Westside schools:
3 bond-issue schools may have a shorter year

       The possibility of the school year ending early for three Westside schools has been discussed by the District 11 Board of Education, and is on the agenda for its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 27.
       The schools are Bristol and Washington elementaries and Holmes Middle School, each of which has a large amount of capital improvements scheduled next summer stemming from the voter-approved 2005 bond issue. The board has informally discussed a plan to end the year for those schools in early May. To accumulate the necessary number of classroom hours, there would be longer school days until that time.
       Whittier Elementary student Lakota Fasthorse, 8, was honored during at assembly at her school this week by Connie Chavez of El Paso-Teller 911.
       “She was with her grandmother who was having an asthma attack,” Chavez said. “She found an adult to call 911 and saved her grandmother. She did a great job getting the information to the caller so that the responders knew what to bring in.”
       Sanders Chiropractic, 2812 W. Colorado Ave., recently donated $655 to West Middle School.
       The money will be used to help cover costs that some students may have trouble paying, such as for sports or field trip fees, according to Eric Hamilton, director of the school's SAIL program. The original intent had been to help out SAIL (which serves gifted/talented students), but the funds are being made available to any West students, he said.
       Sanders raised the money by giving free adjustments to regular customers, who each then donated $15 to West.
       “They came to us and offered, and we were very thrilled to have them,” Hamilton said.
       Brenda Holmes-Stanciu, a kindergarten teacher at Midland Elementary, joined an Earthwatch Institute research team in the Pantanal region of Brazil this July. Sponsored by an educator fellowship from the Ford Motor Company Fund, she joined researchers collecting data on reptiles, amphibians, and two otter species.
       The Pantanal ecosystem has a high density of freshwater habitats and species and is often described as South America's Wetland Jewel. Information gathered will be used for conservation and management purposes in this and other similar regions.
       “I had a unique experience of searching for toad-faced turtles in salinas (salt water lakes),” Holmes said. “Their necks were incredibly long and they have very unique faces.”
       She will be presenting programs to the students in her school and to various groups, including the Starsmore Discovery Center in the Cheyenne area Saturday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.

From a press release