NM Community Schools Newsletter

August 2020

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome
  2. Community Schools Implementation Grant Updates
  3. Community Schools News Spotlight
  4. Community School Coordinator Corner
  5. Messages From Our Partners
  6. Calendar of Events
  7. Recurring Events
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Welcome New Mexico Community Schools Community

Community–it does take a village. As I read the August 2020 Newsletter, I am struck by a recurring theme. In David Greenberg’s It Takes a Village, an educator in Las Cruces enumerates the wide array of people across a spectrum of interests, skills, and proclivities who each play critical roles in developing and ensuring healthy, happy, motivated, nourished, self-actualizing learning communities. Counselors, social workers, administrators providing social-emotional and IT support; family and youth support teams identifying and distributing care packages to migrant and homeless families; alliances with business and city partners creating ever-stronger networks of community support.

I was reminded here too in the Child Care resources that child care is the back bone of our economy. It is an important aspect of our social health and wealth that is too often overlooked. And from Nancy Rodriguez: health removes barriers to learning. Myriads of interacting threads that come together to create healthy, vibrant communities. And this recognition—that it is networks of collaborators, absolutely intent on making things better and striving towards creating communities made by and for communities—continues throughout the newsletter. Community schools are hubs from which our larger communities thrive and are made whole.

When communities are special. Maria Zuñiga, from Doña Ana speaking in the Community School Coordinator Corner, describes a community school as a special place where all—students, parents, staff, the greater community—all have a voice and are working together to share ideas to improve and remove barriers to doing so. Her creative, collaborative actions of absolute caring have focused the larger community and provided much-needed services, supplies, and—I imagine—social pride.

¡Si se puede! It is the depth and breadth of the networking, the coming together, the striving together for the greater good of the community that comes across in the articles I read here. You humble me and make me so very proud to be a part of the incredibly important work you are all doing. Every day.

Thank you.


Katarina Sandoval, Deputy Secretary

New Mexico Public Education Department (NM PED)

Community School Implementation Grant Updates

SY2020-21 Funding

  • Due to the 2020 Special Legislative Session, 14 out of the 29 (48%) SY2020-21 implementation grant recipients received budget authority via OBMS. These schools have approved budget authority in alignment with statutory requirements. Therefore, these schools have budget authority to begin spending as of July 1, 2020.
  • Award letters are coming soon! NM PED is working diligently on getting all grant award letters to schools as quickly as possible (estimate time: mid-September). We appreciate your patience.
  • All Community Schools' award letters will have a period of performance from 7/1/2020 - 6/30/2021; therefore, allowable and allocable expenses will be reimbursable as of July 1, 2020.
  • For those award recipients without current approved budget authority, you are encouraged to keep funding essential staff to the Community Schools Implementation grant, such as Community School Coordinators, through Operational Funds until you have established budget authority through the Community Schools Implementation grant. Please consult with the NM PED Community Schools for any other questions.

New Mexico State of Community Schools Survey

Thank you to all schools who completed the NM PED survey detailing their unique responses to the COVID-19 public health crisis! Your feedback will inform NM PED policy, services, and supports in the future, including the start of year convening. Responses, in aggregate, will also be included in a report on the state of Community Schools in New Mexico to be released this winter.

Community Schools News Spotlight

Community School Coordinator Corner

Meet Maria Zuniga, Doña Ana Community Elementary School CSC

Maria Zuniga began her work as the Community School Coordinator at Doña Ana Community Elementary School in August 2019 after years of serving as programs manager for Children's Reading Alliance. "What makes a community school special," she says," is that it's a place where not only students, but their parents, staff, and the community have a voice. It's a place where we get together and we share ideas on how do we improve learning for our students. We ask, we listen, and then we come up with plans on how to remove those barriers that exist." In her first months at the school she was able to survey more than 1,000 family members and school staff members as a part of the effort to identify the school's strengths and areas for improvement.

In March 2020, Maria organized an impressive launch event at the school which was attended by hundreds of families, dozens of community partner resource booths, many inspiring guest speakers, and even a mariachi band! In the months that followed Maria responded to the COVID-19 public health crisis by showing students that their school was still there for them. Tapping into Doña Ana's community resources, Maria and other staff created over 300 easter eggs with special messages for each student and delivered over 200 school supply packs in partnership with 21st Century STEM Outreach. To address technology challenges among her students, Maria also organized free internet for 32 students and the distribution of 65 tablets and laptops. "A lot of our families are struggling: financially, there's a lot of food insecurity," she says, "We've been preparing care packages for our families. We know that right now it's very difficult for families to afford things like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. So we've been putting that together and delivering that to families...Everyone just has a lot of questions and at Doña Ana we just want to be there to support them at this time."

In the future, she says "parents and students at Doña Ana can look forward to hearing from us a lot more often. We want to increase our communication and really be there to listen. We want them to share their thoughts and their ideas -- we want them to be part of learning...What we want to do at Doña Ana is we really want to include everyone: our students, our staff, their families, business owners, and really the entire community to be a part of our community school and provide us with information and input and just really be there to shape the education of our students."

