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Linking Communities and Schools

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

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Across the country, it’s increasingly clear that traditional education models aren’t working for many students. In response, many schools are shifting how they operate in order to meet the changing needs of students and communities.

The most widespread example of this idea is the community school. Such schools connect families with resources and give parents the tools to support their children in their education. That means linking families to health services, fostering family engagement, and offering extended learning programs outside normal school hours for both students and adults.

Data collected from these kinds of schools nationwide show reduced truancy rates, more parental engagement, and higher reading and math scores. New Mexico passed a community schools act in 2013, but it remains unfunded. So could we improve New Mexico’s education rankings and the well-being of our children through these kinds of models?

In this month’s show, we’ll talk with educators, community leaders and community coordinators. Community leaders include State Senator Michael Padilla, Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson and Albuquerque Public Schools Administrator Kristine Meurer, executive director of student, family and community supports at Albuquerque Public Schools. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE is provided in part by a new, 2-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“Our students come to the table with a lot of different things beyond not being able to add and subtract.”
Marco Harris, Principal, Highland High School

“Our schools are the hub of the community, they’re the heart of the community and people see it as a refuge, they see it as a place to go to get help.”
Peggy Candelaria, Principal, Manzano Mesa Elementary School

“If we can drop the dropout rate to under 10 percent, we’re going to experience a 700 million dollar a year savings to every taxpayer in NM. I’ll take that investment any day of the week.”
Michael Padilla, state senator

“You have to wrap yourself around the whole child and that’s part of what a community school does.”
Kristine Meurer, exec. dir., student, family and community supports, ABQ Public Schools


Community Participants

Robert Baade
Director, Robert F. Kennedy Charter School
President, South West Educational Partners for Training, SWEPT
www.rfkcharter.com
About Robert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujvvTFPrvRQ
About RFK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bJ5APsheHg

Peggy Candelaria
Principal, Manzano Mesa Elementary (APS)
http://manzanomesa.aps.edu/
Prior to becoming principal at Manzano mesa, Peggy taught at Sandia Base Elementary School and Algadones Elementary School. She says that “being a principal is hard and exhausting work! We DO make differences in the lives of our students, and the community which we serve.” “Manzano Mesa has phenomenal teachers! It’s a great place to be everyday. Our motto is “Together We Can” and we really believe that.”

Janyce Cardenas
Community Engagement Coordinator
YDI – Elev8 Program
www.ydinm.org
Janyce Cardenas facilitates health literacy and advocacy work at Wilson Middle School, which is a YDI-Elev8 New Mexico community school. Ms. Cardenas uses Wilson’s school-based health center to spark students’ interest in pursuing health careers. To combat childhood obesity she supports the expansion of Wilson’s gardening program and youth-led service learning initiatives. She tries to ensure that all endeavors respect families’ cultural diversity.

Marco Harris
Principal, Highland High School
http://highland.aps.edu
Mr. Harris was born in Santa Barbara, CA and studied at the University of New Mexico, He began his career at Kennedy Middle School in Albuquerque at a 6th-8th grade Social Studies teacher, and Special Education and Language Arts teacher.
He worked at Wilson Middle School as an Assistant Principal and became principal in 2008. This year he is principal of Highland High School.

Aradeli Ibarra
Mother and RFK Student
Aradeli and her two sisters all attend RFK Charter High School. She enrolled after she failed to pass the GED acceptance exam and is determined to succeed. She hopes to earn a license as an early childhood educator and start a childcare business.

José Muñoz
Executive Director of ABC Community School Partnership
www.bernco.gov/ABC_Community_School_Partnership
José has been working tirelessly to scale up community schools since 2012. A former professional football player, José has a long history of working on behalf of youth, especially those in greatest need. José supports a unique partnership between Albuquerque Public Schools, the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque Business & Education Compact, and the United Way of Central New Mexico. José works with many partners including the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (which adopted a Community School Resolution), the University of New Mexico, and the Central New Mexico Community College.

McKane Sharff
School Based Health Care Program Manager, UNM Dept. of Pediatrics, Div. of Adolescents
www.envisionnm.org
McKane worked with children and families for 10 years. Her background includes health policy and research. As a program specialist for the School Based Health Center Improvement Project (SHCIP), she provides quality improvement coaching and support to School Based Health Care programs across New Mexico. She has a special interest in helping SBHCs gain Patient-Centered Medical Home certification and adapt to the changing health policy landscape.

Moneka Stevens-Cordova
Director Community Engagement Center, Health Leadership High School
Former Director of NM Youth Alliance
www.healthleadershiphighschool.org
Link to Generation Justice Documentary about Moneka: www.generationjustice.org/2014/12/09/moneka-stevens-cordova

John Whalen
3rd Grade Teacher, Manzano Mesa Elementary
http://manzanomesa.aps.edu/

Leadership

Wayne Johnson
Bernalillo County Commissioner District 5
* Member/Former Chair, ABC Community School Partnership
Commissioner Johnson has been involved in several important Economic Development initiatives. He led the County’s first trade mission to a foreign country, visiting Israel in the Spring of 2013 with members of the City, County and State Economic Development offices, business owners, and representatives from the University of New Mexico, the Albuquerque International Trade Alliance and the New Mexico Israeli Business Exchange. The group met with government officials, tech incubators, research centers and facilitated meetings for Israeli companies interested in doing business in New Mexico.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, Commissioner Johnson attended Sandia High School and the University of New Mexico, where he worked his way through college in television news as a news photographer. He graduated with a degree in University Studies with an emphasis in Computer Engineering and Film/Television, and is currently the president of Vista Media, a family-owned business started by his mother, Nancy Johnson, in 1975. Vista Media produces everything from commercials to documentaries to web content.

