Sandia Prep's "Inside Scoop" Newsletter - Summer 2020


Sandia Prep's PREParation Newsletter for incoming sixth-graders

Just for you! // Summer 2020



News & Information for Incoming Sandia Prep Sixth Graders

What’s Inside

Meet Our Teachers

Learn the Lingo

Advice from Former 6th Graders

Tips and Tricks for Next Year

Meet Ms. Hochrein



What an exciting year this has been! Through the application process, I’ve

had the opportunity to learn about you - your hobbies and interests, the

aspects of school you enjoy, and how you spend your free time.

Some of you may be concerned about not knowing your classmates. Since

you are coming from so many different schools - more than 30 - it is true

that most of you will not know each other. But don’t worry; Sandia Prep will

be a brand new experience for all of you. Just think what an adventure it

will be and what fun you’ll have learning new things, participating in new

activities, and making new friends! Have a great summer!

- Ms. Fitzpatrick, Assistant Head of School for Enrollment Management

Page 1


From the beginning,

I knew this was

the place for me. I

hope that new kids

really enjoy their

experience and our


Andy ’26

Rising Sandia Prep 7th-Grader

Welcome to Sandia Prep!

We’re happy to have you as part of our school. You may

have questions about what it will be like when you attend

Sandia Prep. That’s why we put together this newsletter -

just for new sixth graders like you.

Look for fun facts about your teachers, advice from

students who have already attended sixth grade here,

information about homework, our mascots, and much


We want you to feel comfortable and excited about

attending Sandia Prep. If you have any questions, feel free

to email me at I’m looking

forward to seeing you!

- Ms. Hochrein, Assistant Head of School for Middle School



Ms. Kozikowski

“Enjoy your

sixth grade year

because it is only

so long and it

goes much faster

than you think!

Remember that

everybody is new

to this too, and

that the Prep

community makes

every effort to

help make that

transition as easy

as possible.”

Meredith ’26

Rising Sandia Prep 7th-Grader

You may have met Ms. Kozikowski during

your campus visit. She teaches 6th grade

Language Arts.

This will be Ms. Koz’s 26th year at Sandia

Prep, including her time as a student here!

She graduated from SPS in 1991. Ms. Koz

grew up in Madanales, New Mexico, a small northern town near Abiqui.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Spanish from

Eckerd College. Her hobbies include African dance and spending time with

her family.

Ms. Koz says, “My favorite thing about teaching is the way middle school

students surprise me with their humor and insight. I learn so much from

them. I love Sandia Prep, because I feel it’s a healthy place for students

and teachers alike. I go home each day with a feeling of gratitude for the

opportunity to be a part of the school.”

Mr. de León

Mr. de León is Prep’s Director of

Innovation and teaches 6th-and 7thgrade

DareDevil Design, as well as

Entrepreneurial Studies for upper school

students. Mr. de León is a first generation

American and comes from a long line of

entrepreneurs and innovators.

He started his journey at Sandia Prep in 2000, where he taught all levels

of Spanish. During the last few years, Mr. de León has shifted his focus to

STEM and expanding Prep’s makerspace and design-thinking courses.





Ms. Hochrein

“It is a privilege and

an honor to be able to

work with Prep families.

Sandia Prep showed me

everything education

should be. I’m happy to

be able to give back to

this community, a place I

call my second home.”

Ms. Hochrein is Sandia Prep’s Middle School

Head and has taught at Sandia Preparatory

School since 2010. She has taught both middle

and upper school math courses here.

Ms. Hochrein attended the University of

New Mexico, graduating with top honors

and receiving her bachelor’s degree in math/

education. She has lived in New Mexico almost

all of her life. Ms. Hochrein’s husband, James,

is a manager at Sandia Labs, and her daughter

Madi graduated from Prep in 2018.


When you go to live in a new country, the best

way to adapt is to learn the language. Going to

a new school is similar; there are new words you

need to know.

Your Advisor

Every student at Sandia Prep has an advisor. This

person is a teacher who will help you throughout

the year and be the first point of contact if your

parents/guardians have a question or concern.

You’ll meet regularly in a group of 10-12

students called an “Advisory” to talk about

your academic plans and progress. You’ll also

discuss things that are happening in school and

in the world around you.

