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Nm Districts 12 State Charters To Receive Planning Grants

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SANTA FE School districts and charter schools serving more than 95,000 New Mexico students will receive planning grants from the Public Education Department this summer to prepare their communities for extended learning time in the future.

The Legislature appropriated $21 million for the one-time planning grants for districts and state-chartered schools that were not ready to participate in one of three extended learning time programs in the 2022-23 school year. These grants can be used to fund additional professional development for teachers or to hold community meetings or organize focus groups to help determine which extended learning option fits a community best.

In the 2023-24 school year, when the planning grant awardees join those already offering additional instructional time, 232,000 New Mexico students 60% of total enrollment will be spending more time with highly trained teachers pursuing educational activities proven to enhance academic outcomes.

Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus, who held seven regional meetings with school leaders in February and March to urge participation in extended learning time programs, will present this information to the Legislative Education Study Committee meets next week in Alamogordo.

Steinhaus said he was gratified that 31 districts and 12 state charters applied for planning grants.

This table shows participation rates since the 2020-21 school year:

$21,000,000 $20,821,300


New Mexico Man Reunited With Stolen Native American Regalia

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For Ashkia Trujillo, the last few days have been a journey to find his stolen cultural treasures.

On Sunday morning, he woke up at a hotel in Albuquerque and found that his Native American regalia had been stolen. He is from the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

Since then, he has gone on a search to get the items back.

I was on my way to Grants. Somebody wanted to help and pass out my fliers there. When I turned around, you know, it was because I got that phone call, Trujillo said.

Trujillo received that call from his sister Micah. She told him the items had been returned to her after one of the coordinators for the Black Mesa Powwow got a call from someone who said they bought the items on the street for $400.

The reason why the guy said he wanted to buy it was because his mother collects Native American regalia and he wanted to give it to her to have. But when he found out that it was stolen, that’s when he wanted to return it, Trujillo said.

The regalia with deep family roots now sit again in Trujillos living room. But some of the items are not in their original condition.

What really hurt me was, you know, whoever took this broke my son’s bustle. It bothers me. You know, I put a lot of time into making this bustle. And this piece here was created by my father years ago when I was a little kid, Trujillo said.

Some of the items still missing.

Weeklong Celebration Of Teachers Begins Sunday

SANTA FE Teachers change lives, and during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 1-7, the Public Education Department invites every New Mexican to thank a teacher past or present for helping children attain the education and skills they need for happy, successful lives.

New Mexico teachers go above and beyond for their students every day, said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who signed legislation this spring raising the average pay for a New Mexico teacher to $64,000, top in the Southwest region.

A single teacher can make all the difference for thousands and thousands of students that is the immense power of education, that long-lasting change that educators make in a students life. I am so grateful to every New Mexico educator who has answered the call to educate, care for and advocate for their students, and I invite every New Mexican to join me this Teacher Appreciation Week in saying thank you to a teacher who has made a difference, Gov. Lujan Grisham said.

New Mexico has 22,286 licensed teachers, according to the last official count of the 2021-22 school year, but still had almost 1,000 classrooms statewide led by long-term substitutes because certified teachers were unavailable.

The Lujan-Grisham administration also hopes to lure more college students into teaching careers by:

Here are a few suggestions for expressing appreciation this week to a teacher in your life:


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Public Can See Now See How Esser I Esser Ii Funds Are Being Spent

SANTA FE The Public Education Departments interactive digital dashboard now allows the public to track how New Mexico schools are spending $488 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to support students amid pandemic-related learning disruptions.

The department launched the digital dashboard in September with data from the first round of relief funding and enhanced it this week to include round two .

The public needs to see that New Mexico and our schools are being good stewards of this important federal funding. This dashboard lets anyone track that spending dollar by dollar and see how its being used, as intended, to support our students in a variety of ways designed to offset impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said.

New Mexico and other states have now received three rounds of federal pandemic relief funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan in March 2021.

The appropriations are intended to support schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under each law, the appropriations flow to states and then districts and state-chartered schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund:

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Discussions Center On Improving Educational Outcomes For Native Students

ALBUQUERQUE Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state education leaders, and dozens of Native American leaders came together for the two-day Government-to-Government Summit this week.

Meeting face-to-face with sovereign tribal governments is a commitment that my administration takes seriously, said Gov. Lujan Grisham. Historically, our state has not done enough to ensure that Native students have equitable access to a robust public education. This administration will not stop pursuing every available avenue to make sure that every child receives a high quality and culturally relevant education. Real and meaningful government-to-government discussions are a vital part of our efforts.