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Shout out a Community School Coordinator in your district! Email Rachel Padilla with a picture and shout-out at rachpadi@gmail.com

Messages From Our Partners

Child Care Resources for Remote Learning

The New Mexico Public Education and Early Childhood Education and Care departments along with the Regional Education Cooperatives have prepared this digital flier (download also available below) with links to updated child-care information, including:

  • A database of child care options, searchable by county, ZIP code or school district;

  • Information about how child care centers are staying safe;

  • Eligibility information for child care assistance and an online application form;

  • Information on how to become a temporary child care provider for friends, family and neighbors.

Families can also call Child Care Resource and Referral at 1-800-691-9067 or visit ECECD’s “ Am I Eligible? ” site to apply directly for child care assistance.

“To those needing child care or supervision, you are not on your own. We’re working hard to determine the extent and geography of those needs and to match families with qualified providers,” said ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. Schools that have already opened are teaching remotely through Labor Day, when the state will begin phasing in a hybrid model in which students study remotely on some days and in the classroom on others.

“New Mexico families that never needed child care before may need it now due to remote learning. Through this partnership, the state is helping solve that problem so children get the supervision or care they need at any age,” said PED Secretary Ryan Stewart.

“Child care is the backbone of our economy and it is critical that families have the information and resources they need to navigate these challenging times,” said Andrea Fletcher, project lead for the Regional Education Cooperatives.

A Word on School Health from Nancy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care

School health is a critical component of the community schools model. Addressing the unmet healthcare needs of students and families is part of the integrated student supports pillar and helps remove learning barriers. Your school may have a school-based health center (SBHC), a school nurse, school health assistant, school social worker, all of these, or none of these. As you look at building collaboration with your school health partners or with community providers, the New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care can help.

Please visit our website: www.nmasbhc.org for a directory of SBHCs, for health education tools, training opportunity announcements, and contact information for staff who can answer your questions and guide you to resources.

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Calendar of Events (Save the Dates!)

New Mexico Community School Coordinator Meet & Greet

Wednesday, Sep. 9th, 2pm

This is an online event.

The purpose of this meet and greet is to build a community of support among the community school coordinators in New Mexico. We've heard in your survey responses that networking is important to you, so we wanted to provide this forum for you to interact with your colleagues.

The Zoom Link is: https://zoom.us/j/93757950395. If you know other community school coordinators in New Mexico that did not receive the calendar invite sent by Marangellie, please feel free to forward them the outlook calendar invitation.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

STARS Data Conference (Reporting Requirements for Community School Data)

Thursday, Sep. 10th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Thank you for proposing STARS changes in the spring for the current school year!

We incorporated some of the proposed changes into the SY2020-21 reporting requirements for community schools. We will be focusing on the STARS collection and reporting changes, especially those related to the Expanded Learning Time and Opportunities pillar.

Please ensure your STARS Coordinator attends this event. Register via this link. You must have a STARS identification to register.

Community Schools Fall Convening

Tuesday, Sep. 29th, 9am to Wednesday, Sep. 30th, 12pm

This is an online event.

The theme of this statewide community school conference is "Serving Our Communities in a Time of Constant Change."

*This is a required convening for teams of leaders from each grantee site.

Teams will include, at least, one Community School Coordinator, one representative of the school or district administration, and one member of the community-based leadership team (e.g., partner, parent, teacher leader). Multiple members of each of the three categories above are allowed, up to five representatives per school.

By the end of the convening, members of Community School Implementation Teams will:
  1. Know what supports will be available to them throughout the year;
  2. Be able to advance their practice within the four pillars of the community school model, and know which resources can support that action; and
  3. Feel empowered, motivated, and supported as part of the Community School movement in New Mexico.

Please save the date and stay tuned for more details.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Fall Into Place Convening

Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 9am to Friday, Oct. 23rd, 5pm

This is an online event.

This annual conference will be held this year virtually from October 20-22 and we will have a special post-conference specifically for community schools on October 23. The conference will address social and emotional learning, how OST programs empower students to be leaders in their community, and STEM. There is also a pre-conference specific to 21st Century Programming on October 21st.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Recurring Events

NEA Community Schools Blended Learning Cohort

The NEA Community Schools Blended Learning Cohort is a FREE and OPEN professional learning community of community school practitioners. The Network includes online/virtual learning modules, monthly virtual cohort meetings, and in-person convenings as soon as we can do that again!

You can access the Cohorts by creating a free edCommunities login here and then searching for Community Schools Cohort 2, which is aimed at getting started, the needs and asset assessment, and engagement, and/or Cohort 3, which is aimed at problem-solving, implementation, and improvement science. Access the learning modules by creating a free login on the Learn Upon Platform here.

The Next Cohort 2 Virtual Monthly Meeting is Tuesday, September 22nd at 9:30PM Mountain Time!

If you have questions, please feel free to contact David Greenberg at GreenbergDavid5@gmail.com.

NM Community Schools Coalition

The 2019 New Mexico Community Schools Act calls for NM PED to appoint a New Mexico Coalition for Community Schools. This Coalition was launched in 2019, and has representation from community school experts and practitioners from around our state.

The Coalition's last meeting was August 27th; discussion items included the data and policy subcommittees, funding for community schools during the 2020-21 school year, and the Community Schools Fall Convening to take place in late September.

Want To Help With Our Next Newsletter?

Please join our Statewide Communications Team: Email Marangellie Trujillo at Marangellie.Trujillo2@state.nm.us and CC: GreenbergDavid5@gmail.com with your contact information! We need your help!