Assistant Heads of School and Dean of Students

The Assistant Heads of Schools’ responsibilities include working with teachers, meeting with parents/guardians, and helping

students with issues or concerns. They are like school principals, but more focused on their grade levels. If you want to change

a class, you’ll need to work with your Head (Ms. Hochrein) to make sure the change is possible. Our Dean of Students, Mr.

Jeffries, makes sure that students are honoring our standards of behavior. These are listed in the Student-Parent Handbook,

which will be made available to you before school starts.

Middle school production

of The Lion King Jr.


Sandia Prep has a required assignment

planner for all middle school students.

It contains a school calendar, middle

school study skills guide (prepared

specifically for Prep students), important

phone numbers, and helpful homework

and research tips. Teachers will work with

you in classes to help you utilize your

planner. Planners will be made available

toward the beginning of the school year.


Be sure to regularly visit your PrepNet Portal


Your login information will be sent to you

before the beginning of the school year.

On your PrepNet Portal you will find:

• School calendars

• Curriculum guide

• Your class schedule

• The Student-Parent Handbook

• and much more!

Prep teachers make

learning fun with

projects such as

the Cell Olympics

in science class and

Mardi Gras projects

in French.

Sabrina ’26

Rising Sandia Prep 7th-Grader



Ms. Nakigan

Ms. Nakigan teaches middle and upper school art and has been at

Sandia Prep since 2014. Ms. Nakigan’s main goal as a teacher is to

be supportive and inclusive, while providing a fun and challenging

classroom environment. During her free time, Ms. Nakigan loves the

outdoors and enjoys hiking, camping, and sketching outside. She also

loves writing and spends much of her free time reading good novels.

She says, “Prep is a wonderful school full of amazing opportunities,

inspiring teachers, and new friends. Your sixth grade year will be an

incredible experience, and I am looking forward to watching all the

many ways you will learn and grow. Teaching is very rewarding for me

because I get to share my passions with young people and learn from

the unbelievably talented community at Prep. I am very happy that you

are joining our community, and I can’t wait to learn more about you.”

“I get to make music with great students for a job!” That, says Mr. Van

Dam, Prep’s Jazz Band Director and Computer teacher, is what makes him

passionate about being an educator. After teaching at the University of

New Mexico, along with private lessons and marching band instruction,

he found that he enjoyed teaching much more than he expected. “I was

presented with the opportunity to teach at Prep in 2016 and have never

looked back.”

Mr. Van Dam

The Chicago suburb native (Bolingbrook, Ill.) earned his bachelor of

music degree in performance (trumpet), with a minor in jazz studies from

Indiana University and his master of music degree in performance from

the University of New Mexico.

Mr. Van Dam currently performs in multiple bands in Albuquerque and

around New Mexico. When he’s not teaching or performing, you can find

him outdoors motorcycling or with his faithful Siberian Husky, Kaiya.

Elliott ’26

Rising Sandia Prep 7th-Grader

My advice for incoming students

is to stay on top of your work and

to write everything in your planner.

Trust me, it will make everything much

easier. When you get to Prep, try your

very best to make friends, be yourself,

and play to your strengths.




What are Sandia Prep’s Lions and Unicorns?



Will I have a lot more homework?

That’s difficult to say, since you come from

many different schools. We can tell you that

you won’t be bogged down by homework.


Lions and Unicorns came from the original

Sandía School seal, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s

Through the Looking Glass. They are mascots

for two teams within the school and have been

a school tradition for more than 50 years.

The amount will be appropriate. Sandia

Prep takes into account that students need

to balance homework and after-school

commitments and activities. The best advice

we can offer as you transition to Prep is to talk

to your teachers and advisors about questions

and challenges.



What are the Five A’s?

Sandia Prep’s “Five A’s” represent the five

areas that, together, create the school

experience and well-rounded students:

Academics, Arts, Athletics, Activity, and




Where do I go if I have a question?

If you have a question involving a class, first

talk with your teacher. If you have any other

type of question, speak with your advisor.



What is Sandia Prep’s school mascot?

We are the Sandia Prep Sundevils!

Sandia Preparatory School

532 Osuna Road NE

Albuquerque, NM 87113

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