Category Archives: episode

Linking Communities and Schools

Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm on Ch.5.1
Original airdate:Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1
Take a Survey on Linking Schools and Community


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
About Robert:
About RFK:

Peggy Candelaria
Principal, Manzano Mesa Elementary (APS)
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
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
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
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
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
Link to Generation Justice Documentary about Moneka:

John Whalen
3rd Grade Teacher, Manzano Mesa Elementary


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
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

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


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

Annittra Atler
Adobe Acres Elementary School Principal, Early Childhood Educator

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

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

Joy Losey
Director, Covenant School of Rio Rancho President of New Mexico Child Care & Education Association

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

Lois Vermilya
Director, UNM Family Development Program
Co-Chair ECAP (Early Childhood Accountability Partnership)


Senator Craig Brandt
Rio Rancho School Board (4 yrs)
Member Senate Education Committee

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

Senator Linda M. López
Single mom

Jami Jacobson
Executive Director, Curriculum & Instruction, Albuquerque Public Schools

Improving Child Well-Being

Thursday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

Community Co-Producer: New Mexico Voices for Children

Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor, NM Voices for Children speaks with Jennifer Padgett, Deputy Secretary, Children Youth and Families Dept.

Founded in 1987 by a group of pediatricians, New Mexico Voices for is a nonpartisan, statewide advocacy organization. They work to create systems-level sustainable change that will improve the lives of New Mexico’s children. To accomplish that mission, they work with state and national lawmakers and officials to shape and implement public policies that are supportive of children and working families.

Because they use evidence–based advocacy, they conduct rigorous research and data analysis. NM Voices is the only nonprofit child advocacy organization in the state examining tax and budget policy issues specific to the needs of the poor.

We premiere our fourth season of Public Square with perhaps one of the most important and discussed topics: How do we improve New Mexico’s child well-being? With a long history of low rankings, this year New Mexico was ranked 49th in the country on child well-being by the Kids Count Survey. That translates into major costs as they grow up, including more teen pregnancies, dropouts, poverty and crime. What would it take to improve those numbers and ensure our children have a better future?

The impetus to focus more resources on children in their early years is steadily growing nationwide and in New Mexico as research on brain development reveals how crucial those early years are to building cognitive, emotional and social skills. State policymakers have steadily increased the amount of money going into early childhood programs, yet the percentage of children these programs are reaching remains small.

Even economists have argued this kind of investment yields returns as high as $18 for every dollar spent. So should the state marshal its resources by only making targeted investments in the kids at the most risk? Or should it pour far more money into this effort and make early childhood programs more universally available?

In this program, we bring together a family in need, advocates, and experts in early childhood for a candid, and often challenging, solution-based conversation. Community leaders include State Senators Sue Wilson Beffort, Jerry Ortiz y Pino, and John Sapien as well as Jennifer Padgett, deputy secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department, and Leighann Lenti, deputy secretary of the Public Education Department.

Join us for the premier of Public Square, where civic dialogue takes center stage: Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m. on PBS 5.1.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“This is the most important issue facing our state – what’s happening to our kids – and we’re taking a very incremental, slow, futile approach to what’s needed and we’re condemning ourselves to failure by this.”
Jerry Ortiz y Pino, State Senator

“What I don’t think we want to do is water down services for those who really need it.”
Sue Wilson Beffort, State Senator

“I don’t see the investment that matches up with what we already know about brain development.”
Dr. Andy Hsi, Director of UNM FOCUS program

“How bad does it have to get before we get motivated and generate the political will?”
Bill Jordan, New Mexico Voices for Children

“Our state has an epidemic of toxic stress. These adverse childhood experiences are delaying our children.”
Allen Sanchez, St. Joseph’s Children

Community Participants

Allen Sanchez

President/CEO CHI
St. Joseph’s Children

  • Operates the largest home visiting program in USA
  • Supporter of constitutional amendment for ECE
  • Advocate for children’s health issues– President and CEO St. Joseph Community

Mr. Sánchez was born in Belen, N.M. He was raised on a working cattle ranch. Allen received his Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Services from the College of Santa Fe, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy and a Master of Arts in Spirituality from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University in Rome.

Bill Jordan

Senior Policy Advisor/Governmental Relations
New Mexico Voices for Children

  • Background in public health
  • 16 years in child advocacy

Claudia Medina

J. Paul Taylor Early Childhood Task Force

For almost 20 years, Medina engaged in helping battered immigrant women find their strength and power, as co-founder and executive director of Albuquerque’s Enlace Comunitario. She is now serving as the Director of Pathways to a Healthy Bernalillo County. The mission of Pathways is Connecting underserved county residents with health care and other support systems and assisting them as they navigate through it; Coordinating services for the underserved residents to achieve positive individual-level health outcomes; and Assuring collaborative planning and improvement of our health care system.

