NM Community Schools Newsletter

November/December 2020: Pursuing Equity Across New Mexico

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome from Ms. Kara Bobroff
  2. Building a High-Quality, Equitable System of Education in New Mexico
  3. Centering Equity for your Community
  4. Policy Update
  5. Community Schools 2021 Legislative Flyer
  6. New Mexico Coalition for Community Schools
  7. Community Schools in the News
  8. New Mexico Partner Spotlight
  9. Community School Coordinator Corner
  10. Announcements
  11. Calendar of Events (Save the Dates!)
  12. Recurring Events
  13. Gratitude
  14. Dedication

Community Schools: An Equity Strategy

Welcome to this issue of New Mexico's Community Schools Newsletter.

A Strategy for Change. As we engage in the essential work of Equity, the Community Schools model is a strategy for change. By deepening the work of Community Schools to intentionally engage the community in community-led solutions—students, families, tribes, non-profit organizations—we can cast a vision for innovation and change that is needed to meet the needs of our students and families. Across the world—when a committed group of individuals come together collectively to discuss and generate their best ideas that are grounded in the lived experience of students, families, and educators in order to improve outcomes for students—we see our impact deepen and true transformation take place. As part of the NM PED Community School's and Equity Council Initiatives, a community-led school can be created and grown to meet the needs of New Mexico's students and families. New Mexico's community school leaders and their communities are at the forefront of that change.

The Possibilities. It is both inspiring and strategic that the Community Schools focus—and their Equity Councils lift up—solutions that bring people together to envision what is possible. This is a movement that can change the trajectory for New Mexico's youth. When people closest to the work in districts, charters, and schools, and those directly impacted by the work, our students and families, are working together, anything is possible. This is our moment as an entire state to envision the possible and work to make it a reality.

Kara Bobroff (Navajo/Lakota)

Founder of NACA and NACA Inspired Schools Network

Executive Director of ONEGEN

New Report on Building a High-Quality, Equitable System of Education in New Mexico

Following the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit requiring more adequate and equitable school funding in New Mexico, State leaders and stakeholders have begun to reimagine the system of education. As part of this process, the Learning Policy Institute was asked to conduct research on the challenges facing education in the state and to identify evidence-based policies that could build a high-quality, equitable system able to provide a culturally and linguistically responsive education for the state’s diverse learners.

This study has yielded a set of recommendations that are evidence-based, locally informed, and resonant with the goals of New Mexicans. It focuses on five fundamental elements of a high-quality education system: 1) meaningful learning, 2) knowledgeable and skillful educators, 3) integrated student supports, 4) high-quality, early learning opportunities, and 5) adequate and equitably distributed school funding. Community schools are key to providing an equitable education to all New Mexico students.

Find the full report here!

Centering Equity for your Community

Community schools, when implemented effectively, mitigate the inequalities on student opportunities and academic and life outcomes.

Policy Update

Happy Holidays!

The Legislative session is just around the corner, set to begin on January 19, 2021. The policy committee has taken our show on the virtual road. We were able to present and have conversations with the Tribal Education Alliance and Transform Education New Mexico. The primary message we were sharing was how community school strategies, if implemented well, can be vehicles of equity in the education system. It was encouraging to see community school expansion listed in the Transform NM legislative platform. We are pleased to announce that community school support is also in the Teacher Union platforms as well. Community Schools are also a part of President Elect Biden’s education package as well. So a tidal wave of momentum is coming!

The big news came with Secretary Ryan Stewart's presentation of the Public Education Department’s budget. PED has new plans for funding the community school strategy around the state—that funding possibly coming from the “Reform Fund” and becoming a stacking item with extended learning time. It is a statement that a sustainable funding strategy is being undertaken by the Governor and PED for the community schools initiative. Also included in the presentation to the LFC was the notion of the “Family Income Index”. This would allow access of Equity Index funds to be dispersed at the school level to help ensure the funds benefit the populations the funds were originally meant for. We know there are a lot of details to get squared away between now and when/if this funding becomes available. We know it will take community school and budget experts from around the state to figure out these details.

For more information on Secretary Stewart's proposal, please find the full presentation here and a recording here.

Community Schools 2021 Legislative Flyer

This flyer developed by community schools leaders to provide background information on NM community schools and to communicate our legislative and administrative priorities for 2021.

Share the flyer generously with your community partners, school leadership, and other stakeholders.

