In Brief - Education - August 17, 2012

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From The Associated Press

NMSU program to help Latinos
LAS CRUCES — A New Mexico State University program hopes to find ways to encourage Mexican American families to eat healthier.
A recently announced 18-month project funded by the Paso del Norte Health Foundation is seeking to convince Mexican-Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Under the program, researchers will assess the layout of grocery stores in and around Las Cruces. Researchers will then analyze the purchasing and consumption patterns of Mexican-American families, and use “socially driven” messages to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Among the study’s objectives are to increase fruit and vegetable purchases by 10 percent during a six month period.

Schools still under construction
SANTA FE — Construction remains under way at four public schools in Santa Fe as the first day of school approaches.
Kristy Janda-Wagner, executive director of operations for Santa Fe Public Schools, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the schools will open as scheduled even as construction remains under way.
The projects are part of a district commitment to fulfill a 2009 general obligation bond vote. That $160 million bond was designed to provide and update K-8 facilities, create art rooms, renovate kindergarten classrooms and ensure the complete removal of portable classrooms from these school sites, among other projects.
The four schools in question will be ready to open, though students at some of the schools may have to endure an overlapping period of construction and instruction as projects continue for anywhere from another week to a full semester.
At the Gonzales Community School, administration offices need another five to 10 days of work, but otherwise the school will be ready on Wednesday.
El Dorado Community School will be ready for students on Wednesday. Principal Anne Darnton said a building is almost entirely complete, but some landscaping work is continuing. A new cafeteria is being finalized, so for the first week or two, the school will have temporary food service lines.
Marisa Ortiz Snyder, the school district’s construction liaison, said construction at Aspen Community Magnet School should conclude by early September.
At Sweeney Elementary, an interior remodeling project requires more extensive work. For at least the next semester, the school’s K-2 students will be bussed to another school.
As with the situation at Gonzales, the main administrative offices at Sweeney won’t be ready to open for business this week. The principal and some of her staffers will work in temporary offices for a while.

New education grants announced
SEATTLE — A Washington nonprofit organization is announcing $1.2 million in new grants to encourage better science, technology, engineering and math teaching.
The grants announced Wednesday by Washington STEM will help teachers in classrooms around the state. They range from money to help preschool kids learn about science and math at home, to bigger efforts to improve science and math teaching in the Tacoma, Renton, Highline and several smaller school districts.
Among the smaller projects getting money from Washington STEM are a hands-on renewable energy lab in the Brewster School District, and a plan to combine robotics with biotech learning in Ellensburg.
In Sunnyside, a teacher will be using iPads to help her first graders get comfortable with technology. Middle school students on Vashon Island will be solving real world math problems from the construction of their new high school.

Bullying law gets endorsement
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton is endorsing the need for Minnesota to toughen its anti-bullying law.
Dayton received a report from his school bullying task force Wednesday. He endorsed the panel’s recommendation that Minnesota enact a stronger anti-bullying policy for all school districts.