Kristine Meurer
Executive Director for Student, Family and Community Supports Division, APS
* Board member, ABC Community Schools Partnership
www.aps.edu
Position: Executive Director of Student Family and Community Supports
Kris is the Executive Director for the Student Family and Community Supports Division, Albuquerque Public Schools. Dr. Meurer has over 37 year experience in education and health promotion. She has been in her current roll with APS for 2 year. However, she was working as a health educator and athletic trainer in APS in the 1980s. Prior to coming to APS, Dr. Meurer was with the Public Education Department for 22 years.

Senator Michael Padilla
District 14 (South Valley Albuquerque)
Senate Majority Whip
www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislator_details.aspx?SPONCODE=SPADI

Padilla’s primary focuses as a legislator are early childhood education and intervention, jobs and economic growth, water management and conservation, and child safety and protective services. Padilla was the first freshman senator in his class to move a bill through the legislature in his first year as a senator, and was the first senator in his second year as a senator to move a bill all the way through the senate. In 2014, Padilla was appointed chairman of the science, technology, and telecommunications interim committee.

Padilla grew up in Los Padillas, a rural farming community, that his family helped settle over 150 years ago, and is located inside of the district he represents. Padilla has been a lifelong member of the democratic party of New Mexico, serving as a precinct chairman, ward chairman, county central committee member and state central committee member.

Impact of Early Learning

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

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This month, PUBLIC SQUARE continues the discussion on how to improve child well-being in New Mexico, with a look at the impact of early learning, on Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 pm on Channel 5.1, hosted by Megan Kamerick. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE is provided in part by a new, 2-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Numerous studies indicate that there are many long-term effects on children who attend quality preschool or pre-kindergarten programs (Pre-K). Those include gains in achievement and social emotional development, less grade repetition and special education, and increased high school graduation rates.

New Mexico was ranked 25th in access to pre-kindergarten programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Nationwide, New Mexico has been one of the most aggressive states in boosting funding for early childhood programs.

However, advocates say there are still big gaps, with a little over half of eligible children not in Pre-K or preschool programs. Will they fall behind and stay behind?

In this program, PUBLIC SQUARE brings together parents, teachers, advocates and people who run early learning programs. Community and state leaders include Pat Dee with U.S. Bank, who is convening business leaders on this topic, as well as State Senators Linda Lopez and Craig Brandt, and Jami Jacobson, executive director of curriculum and instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“The needs are so great, the poverty is so high we are in a dire situation. If we’re talking about protecting the future, the future is going down the tubes.”
Veronica Garcia, executive director, New Mexico Voices for Children

“Brain development starts in the womb and we need to have students — who are coming into school so that we can help them be successful — who have healthy brains.”
Jami Jacobson, executive director of curriculum & instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools

“I think people don’t understand the connection between economic development and early childhood learning. It’s probably the wisest money we can spend early on in a child’s life.”
Pat Dee, community relations executive, U.S. Bank

“There’s consensus that we do need and should be focusing on early childhood. But the devil is in the details.”
Linda Lopez, State Senator

“Our community, and our state, is not organized from a child- and family-centered perspective.”
Lois Vermilya, director, University of New Mexico Family Development Program


Community Participants

Marisol Atkins
VP Operations and Program Development – United Way of Santa Fe County
Former CYFD Deputy Secretary
www.uwsfc.org

Annittra Atler
Adobe Acres Elementary School Principal, Early Childhood Educator
http://adobeacres.aps.edu

Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Ed.D.
Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children
Former Cabinet Secretary of Education
www.nmvoices.org

Betty Lansdowne
Consultant, Center for Development and Disability, Preschool Special Education, Christina Kent EC Center Board Member
Preschool Special Education Consultant to School Districts in New Mexico
www.cdd.unm.edu

Joy Losey
Director, Covenant School of Rio Rancho President of New Mexico Child Care & Education Association
www.nmccea.com
www.covenantschools.com

Karina Munoz-Ramos
Mother of two

Raquel Roybal
People for the Kids Board Member
Mother of 4

Dona Sosa
Pre-K Teacher at Bel-Air Elementary School
Taught kindergarten for 10 years
http://bel-air.aps.edu

Lois Vermilya
Director, UNM Family Development Program
Co-Chair ECAP (Early Childhood Accountability Partnership)
http://fdp.unm.edu
missiongraduatenm.org/ECAP

Leadership

Senator Craig Brandt
Rio Rancho School Board (4 yrs)
Member Senate Education Committee
www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislator_details.aspx?SPONCODE=SBRAN

Pat Dee
Community Relations Executive, U.S. Bank
Volunteer – Albuquerque Reads (Kindergarten reading tutoring program)
www.usbank.com

Senator Linda M. López
Single mom
www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislator_details.aspx?SPONCODE=SLOPE

Jami Jacobson
Executive Director, Curriculum & Instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools
www.aps.edu/curriculum-and-instruction