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New Mexico expands community school model

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SANTA FE — The Public Education Department has issued 50 grants totaling $6.6 million to schools across New Mexico to plan for or to implement the community school strategy in the 2021-2022 school year.

The latest round of funding brings to 109 the number of grants issued since April 2019, when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law the New Mexico Community Schools Act. Last year, 29 grants were issued totaling $5.2 million.

“New Mexico continues investing in the community school strategy because we know that academic success for many students requires an integrated focus on all their needs, which partnerships with community agencies and local government can provide,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “This strategy works, and we’re grateful to the governor and the Legislature for recognizing that and funding this important initiative.”

Funding for these grants comes from $10.3 million appropriated by the Legislature and $3.7 million from the federal government for school improvement. 

Community schools are existing schools that implement specific strategies to provide students with whatever they need to be academically successful, often by leveraging community resources. In New Mexico, the community school strategy is intended to improve the conditions for learning, which should lead to increased attendance and graduation rates, among other outcomes.

Each community school identifies its own needs and capacities, which may include on-campus health and dental clinics, after-school programming, deep engagement with families and community organizations, and collaborative leadership and practices.

These strategies are effective in any school but are especially designed to meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in high-poverty schools. The community school model aligns with New Mexico’s response to the Yazzie-Martinez consolidated lawsuit over education equity.

Schools that receive planning grants are eligible to apply for three additional rounds of implementation funding if grant requirements are met annually. If each grant recipient fully implements the community school model, New Mexico will have 54 federal and state-funded community schools in three years -- up from 33 now.

Grants for the 2021-2022 school year include 21 planning grants,  first-time awards ranging from $32,000 to $50,000:

ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • Del Norte High
  • East San Jose Elementary
  • Edward Gonzales Elementary
  • Helen Cordero Primary
  • Mark Armijo Academy
  • Reginald Chavez Elementary
  • Truman Middle
  • APS Charter: ACE Leadership High
  • APS Charter: Albuquerque Sign Language Academy
  • APS Charter: Gordon Bernell 

CENTRAL CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS

  • Newcomb High

LAS CRUCES PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • Alameda Elementary

MORIARTY-EDGEWOOD SCHOOLS

  • Moriarty Elementary

PEÑASCO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT

  • Peñasco High

SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

  • Kearney Elementary
  • Milagro Middle
  • Nina Otero Community

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS:

  • Truth or Consequences Middle

STATE CHARTERS

  • Albuquerque Bilingual Academy
  • School of Dreams Academy (Los Lunas)
  • Taos Academy Charter

The remaining grants went to schools that previously received an implementation grant and are now in either year two or year three of implementing the community school strategy. Those implementation grants were for $150,000 each. Three community schools funded with school-improvement funds continued their $1 million award for a period of two years . (A complete list is available here on the Community Schools page on the Public Education Department website.)

Information from the New Mexico Public Education Department.