Barranca Mesa Elementary School is a dynamic and high achieving elementary school in the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) and has been recognized by the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) as a High Performing school or as an Exemplary school for many years. There are approximately 360 students at Barranca in 23 classes pre-school through sixth grades with class sizes ranging from 10 to 25 students. Specials classes that consist of art, computer lab, library, music, and physical education are a part of each student’s regular curriculum.
For students who are eligible, Barranca offers a wide continuum of special education services. Included in our special education program are pre-school, resource, Living Skills, GATE, speech and language therapists, school psychologist, school social worker, and occupational and physical therapists. Barranca also has a full-time counselor and a full-time nurse to serve all students. Our technology is supported through an on-site educational technologist and technology technician. Each classroom teacher has the opportunity of part-time assistance from our staff of 25 instructional assistants.
There are a number of extra-curricular activities available to the students of Barranca. Students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades can take orchestra and students in fifth and sixth grades are eligible for band. Upper grades can participate in Choir Club, Chess Club, Double Dutch Team, Swing Dancers and Spirit Club. And, the YMCA offers an after-school program for families who wish to participate.
The population of Barranca has changed in the last ten years. The addition of lower income housing in the school attendance area has created a more diverse socio-economic student/family population. While, a large percentage of the Barranca students still come from affluent families, the current service area is varied allowing for more diverse student population. Along with this diversity are the family/social issues that the Barranca staff has had to familiarize themselves with in order to guarantee every student will be successful. The resources available to the Barranca staff for prevention and intervention services for identified students are abundant. The Student Assistance Team (SAT) procedures have streamlined the identification process and created an opportunity for timely modification and assistance to the child and/or family.
Barranca’s Educational Plan for Student Success (EPSS) was recently revised to reflect the needs of our students based on the results from the Measure of Academic Progress (MAPs). We have seen growth in both math and reading and this year, as in the past, all our "subgroups" (ie, ethnic, economic and special education) have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in both areas.
The 75 member Barranca staff is dedicated and professional. They hold their positions as educators in high regard and "go the extra mile" needed to guarantee every child is working toward success emotionally and academically.
The support systems in place for the Barranca staff include the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Barranca Advisory Team (BAT). These two organizations, with membership representation from both parent/family/community members and the Barranca staff, create cohesiveness around the Barranca philosophy of shared decision making and teamwork.
There is always a place for improvement, and we pride ourselves as a staff that realizes our potential as that of a glass that is half full.