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Reimagining the way we ensure student success in schools

New Mexico High School teacher Annie Hernandez.
New Mexico High School teacher Annie Hernandez.


As a high school math teacher, I witness the struggles my students face daily in continuing their education because they do not feel supported by many adults in their life. Education remains a critical topic in the U.S., but little action is being taken to make improvements. COVID-19 has brought an enormous shift in education, affecting both teachers and students. Teaching online was a massive challenge for me and my students during the pandemic. The distractions at home and that state of the  world contributed in a significant way to the  decrease in student participation and motivation. Students and teachers had to adjust the ways in which they  interacted and collaborated with their peers.

When I joined New America High School in Albuquerque, I noticed a big difference in my students. City-born students come with a higher defense system, making it hard to connect with them. They feel the need to defend themselves and set themselves in their own protected world because of their life experiences . With  all the negative things happening in the world today, I can always use training on how to support my students.

This is why the New Mexico Dream Team led an initiative to assist educators in setting up a space to re-imagine our educational system and how it may best serve students who have historically been barred from it. The 8th Educators Summit is a conference hosted virtually and in person for those concerned about New Mexico's educational system to come together to learn about, develop, and discuss how we can work together to ensure that all NM students, including those who are undocumented and DACAmented, receive the education they deserve. 

We will receive issue-based sessions throughout the summit to raise awareness of the specific obstacles that undocumented students experience in addition to their immigration status, such as their intersection as people of color, low-income, first-generation,  and LGBTQ+ students. They will give us a deeper comprehension of how these aspects interact to amplify the inequities children experience throughout their school lives.

The 8th Educators' Summit will uplift student voices, allowing educators to hear directly from students, other educators, and local community members on what needs to be done to develop an educational system that benefits all students and equips them to succeed. We have come a long way, and by applying the knowledge learned at the summit, we can continue to safeguard our students and ensure that they are prepared for success.

For some students, their classroom is their only safe place, and we should actively seek trainings and resources to help them thrive. As adults we must be consistent, kind, and listen to our students to create a safe environment for learning. 

We must show all students that they can create the life they deserve to live by completing and advancing their education. I want to help their families through difficult situations by being there for them and demonstrating to our students that we can help reshape the future. Please join me in supporting the important work of the NM Dream Team here:https://www.nmdreamteam.org/.

Annie Hernandez is a High School teacher in Albuquerque, NM and a supporter of the NM Dream Team.

Annie Hernandez is a High School teacher in Albuquerque, NM and a supporter of the NM Dream Team.