The Government-to-Government and Indian Education Summit was held Wednesday and Thursday at the Pueblo of Isleta.

The Indian Affairs Department remains dedicated to fostering productive and innovative partnerships with tribal leadership, tribal education experts, families and state agencies as we work to strengthen efforts toward improving education for New Mexicos Native American students, said Cabinet Secretary Lynn Trujillo.

Dozens of tribal leaders, including 12 governors, six lieutenant governors and many tribal council members, school board members, administrators and education leaders were among the 133 people registered for the meetings. Together they represented 20 of New Mexicos 23 Native American communities.

The other governors in attendance were:


Nm Educators Gather To Learn About The Science Of Reading

SANTA FE More than 300 educators from around New Mexico gathered this week for the Public Education Departments Literacy and Humanities Bureau Summer Convening at the Albuquerque Convention Center to celebrate New Mexicos Year of Literacy and to learn how they can improve all students ability to read.

The department hosted representatives from more than 50 school districts and charter schools as well as national and local experts to share information about the departments structured literacy program, which is based on a theory of the science of reading.

On Tuesday during the event, Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus announced four Structured Literacy Model Schools: Vado Elementary School, Gadsden Independent School District Bell Elementary School, Deming Public Schools Arts Academy at Bella Vista, Clovis Municipal Schools and Mountain Mahogany Community School, Albuquerque charter school. The Structured Literacy Model Schools are exemplars in the state for implementing structured literacy in New Mexico classrooms. These schools will each receive a $50,000 grant and coaching support and will support teachers across the state who will be able to see these schools research-based literacy instruction in action.

Between breakout sessions, participants strolled the Comprehensive Literacy State Development/Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Gallery Walk, which showcased the work done at districts through grants.


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Final Rule Incorporates Comments From Parents Educators Stakeholders

SANTA FE The Public Education Department has adopted a rule to replace the states outdated social studies standards for public schools, concluding a months-long process involving hundreds of New Mexico stakeholders to update what students learn about the changing world.

The rule, which establishes academic content and performance standards for social studies for kindergarten through 12th grade, was adopted Feb. 10, concluding the 17-month rule-making process. The standards will not be implemented in classrooms until the 2023-2024 school year.

The adopted rule incorporates changes based on feedback received during a 45-day public comment period after the rule was first proposed Sept. 1, including 2,900 pages of written feedback and more than five hours of oral comments given during a public hearing Nov. 12.

We are incredibly grateful to the many New Mexicans who got involved in this important process. That includes the teachers from across the state who stepped up to write and edit the standards and the many parents and community members who provided valuable feedback that weve incorporated into this final, improved version, Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. Together, weve given our kids what they deserve, which are the highest standards possible.

While the state establishes standards that serve as a framework for academic instruction, local school boards and governing boards will determine how students achieve the learning goals.


Best Short Film Award Goes To Estela En El Mar

New Mexico announces free public college plan

These Deming High School students made a documentary that won top honors in New Mexicos inaugural student film festival.

SANTA FE The Public Education Department congratulates students from Deming High School who took home the top prize and hundreds of other students statewide who participated in New Mexicos inaugural student film festival.

Deming High School students won the Judges Choice Award for Best Short Film for the 10-minute documentary Estela En El Mar, which they wrote, directed, filmed and edited for the Film Prize Junior New Mexico student film festival. Another Deming High film, Deuce, won the Audience Choice Award in the same category.

The judges must have had an incredibly hard time choosing because these films were all so creative and so remarkable in many different ways, Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. What a brilliant way to expose New Mexico students to the collaborative, creative art of filmmaking and invite them to begin considering careers in this growing New Mexico industry.

The festival, held Saturday and Sunday in Española, featured 62 films from 38 schools in 16 New Mexico counties. More than 500 students participated over the past school year.

They poured their creativity and hearts into these films, and to me, theyre all winners, said Rosey Hayett, director of Film Prize Junior New Mexico.

In the middle school division:

A panel of industry professionals voted for the Judges Choice Awards in each division.


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Workshop Series To Help Families Caregivers Help Kids Learn To Read

SANTA FE Registration is now open for a series of three workshops to help families and caregivers learn strategies to help young readers improve their literacy skills at home.

The Public Education Department, in partnership with TNTP , is offering the virtual Family Literacy Academy, with sessions in Spanish and English, over February, March and April.