NM Coalition for Community Schools

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 Tuesday, December 15. The Coalition welcomed our Public Education Department Secretary Ryan Stewart to the monthly meeting. After Coalition members outlined our progress and future goals related to Community Schools in New Mexico, Secretary Stewart addressed the Coalition. He underscored the importance of centering communities in support of schools as critical local institutions. The Secretary also emphasized the importance of telling our stories of success. We greatly appreciate the Secretary’s time and willingness to engage in a dialogue about the future of Community Schools in New Mexico, and all the PED staff who work night and day to cultivate our statewide movement. Also during the meetings, we heard report outs from the data/impact, communications, and policy subcommittees and also discussed Coalition membership and strategic planning.

Community Schools in the News

New NM PED Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity, and Transformation

Dr. Vickie Bannerman joined team PED as the new Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity, and Transformation on December 14th. Dr. Bannerman served as a principal of Albuquerque Public School’s Volcano Vista High School, the state’s fifth largest high school. Previously, she was principal at Wilson Middle School in Albuquerque. She serves on the APS Principals’ Association executive board and as an Equity Advocate for APS.

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bannerman on board. As an action-oriented, education leader, she will help fulfill the critical mission of the PED of ensuring that a quality education is provided to every child in New Mexico.

New Mexico Partner Spotlight

Disability Rights New Mexico

Since the landmark ruling of the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit, New Mexico has been working to figure out exactly how to ensure that ALL New Mexican children receive the opportunity to obtain a quality education that prepares them for career or college. The court ordered the state to take appropriate measures to fully support low-income, Native American, Hispanic, English language learner, and special needs students in our schools. The community school framework at its core is a vehicle for equity, and equity is a key piece of the CS collaborative leadership pillar. We pursue collaborative leadership by bringing diverse partners and community representation to our community school councils.

With this in mind, Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) has been an important partner to community schools. Like many partnerships, they have taken on various strategies in trying to find the perfect fit for each school. The mission of DRNM is to protect, promote and expand the legal and civil rights of persons with disabilities. DRNM is an independent, private nonprofit agency operating federally-mandated and other advocacy programs in pursuit of this mission. Our partnership started with a high school principal trying to coordinate communication with the parents of students with disabilities, resulting in the high school's administration working with them to look at the overall discipline of students. This partnership has since grown to include trainings focused on students' Individualized Education Plans (EAP), and accommodations. A new strategy is the recruitment of parents of students with disabilities to participate in community school councils (site-based leadership team). Recently a parent I spoke to shared the following powerful statement, “The community school strategy really appeals to me. Many times, us as parents of students with disabilities do not feel connected to anyone at school or community. This definitely helps us.”

The Nurturing Center

This is the story of a collaboration that changed and grew stronger as COVID-19 hit.

When we think of COVID-19, the challenges are so great that we naturally focus on its negative impact. This is a story about a collaboration between a CS and a school-based community partner that evolved and grew stronger in response to Covid-19.

This is a story about constant change to respond to our students and families’ needs. Our first year working together does not look like what we are doing now. COVID changed everything and we had to change our structures and programs in response.

Community School Coordinator Corner

Las Cruces Public Schools Welcomes A New District-Wide Coordinator of Community Schools

Amanda comes to the Community Schools coordinator position with abundant relevant experience and passion for education and community. She has held an NEA seat on the Las Cruces Partnership Board for Community Schools as the Chair of the Policy and Practice Committee as well as various leadership positions on boards across the state and within NMSU. Additionally, Amanda has taught as an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work for NMSU since 2011. She is passionate about social justice, equity, and working towards healthier and more inclusive communities in our city and state.

Amanda is excited and honored to join this movement to sustain and advance community schools in Las Cruces. Her priority is to remove the systemic barriers to equality in education and our community, within and through the shared leadership framework.

Amanda is looking forward to building partnerships with NMSU and other community schools across the state, focusing on cultural and linguistic equity, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable groups: the undocumented, LGBT, homeless, migrant, and others who face challenging and intersecting social conditions that cause educational, economic, and social inequities.

Welcome Amanda! We are pleased and excited to have you join the Las Cruces Public Schools as our district-wide coordinator of Community Schools.

Santa Rosa High School Welcomes New Community Schools Coordinator

Santa Rosa High School welcomes Adrienne A. Mathewson as the new Community Schools Coordinator.

