data is needed prior to referral for an educational evaluation. The GATE teacher may serve as a member of the SAT when pertinent referrals are discussed. GATE teachers may also assist by providing observations of students who are being considered for referral. The focus for identification activities will be in the early grades with the goal to refer most potentially gifted students by the end of the third grade.
  1. Following referral by the SAT, the student will receive a multidisciplinary evaluation to include individual intelligence, achievement, critical thinking and creativity assessments. In New Mexico, the criteria for gifted eligibility includes a score two standard deviations above the mean as defined by the test author on a properly administered intelligence measure and at least one of the following:
  • superior academic performance on a total subject area score on a standardized test;
  • outstanding performance on a test of creativity/divergent thinking;
  • outstanding on a test of problem solving/critical thinking.
  1. Determination of gifted eligibility is a two-part process. 1)   Student meets state criteria for gifted eligibility through the evaluation process; and  2)   The IEP team which includes the parent and the classroom teacher determines annually the student’s educational needs that require further development beyond what is available in the classroom program. IEP goals are developed to meet those exceptional needs.
  1. Students identified as meeting state criteria for the gifted will continue to be considered for program participation throughout their years in school.   If a student exits the GATE program at any time during enrollment in the district, that student may be considered for re-entry to the program upon SAT, parent or student request. An IEP meeting to determine educational needs and goals based on those needs will be held. For gifted students who continue in service, the IEP committee will review student progress annually and reevaluate the continued need for IEP goals.

Each school designs a delivery model for gifted services that meets the district’s program goals. Goals and services for students are determined individually by their IEP teams . As appropriate for the student’s age, students will be involved in developing their IEP goals according to their interests and needs that go beyond what is available through the general education program. Staff assigned to deliver gifted services is determined based on the number of students who have IEPs and the level of service to be delivered.

Elementary GATE Program Structure

  • Each elementary school receives an allocation for teachers of the gifted based on the number of identified students as well as the projected number of unidentified gifted students in kindergarten through 2nd grade.
  • Teachers of the gifted will provide services to both identified and unidentified gifted students within the general classroom setting in grades K-2. Regularly scheduled times will be established to provide lessons to enhance and support gifted behaviors. These activities will serve as the school-based observational data required in the gifted identification process.

-Differentiated instruction provides opportunities for real-world application, problem-based and inquiry learning designed to facilitate the identification of gifted students through Tier 1 and 2 interventions and to support the learning needs of identified gifted students in the classroom.

-GATE teachers and classroom teachers work together to develop strategies that recognize and nurture the development of exceptional abilities through instruction in content areas.

  • Both push-in and pullout options are offered to identified gifted students in grades 3-6 to provide:

-challenge and enrichment in a variety of areas
-project based learning
-independent study
-content area acceleration through online instruction
-guided interaction with gifted peers to facilitate understanding affective needs, personal strengths, and to develop coping skills and resilience

Middle School Program Structure

      • GATE services are provided through a cluster grouping model in academic content area classes.   GATE teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to provide differentiated instruction appropriate for gifted learners.
      • Clusters of 5-7 gifted students in specific ELA, Social Studies and Science content classes will be scheduled on all six teams at the middle school (approximately 20-25 students per team)
      • Math is already clustered by skill level to allow math acceleration to identified students. Options for math acceleration in Algebra and Geometry are offered to identified students for high school credit.
      • One full-time GATE teacher will be hired to serve each grade level.
      • The GATE teachers will advocate for students with GATE IEPs, consult with the content teachers in which cluster groups are scheduled, assist with differentiation of instruction and assignments to create opportunities for enrichment, challenge, application of higher level thinking skills and to address affective needs.
      • The grade level GATE teacher will meet individually with students to develop IEP goals individually targeted to each student’s strengths, interests and needs.
      • Small group meetings with GATE teacher will be provided to support affective needs through guided interactions with gifted peers
      • Individual meetings with GATE teacher will be provided to support implementation of IEP goals.
      • Demonstration of mastery of IEP goals will be determined individually by each student’s IEP team. Support toward goals will be provided through differentiated activities in the content areas.

TFA/High School Program

      • Options for content area acceleration, honors, AP classes, and dual credit classes through course offerings
      • IEP goals to provide support for independent study facilitated by the GATE teacher in areas of individual interest
      • Small group meetings with GATE teacher to support affective needs through guided interactions with gifted peers
      • Individual support from GATE teacher for independent projects in areas of interest
      • Options for facilitated mentorships and work internship opportunities

Teacher/Staff Training

      • It is recognized that gifted students receive the majority of their instruction in the general education classroom. Opportunities for professional development in gifted/talented educational will be provided for all instructional staff. These could include book study groups, presentations during dedicated professional development days, modeling of  differentiation strategies in general education classrooms by teachers of gifted education and collaborative planning by teachers of the gifted and general classroom teachers.
      • Professional development will focus on understanding the learning, intellectual, emotional and social needs and characteristics of gifted/talented students and the development of  strategies and options to assist gifted/talented students in reaching their potential.
      • Principals will encourage collaboration between gifted educators and classroom teachers and support the development of whole class and school-wide activities that provide options for challenge and enrichment to all students at their ability level.
      • LAPS will provide information to all instructional staff on requirements for obtaining the gifted endorsement for New Mexico licensure and facilitate hiring highly qualified teachers of the gifted.
      • GATE teachers from elementary, middle and high school levels will meet together during the school year to review program models, share common best practices and collaborate to vertically align developmentally appropriate program options.

Parent Training and Support

    • Opportunities will be provided at the district and site level during the school year to involve parents in the gifted programming provided to their children. These might include opportunities to view products or presentations, participate in book groups, or network with other parents of gifted students in the district.
    • Gifted educators will share information regarding national and state gifted education conferences with parents.
    • Information will be provided to parents regarding the service models and program options as their students transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school levels.
    • Information and support will be provided to parents regarding the intellectual, emotional and social needs of gifted students.

The membership of the Gifted Advisory Committee includes parents, students, school staff and community members who are knowledgeable and interested in gifted education and reflect the cultural diversity of the district’s enrollment. The committee meets at least three times annually to review the goals and priorities of the gifted program, including the operational plans for student identification, evaluation, placement and service delivery and to demonstrate support for the gifted program. To assist the GATE Advisory Committee in reviewing district programs, sites present a summary of program options that align with the mission and goals of the LAPS GATE Program Plan. Input from parents of gifted students is solicited by site representatives and district surveys.