School has Start Smart for kindergarteners

Program is at César E. Chávez, Central, Hermosa Heights elementaries

Mike Cook

Las Cruces Public Schools

LAS CRUCES – Thirty incoming kindergarten students were randomly selected to participate in a summer program of 25 additional full days of instruction at César E. Chávez Elementary School, said Principal Carmen Gallegos-Marrujo.

Start Smart K-3 Plus began July 5 and will continue through August 8, 2011. Kathleen Kelly Beatriz Pando are the teachers. The program is also taking place at Hermosa Heights Elementary and Central Elementary Schools.

Instruction is focused on literacy, math, oral language development and social skills. Students were assessed before the onset of the program to determine baseline academic levels.  The children begin their day at 7:55 a.m. with breakfast in the classroom and have lunch at 11:00 a.m. Dismissal is at 2:30 p.m., with  transportation provided to and from home.

It was set up to determine the cost-effectiveness of the K-3 Plus program in reducing the achievement gap for students. It will continue for four additional years. Parents form an integral part of the program, and receive monetary compensation for their children’s participation in the study.

Parents with children who will attend an LCPS kindergarten during the 2011-12 school year and who would like to participate in the program, which will continue for four additional years, can contact participating schools:


César E. Chávez Elementary, Principal Carmen Gallegos-Marrujo: 575.527.6022;

Central Elementary School, Principal Eloisa Solis: 527.9496;

Hermosa Heights Elementary: Principal Joe Mestres: 527.9530.

The program is being conducted through Utah State University, in conjunction with New Mexico State University, the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Office of Educational Accountability, said Gallegos-Marrujo. Public funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, with  in-kind donations from LCPS and other school districts. Private funding is provided by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust, the Education Collaborative Fund, the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In-kind donations also come from Pearson Publishing, Riverside Publishing and Brookes Publishing. Innovate+Educate New Mexico and Sandia National Laboratories also made contributions.






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