Adrienne has been with us since October 2020 and brings with her a palette of varied and relevant skills. She holds a master’s degree in Library, Information & Science from San Jose State University and is a certified librarian in New Mexico. This is not Adrienne's first coordinator position. She was a volunteer coordinator for Ambercare Hospice and for the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice. She has also worked as editor-in-chief for the San Jose State University’s Research Journal, for Bibliography.com, and as a volunteer digital team member of Librarians Without Borders. With two grandchildren in the Santa Rosa School District, she has a vested interest in building sustainable community school initiatives.

Welcome Adrienne Mathewson to Santa Rosa High School. We look forward to our joint venture.

Shout Out to Seven New Coordinators in Albuquerque!

Albuquerque Public Schools and the ABC Community School Partnership have officially welcomed seven new Community School Coordinators, who are critical to continuing the Community School model in their respective schools. The coordinators will serve as a bridge between school and community and as champions for racial equity, authentic engagement, and the Community School model's four pillars. They will be moving forward with parent engagement initiatives and strengthening the relationships between parents and staff.

It is exciting to have these seven new coordinators on board at our APS schools. They will receive the support of the district, the ABC Community School Partnership, and the community school coordinators in the district.

W E L C O M E!

Claudia Benavidez: Washington MS

Marisa Cruz: Jimmy Carter MS

Ana Dabria: Valle Vista ES

JoAnne O'Connel: Cleveland MS

Monica Rimbert: Kit Carson MS

Edna Torres-Chaparro: Kennedy MS

Jessica Ward: Wilson MS

Shout Out to Gabriela Sandoval, Community School Coordinator at Southern Heights Elementary School!

Hobbs Municipal Schools warmly welcomes Gabriela Sandoval, Community Schools (CS) Coordinator for Southern Heights Elementary.

Gabriel's work to support students and families during this unprecedented time has been stellar. While Southern Heights is a new community school just learning the CS strategy ropes, the challenges have only served to spur Gabriela's creativity, innovation, and leadership in planting roots and growing community partnerships.

During the pandemic, Gabriel has pulled in parents to address their children's and families' needs and continues with them, ensuring those essential and beneficial services are provided and needs are met. Importantly, parents do feel comfortable contacting Gabriel and sharing their situations.

Gabriel is organized and efficient in updating the community on any school news. With the increased use of computers by students during virtual learning, she assists parents with technology issues—troubleshooting, exploring programs with them, explaining processes that ensures our students will be successful during remote learning and beyond.

Gabriela always goes the extra mile for our families, students, and staff of Southern Heights Community Schools. What she provides far exceeds the minimum of what is required to help support our community. She is a person of much value to us all. Great job Gabriela!


Super Connector Pipeline for All Community Schools

What do you need? The NM PED Community Schools and Extended Learning Time Program staff have started a Google document for all Community Schools to share the needs of their local communities. What does your community need: non-perishable food, diapers, feminine products, medical supplies? Use the Google Sheet to list items that your community needs. In listing items, don't forget to provide your contact information. This document will be shared with others in the state. This is a two-way street. Here, partners and generous individuals will connect with schools to donate and meet those needs.

If you are a partner, there is a partner tab to add the services you provide; this is a way to connect partners with schools and vice versa.

We are excited about this new venture. Our hope is that this Google Sheet will be useful as we move into winter!

Introducing the NEA-NM Education Justice Fellowship!

NEA-New Mexico welcomes you to apply for the pilot cohort of its Education Justice Fellowship, to begin in January 2021. Education Justice Fellows will work with NEA-NM—

the New Mexico Community Schools Statewide Network—and various community leaders, decisionmakers, local organizers, and educators to develop and act upon grassroots strategies for advancing education justice in the state and nationwide. Across two, six-month modules, fellows will have the opportunity to learn about social and racial justice issues, build leadership skills, make connections, and develop education justice projects to implement in their communities.

The fellowship concludes with a year-end conference showcasing fellows’ education justice projects, with legislators, activists, organizers, and community members in attendance. The application is quick and easy to complete, and fellows will receive a $1500 stipend per semester for their participation. The NEA-NM Education Justice Fellowship is open to all members of NEA-NM, and special consideration will be given to aspiring educators, early career educators, and ESPs. The application deadline is December 31, 2020 at 23:59.

To learn more, join NEA-NM for its Education Justice Town Hall on December 17th, 2020 at 4:00PM!

Please refer to the flyer below for a link to the application form. Send additional questions to Dave Greenberg at dgreenberg@neanm.org

Calendar of Events (Save the Dates!)

Meet, Greet, and Eat for Community School Coordinator

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 12-1pm

This is an online event.

