The Body

My State!

2nd Grade Project

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Project Based Learning

Walking down the hall on Friday, I was inspired by the work seen on the walls, particularly outside the 4th grade classroom.  That class has been working on physiology and there were large class designed posters with bodies drawn onto butcher block paper.  Drawn on each body were different organs displaying systems of the human body.

 I was on my way to the 2nd grade classroom as I had received an invitation from the class to visit their projects on U. S. states.  Upon entering the classroom, I bear witness of a second grader with a giant block of cheese on his head.  While there was much to see, the cheese head was unavoidable.  Carter was displaying Wisconsin and each student had done a cleaver job of representing their state.  Each student stood next to his or her project, talking about key components of their state.

Having seen the students intensely focused on drawing the human bodies in 4th grade during the course of the week and the excitement in the 2nd grade students as they proudly presented their states as mini experts, it was evident that project based learning was inspiring learning opportunities for our students.  Great work!


John Paul Taylor’s 97th Birthday

On September 24th, J. Paul Taylor will turn 97 years old.  Oh, the wisdom!  We will have the honor of celebrating his birthday, presenting him cards, song and eating cupcakes for celebration.  Monday or Tuesday, your child might ask you to bake/acquire cupcakes to bring to school on Thursday morning to help us celebrate Mr. Taylor’s birthday. We are truly honored to have our school named after this individual who has spent a lifetime as an educator and pursing social justice for many.


Games Night

On Friday, August 11, the Parent Advisory Council hosted a games night at the school.  It was widely attended and many students were captured having a great time.  PAC, nice work and thank you all very much for creating a safe and fun event for our students and families outside of the regular school hours.  We can’t wait for future events.



On Monday, we will take advantage of the significant astronomical event as a learning opportunity.  Each student will have a chance to observe the eclipse.  We’ve acquired over 100 glasses for our student to wear so that they can safely observe this rare event.  Make sure you ask your kids what they learned about the eclipse!


Open House

On Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:00pm, you will have an opportunity to visit teachers.  I will give a short presentation at 5:30 followed by an open opportunity to stop by your child’s (or children’s) classroom for a short visit with the teacher.  We hope you stop by!


Barns & Noble Book Fair

And, to end the week with a touch of additional great news, the school raised $1,315.75.  Special thanks to the many teachers, students and parents who helped with the Barns & Noble Book Fair event.  Special thanks to Ms. Stevens for her time and organization!

Family Fun Night!

August 11, 2017

Tonight!  -- JPTA Family Game Night (5:30-7:30pm)

Looking for a way to have fun with your family and get to know the JPTA community?

Join us for pizza, chips, desserts, drinks, and GAMES!

Head to the cafeteria, then explore and play games throughout the building.

Food available for purchase from 5:30 - 6:30. Games until 7:30!

Hosted by JPTA PAC.


Music for 4th thru 8th Grade

If you have arranging for your own instrument, disregard the following!

Tomorrow I’ll travel to Albuquerque to pick up instruments; students will have them on Monday.  If you’ve not yet paid, please try to do so by early next week.  In the meantime, for those who have let us know, we will pick up your instrument.  Students will not be able to take their instruments out of the building until accounts are paid. 

Points to consider:

  • We need the full year’s payment up front (this is the down side of renting thru the school). My form is still a little confusing, but we’ll improve in the future.
  • I made an error when I added the gross receipt tax to the monthly amount. I did not update the 10 and 12 month costs.
  • Viola and Violins will need shoulder pads. Our music teacher has recommended sponge pads which are $5 each. We’re picking up extra so you can get one from the school if needed.

Students needing instruments:  Click here for the rental form (also attached in email). 


Dear Parents,


This letter is J. Paul Taylor Academy’s formal notification to you that we plan to use a long-term substitute teacher for music. This occurs when a teacher without the necessary license is in a classroom for over 4 weeks.  We have had two short-term subs and Mr. Villabona will be starting the first part of September.  After 4 weeks in the classroom without his music teacher’s license, he will be considered a long-term substitute teacher. 

Mr. Villabona has his Master’s in music from Penn State. I consider us very fortunate to acquire such an accomplished teacher, as was Mr. Arreola.  Mr. Villabona will be a licensed substitute teacher and plans to seek his music license with the Public Education Department.  Depending on timing, his music license may not be intact prior to being classified as a “long-term substitute teacher.”

Please contact me with any questions regarding this issue.



Eric B. Ahner

Executive Director

August 4th, 2017

Important information for the week of August 7th through the 11th.


Monday, we will have our music substitute teacher who will bridge our time from now until our full-time teacher arrives back in the country.  Ms. Erin Espinosa has taught many of our students’ lessons and will be here on Monday.  Bring your instruments!

Students needing instruments:  Click here for the rental form (also attached in email).  JPTA has been working with Robertson and Son’s to create a school-based rental program. Please see the form to determine if you wish to use us or find your own renter.


School Calendar (Click Here for link to Updated PDF Calendar)

Please note that we will have two parent/teacher conference this year in place of four.  We hope to increase attendance by providing two full days where you can meet with us.  Thursday meetings will start mid-morning and go later into the day and Friday meetings will essentially follow the regular school day for meeting times.  More details as we approach our first P/T conferences on October 12th and 13th.


From Our Parent Advisory Council:

Parents, please join us for our next PAC meeting - Wednesday, August 9th at 6:00pm in the JPTA Media Center.


JPTA Family Game Night, August 11th, 5:30-7:30pm

Looking for a way to have fun with your family and get to know the JPTA community?

