LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas Schools have a few major changes coming in the 2019-20 school year.

The first day of school for students this year is Monday, Aug. 12, and the first day for kindergarten and Pre-K is Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Extended Learning Time

Extended Learning Time is one of these major changes.

“Kids will be provided an extra opportunity to participate in activities that will help them to progress academically, and/or extra curricular activities, such as robotics clubs, Spanish clubs, chess club and anything that falls under the STREAM model,” said Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Dana Sanders.

The STREAM model includes science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math.

Los Lunas Schools superintendent and cabinet are, from left, Juliette Romero Benavidez, Dana Sanders, Susan Chavez, Brian Baca and Claire Cieremans.
Anna Padilla | News-Bulletin photo

Sanders said the extended time will offer more opportunities for staff to work with students before or after school.

“This has allowed Los Lunas Schools to offer teachers more money than most of our surrounding districts — between $2,000 and $5,000 and possibly more with these after-school activities,” Sanders said.

Four days were added to the beginning of the school year to allow for training of the teachers, and an extra day at the end of the year for data review and to begin planning for the next school year.

MacBooks for students

Los Lunas high school students will each be receiving a MacBook. There is a user fee of $45 dollars for each student. There will be mandatory orientations for the parents and families of the students receiving a MacBook. A list of dates for each school’s orientations are on the respective websites.

The goal is for students to keep that same MacBook and all of their work on it for a four-year time period.

Deputy Superintendent Brian Baca said giving students computers is an attempt to help them become more technologically savvy.

“We’re even looking at some electronic textbooks just to minimize the number of books kids are having to carry in their backpacks,” Baca said. “As we’re going into a more digital age, the MacBooks help us to prepare our students both for college and the workplace.”

Visitor management

A new visitor management system is being implemented this coming school year called Raptor Technology.

Any visitor to any of the Los Lunas Schools sites will be asked to provide identification, which will be screened and compared to the sex offender database.

“We want to make sure who is on our campus,” said Baca. “Any alerts that may be entered through this database or through our school alerts will notify the office immediately so that a decision can be made about whether this person will be allowed on our campuses.”

This system has been used nationwide and at several different school sites in New Mexico such as Rio Rancho and Santa Fe.

Visitors will be asked to provide a driver’s licence or some form of identification to the office staff who will scan the information, and it will be stored and accessible to all of the schools in the district.

“It’s part of our Protecting and Preserving the Future school safety initiative,” Baca said. “We’re partnering with local law enforcement to try to increase student safety because we know that if students don’t feel safe, learning can’t take place.”

Middle school dress code

For Los Lunas Middle and Valencia Middle schools, uniforms are no longer mandatory but a dress code is still enforced. Torn or sagging pants will not be allowed, along with shirts that depict acts of violence, sex or gang affiliation.

Yoga pants and similar bottoms are not permitted unless they are covered by an “appropriate length” dress or skirt.

The full dress code is available online at the Los Lunas Schools website.


Los Lunas Schools is no longer using the Get On The Bus link to register students for school bus transportation.

Parents will now have to go to the east side or west side bus compounds to register, bring a valid photo identification card and proof of residence that matches the student’s address in PowerSchool.

The transportation department will be on site for various school registration days. For more information, call the Los Lunas Schools Transportation Center at 866-2147.

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Anna Padilla, News-Bulletin Staff Writer