Bears are back to school with some changes

Estancia schools have made some changes as they start the new school year. The most significant change is the new superintendent Cindy Sims. 

Sims previously worked for the Moriarty-Edgewood School District for over 20 years. Her education philosophy is focused on creating a learning environment “where joy abounds and children have the encouragement, support and structure to succeed.”

She said she “never thought she would leave Moriarty,” and also said, “I am privileged to have been adopted into the Estancia community, and am so proud of the hard work that went into place getting our year off to a great start.”

Sims said that the district has increased its focus on mental health. The school district provided “trauma training” for the staff and hired an additional counselor. Sims said that the mental health focus is about having “purposeful and intentional conversations about mental health with the students.”

The school also has some new teachers this year. Maria Theresa Torres is the new first-grade teacher; Brenda Summers is the new sixth-grade teacher; Bobby Olsen, Albert Lovato and Bonnie Bernal are new special education teachers; and Martha Smith is the new seventh- and eighth-grade teacher for Social Studies. Additionally, Christine Jaramillo has joined the staff as mental health counselor.

Sims said Estancia schools are fully staffed this year. Other changes that the school has brought in are dual credit classes in Health & Science, along with Agriculture, through Eastern New Mexico University.

A course called College Success, offered to seniors, serves as a college orientation; it helps students learn to manage time, manage a budget and prioritize assignments.

Milton Harbert is teaching Agricultural Sciences, Large and Small Animals as well as Agricultural Leadership classes for the dual credit. Master mechanic, welder and certified teacher Mark Marquez, is offering new elective classes to students this year, which include wood shop, welding, carpentry and auto shop. According to Sims, the new electives have been popular with the students.

The district also created the Estancia PreK Program, which is free to all 4-year-olds. The program is four days a week and focused on developmentally appropriate skills and experiences which help children to grow and prepare for kindergarten, she said. 

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