The purpose of this meet and greet is to continue our work building a community of support among the community school coordinators in New Mexico. We were so pleased with the success of our last Meet & Greet in September, and we are looking forward to seeing you all again this month!

If you know other community school coordinators in New Mexico that did not receive the calendar invite sent by Marangellie Trujillo, please forward them the outlook calendar invitation.

Community Schools' Impact and Data Training

Wednesday, Jan. 6th 2021 at 1-2:30pm

This is an online event.

What impact does all the good work you and your CS program have on students, families, your community? What information should you be collecting? Once collected, how do you analyze its signficance?

This training is for Community Schools Coordinators, offered by the PED funded Community Schools. Please join us via this link.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

NM Coalition for Community Schools Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 27th 2021 at 1-3pm

This is an online 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 January 12th, 2021 at 11:15AM - 12:45PM.

The Next Cohort 3 Virtual Monthly Meeting is January 20th, 2021 at 11:00AM - 12:30PM.

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

ECHO for Community Schools: A Community of Practice in New Mexico

What. The goal of ECHO for Community Schools (CS) is to provide effective, ready to use, and versatile tools and strategies in a virtual community of practice.

Why. To increase expertise and collaborative leadership for the 2020–21 school year.

Who. These CS teams include CS coordinators, principals, teachers, and community members from the site-based leadership teams. All are encouraged to attend each ECHO community of practice session but at least one representative of each of the 29 PED funded community schools is required to participate.


  • Session 3: Using Data for Continuous Improvement Inside and Outside the Classroom
Thursday, January 14, 2021 from 3:15–4:45pm

Please submit a Case Presentation by Monday, January 11th using this link.

  • Session 4: Integrative Student Supports: Beyond Wrap-Around Services
Thursday, February 11, 2021 from 3:15–4:45pm

The Resource Library is available to everyone and includes ECHO videos and documents related to each session.


Practice It.

Gratitude allows us to recognize good in our lives and to recognize that the sources of that good are usually close at hand. As simple as it may seem to be thankful, it usually takes a conscious effort and intention to make it a daily occurrence.

We are grateful for all of you. Thank you, thank you for all your hard work despite the challenging times we are living, the constant changes we are experiencing, and the tremendously LARGE workloads you undertake daily. Thank you for being part of the Community Schools movement. Thank you for caring and serving all students of New Mexico.

Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for your own happiness, It is the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul. —Amy Collette

Practice gratitude daily. It's good for you.

GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World | Empty Hands Music | nimo feat. daniel nahmod


Sylvia Garcia—We Dedicate this Newsletter to Our Friend and Colleague

With a heavy heart, I write the sad news of our friend and colleague’s passing. Sylvia Garcia dedicated 30 years of her life to her passion for educating the bilingual youth of Las Cruces. She spent many of those years as an active member of NEA at the local and state level.

From a father, who was very active in his plumber’s union. Sylvia understood that unions are beneficial to the entire family. Her father instilled in her the knowledge that unions create a just work environment and provided people a collective voice in the workplace, supporting workers and their families.

Sylvia's upbringing prompted her to join the teacher's union. Her role as a union member changed throughout her more-than 20 years of service.

Her journey as a union member began at Jornada, and—throughout—she was given the guidance of Helen Davis, Kathy Porter, and Betty Patterson. She became an Association Representative (AR) for teachers who worked in her building, providing them with tools and NEA information crucial for teacher success.

Sylvia spent innumerable hours recruiting, training, and lobbying for teachers, so they too could reap the benefits that a union provides. Ms Garcia was a dedicated woman, playing many union roles in her career. She was a board member, chair of NEA Minority Caucus, participated in delegate council, and became the chair for the Southwest Region of NEA.

Sylvia expressed her passion for children and families through her advocacy for justice and equity in the communities she served. It is evident in the many remarkable and telling stories that she would go the extra mile for what she believed in. She was the kind of person who strove to make her students, friends, and colleagues smile. When there was an opportunity to help, you could always count on Sylvia; she graciously shared her time and resources.

Sylvia had love enough to share with everyone that crossed her path, and she gave it freely. You could depend on her to provide emotional support when needed; she gave really good hugs by the thousands.

Sylvia's parting words to everyone were, “God bless you, I’m going to pray for you,” and your heart knew she meant it. It was a privilege and an honor to know Sylvia, and one can only hope to walk the path of advocacy and activism that she paved for future NEA members. This is the legacy Sylvia Garcia leaves us. We miss her dearly.

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