Join us for pizza, chips, desserts, drinks, and GAMES!

Head to the cafeteria, then explore and play games throughout the building.

Food available for purchase from 5:30 - 6:30. Games until 7:30!

Hosted by JPTA PAC.


July 28th, 2017

 Music Program

Beginning August 7th, we will have Ms. Erin Espinosa substitute teach until Mr. Villabona arrives as our full-time teacher.  While this has been an area of challenge, I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m very relieved that both instructors are strong with string instruments, allowing us to continue our orchestra program.

Students needing instruments:  I will make it a priority to get a pricing/information packet together this weekend to help those of you who need instruments know how to proceed.  We plan to us Robertson and Sons in Albuquerque.  If you wish to rent on your own, you certainly can do so.  The rental entities that I know of require a credit check and bill monthly.  The school will not require a credit check; however, we will require the full year payment up front to avoid unexpected costs.


Drop off and pick up

I must say that drop off and pick up times are going much more smoothly this year.  Thanks for all who have changed their practices either through the procedures or via a conversation with staff.  The two areas we still need a little more work:

  • Please use the drop off lane; don’t drop off in front of the school in the morning!
  • When picking up your walker, please park and wait south of Court Ave. A few parents are waiting next to Alma de Arte which is much better than in front of the school, but this tends to creep closer and closer to the school!


Barns and Noble

Need books?  This weekend, the school is hosting an event at the Barnes and Noble at the Mesilla Valley Mall on Saturday and Sunday.  We hope you will stop by and stock up on reading material for yourself, your kids or for future gifts! …just a thought.  Either my wife or I will be reading a Dr. Seuss book to younger kids at 11:00am on Saturday.

Facebook Link: <<click here>>


Opening of School Tomorrow!

JPTA Families,

 Welcome back, and for those new to our community, welcome to J. Paul Taylor Academy!  I think we have a really good thing happening here and we’re excited to kick off our 7th year as a public charter school serving students in Las Cruces.


As a welcome, some of our parents are doing a meet and greet, “Coffee Talk @ Drop.” This event will run from 7:15 until 8:15.  So, if you wish to learn more about the school, ask questions from other parents…, this would be a great opportunity to do so.  You can see this on Facebook -

In the event you arrive early for Coffee Talk, please keep your child with you until 7:30, at which time you may bring them into the building.  We have no staff on duty before 7:30am!!, but I’ll be around to say hello.

As this event will challenge parking for the morning, please park in the half of the lot nearest Alma d’ Arte, along the road SOUTH of our school or on Armijo (along the fence of the playground that is essentially the back of the school).


Drop Off

Drop off and pick up is an operation!  Expect things to be a little more hectic the first few days and please be patient.

Because we don’t have a bus system, we have A LOT of activity during these times.  To help with this, it’s extremely important to follow our protocol for pick up and drop off.  I’ve attached our procedures and I ask that you read them, even if you feel pretty familiar with these.  In the meantime, here are some key elements for tomorrow’s drop off:

  • Drop off NO EARLIER than 7:30am. Aim for 7:30 to 7:50ish on the north side of the building in the drop off lane. The “first bell” rings at 7:55am at which time students get into class lines in the playground area to get ready to go into their classrooms.
  • Only the car at the top of the drop off lane who is with the staffer can have their kid exit the vehicle FROM THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE VEHICLE.
  • No passing on the inside left of the drop off lane; wait for the car in front to exit. We’ve had near misses with kids getting out from the left side of the vehicle and also with cars pulling out nearly colliding with the passing vehicle.


New Staff

Hopefully over the next few days, you will have an opportunity to meet these fine new additions to our school community!

Stephanie Sweet-Art

Jamie Sells-PE

Angie Alday-Kitchen

Mayra Diaz-Education Assistant

Janet Palmer-Education Assistant



For returning families, you may have noted a missing program staffer above.  We are in the process of hiring a new music teacher, but we are experiencing challenges in doing so.  We have an extremely talented individual from Venezuela who we are interested in, and who is interested in JPTA. Unfortunately, his visa is not active until September.  We are looking for ways to expedite the process and will keep you posted on this progress.



Eric Ahner

Executive Director

May 19, 2017

Remember that all updates and much more info is available on our website!

Mr. Ahner’s Updates


Here we are with one week of school remaining. It’s so hard to believe that it’s May and the year is coming to a close. It’s been a good year and I am very grateful to be a part of the J. Paul Taylor Community. Thanks for being a part of our community; we have a great school!


Library Books

Please send any library books back to school by Wednesday to help us retrieve as many books as possible in a timely fashion.  Check with your child to see if he or she currently hold any books to be returned. 



We have about 20 yearbooks left. If you are interested, please purchase one from the front office for $20.


NMSU Summer Opportunity for Students

Students in grades 3-8 have an opportunity to apply for the NMSU Summer Think Tank. See brochure.

Link to Think Tank Brochure


Lunch payments

Please help us out by ensuring your lunch account is paid and current. We will send the final statements on Monday, May 29th.


JAAM Fest Update

Wow, what a great event. This year the JAAM Fest raised just shy of $12,000. A sincere thank you to everyone who helped to execute the event and to the many who participated. This will help us in supporting many of our special programs and activities, especially our arts program.


Link to Next Year’s Calendar

The 2017-18 school calendar is available online for those interested in downloading and posting on your frig. Do parents still do that?

PDF Calendar Link

Google Calendar Link