The YWCA named Medina “A Woman to Be Reckoned With,” which honors an extraordinary woman each year as part of the YWCA’s annual Women on the Move Awards.

Dr. Andrew Hsi


  • Developed home visiting programs
  • Medical director of the FOCUS FIT early intervention program
  • Proud grandparent of a third generation New Mexican

Andrew Hsi, MD, MPH is the Principle Investigator of the FOCUS Early Intervention Program and Reflejos Familiares Project. He is also Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Dr. Hsi has focused on developing systems of care for children and families affected by prenatal alcohol and drug exposure, family violence and parental mental illness.

Dr. Sara del Campo de Gonzalez

UNM Hospital

  • Head of UNM Advocacy Program in Pediatrics
  • Pediatrician, Young Children’s Health Center
  • Mother of 2

Erica Stubbs

Early Learning Advisory Council Medical Services

  • Director of Children’s Services, Presbyterian Medical Services
  • Provider of Head Start, Early Head Start, Pre-K and home visiting services in New Mexico

Hailey Heinz

Senior Policy Analyst
UNM Center for Education Policy Research

  • Former public education reporter
  • Had first baby in June

Hailey Heinz currently works as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research, where her emphasis is on bringing data stories to life and making those stories meaningful for readers from all backgrounds. She holds a masters degree in political science, with an emphasis on public policy.

Before joining CEPR, Hailey was a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, where she covered K-12 education for four years spanning two very different gubernatorial administrations. Her reporting included the politics of education as well as the real-world implications of different education policy choices. Before taking on the education beat, Hailey covered crime at the Albuquerque Journal, and has past reporting experience on a variety of topics for the Boston Globe and the Anchorage Daily News.

Sofia Van Tassle

Saint Joseph’s Community Health

  • Mother of twins
  • Bachelor’s in Psychology
  • Native New Mexican


Jennifer Padgett

Deputy Cabinet Secretary
Children Youth and Families Department

  • Appointed by Governor Susana Martinez in October 2012
  • Former Crimes Against Children prosecutor

Leighann Lenti

Deputy Secretary
Public Education Department

  • Appointed by Governor Martinez in 2013
  • Over 11 years federal & state education policy experience

Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino

New Mexico State Senator, Dist. 12
D – Albuquerque

  • Retired social worker
  • Grandfather of 12 (ages 16 to 5)
  • Sponsored bill that created the Children’s Cabinet

Senator John Sapien

New Mexico State Senator
D – Albuquerque

  • Chairman Legislative Education Study Committee
  • Chairman Senate Education Committee
  • Small Business Owner

Senator Sue Wilson Beffort

New Mexico State Senator
R – Sandia Park

  • Member of LFC & HHS
  • Co-Sponsor of full day kindergarten bill
  • Numerous other early childhood bills

Access to Children’s Healthcare

Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.1

In New Mexico, about 9 percent of children do not have health insurance coverage. We all pay when children aren’t covered. These kids are less likely to receive necessary medication and more likely to experience a hospital stay that could have been avoided by seeing a doctor earlier. And healthier kids lead to more productive, healthy adults.

Ideally this situation would improve under the national Affordable Healthcare Act. There will be an expansion of the Medicaid program and a new health insurance exchange to help families purchase coverage. But will things get better?

On this month’s Public Square, we hear from mothers who have struggled to make sure their kids have coverage. And we talk with community and health advocates about the challenges in getting kids access to care.

Community leaders include State Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, State Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Albuquerque, and Rory Cobb, director of outreach for New Mexico Health Connections.

Join New Mexico PBS for a PUBLIC SQUARE, where civic dialogue takes center stage. Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. PUBLIC SQUARE is hosted & produced by Megan Kamerick.

Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:

“I was terrified that something would send us into a debt for a medical emergency we couldn’t handle.”
~Micaela Cadena, Mother and Policy Director, Young Women United

“There are 40,000 kids in NM who should be on Medicaid and who are not on the program.”
~Sireesha Manne, Attorney, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

“The process is so cumbersome. It’s not for lack of trying on everyone’s part to get those kids covered.”
~Rory Cobb, Director of Community Outreach, New Mexico Health Connections

“There’s no way to handle it. You just have to file the bills away and prepare when there is a chance to pay.”
~Lillian Sanchez, Mother with child on Medicaid

Funding for PUBLIC SQUARE was provided in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.