Alibi V.27 No.17 • April 26-May 2, 2018 

Newscity

Program to Improve High Schools Under Way

The News Monkey

The Public Education Department has invited 10 New Mexico high schools to participate in a new, federally-funded program aimed at increasing graduation rates and student performance.

The newly developed New Mexico High School Redesign Network is offering 10 schools a chance to redesign their curricula, improve teacher development and gain assistance in restructuring efforts. The invitation was given to high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent.

The three-year program will require participating schools to follow a set of “principles and practices,” according to a press release from PED. The 10 schools who were offered the opportunity are: West Mesa, Belen, Bernalillo, Cuba, Española Valley, Rocinante, Miyamura, Gilbert L Sena Charter, Health Leadership and Las Montanas Charter high schools.

The state will be using $4 million in federal funds for the program over the next three years. The High School Redesign Network is the result of a partnership between several states and Johns Hopkins University. The program launches in May.

N.M. Dems Elect Chairwoman

The Democratic Party of New Mexico elected Marg Elliston of Corrales as chairwoman of the state party.

According to the Los Alamos Daily Post, Elliston was elected by the party's State Central Committee—a group of Democratic Party members from across the state who participate in party planning—last week at the Truth or Consequences Civic Center. Elliston served as chair of the Democratic Party of Sandoval County for five years. She will serve as state chair through the rest of the current term, which ends in 2019.

Elliston will be replacing Richard Ellenberg, who resigned from the position last month amid controversy over his handling of sexual harassment allegations against a union leader. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Ellenberg questioned the legitimacy of sexual harassment claims leveled against union leader Jon Hendry, a move that was criticized by state Democrats. Ellenberg apologized for how he dealt with the complaints, saying in a letter to the NMDP’s central committee that he wished to “learn and grow” and be “an advocate and ally in the future.” Earlier this year, Ellenberg publicly apologized for his reaction when former Doña Ana County Commissioner John Vasquez was accused of sexual harassment.

WIPP at “New Normal”

Officials with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant claim the facility is working at a “new normal” for the first time since it reopened last year.

Current Argus reports that WIPP leaders gave status updates concerning the facility's operations at a town hall meeting last week at Carlsbad City Hall. At the meeting, President of Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) Bruce Covert told those gathered that the facility had returned to “normal operations.”

The facility is licensed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste produced by research and weapons development sites across the country. According to Covert, WIPP currently receives around seven to eight shipments of waste per week. Officials say they wish to increase that amount to about 14 shipments per week in the future.