All workshops begin at 5 p.m. The first will be held Feb. 15 in English and Feb. 17 in Spanish and will focus on background knowledge and vocabulary. The second will be held March 29 in English and March 31 in Spanish and will focus on print concepts and fluency. The third, on April 26 and April 28 , will focus on comprehension.

Participants will get information, tools and strategies to help young readers in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. All sessions will offer breakout rooms by grade level bands to give participants targeted support for building literacy skills in the home.

Youll learn similar techniques to what your childs teacher is using to teach reading at school, but through fun strategies that will fit right into your daily routine at home, said Katherine Avery, the Public Education Departments director of Strategic Outreach. Teachers study the science of reading, but you dont have to have an education degree to apply science-of-reading strategies at home. Well get you started at the Family Literacy Academy.


Christopher Nunez Stunned As He Receives $25000 Milken Educator Award

LAS CRUCES For Sonoma Elementary School fourth grade teacher Christopher Nunez, education has been a part of his life since he was a young boy. Both Nunez parents teach in Las Cruces public schools, and when he went to college, he followed their footsteps and studied elementary education. Today, this family legacy of education was honored as Nunez was surprised at a schoolwide assembly of cheering students, appreciative colleagues, local dignitaries and media with the $25,000 Milken Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation.

The Awards will recognize up to 40 elementary educators in the 2022-23 school year. Over the past 35 years, more than $140 million in funding, including more than $73 million in individual Awards, has been devoted to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients careers.

Teaching often becomes a family affair as children grow up in homes that elevate the profession, honor the hard work it takes to be a teacher, and celebrate the gift of teaching the next generation of leaders, said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. Christopher Nunez saw this firsthand in his own family. Today, we honor him for his dedication to his profession and to his students. Congratulations, Christopher!

More About Christopher Nunez

More About the Milken Educator Awards:The future belongs to the educated.


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New Mexico Milken Educator Award Goes To Gabrielle Kahawai

SANTA FE New Mexico Public Education Department officials joined students and staff at a Santa Fe elementary school today to celebrate a third-grade teacher who became the second New Mexico educator in two days to receive a national teaching award that comes with an unrestricted $25,000 prize.

In front of cheering students and proud colleagues, Gabrielle Kahawai was presented with the New Mexico Milken Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation. On Tuesday, Loving teacher Tyler Finch was similarly surprised at a school assembly.

Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus, who attended both school assemblies and whose agency coordinates the Milken Award program to celebrate and honor outstanding teachers, described Kahawai as a dedicated, talented educator who didnt let the global pandemic keep her students from learning.

Gabrielle Kahawai has repeatedly shown a quickness to adopt new ideas and strategies, and her speedy pivot during the pandemic spread enthusiasm among both her third-graders and her teaching colleagues, Steinhaus said. She is the kind of teacher who inspires both children and adults to do our best. Thank you, Ms. Kahawai, for being a guiding light for all of us. You make us proud.

Kahawai served on Gonzales Community Schools site-based management team and helped create a literary fair for Gonzales younger grades. She coordinates the schools hiking club and has led students, staff and families on hikes in the Santa Fe National Forest.


Groundbreaking On A $300 Million Investment


GRANTS, N.M. After years of preparation, Bright Green Corporation is ready to begin groundbreaking on a marijuana growth and research facility. The groundbreaking is expected to take place on October 5 Bright Green is a company located in Grants, New Mexico, owning the greenhouse property off Sakelares Boulevard. On May 24, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Bright Greens $300M investment in high-tech cannabis manufacturing and research facility, the announcement, while a good outlook for the community economically, caught Cibola Countys elected officials by surprise, with leaders from Cibola County, Village of Milan, and City of Grants governments left wondering about the details in this project. Up until August 15, elected leaders in each of the countys governments informed the Cibola Citizen that they had not been contacted about Bright Greens investment.

What is Bright Green?

Bright Greens investment in Cibola County includes the development of a new facility designed to grow and harvest marijuana, which is expected to provide 170 construction jobs and 200 research jobs. With this $300 million investment, Bright Green expects to bring the future of cannabis growth and research to Cibola, with John Stockwell, Bright Green shareholder, explaining that the facility will have state of the art equipment to cultivate marijuana.

What is the new facility?

Job growth and water consumption



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Coordinator Hired To Implement Trauma

SANTA FE The Public Education Department will be working this year to help schools avoid suspending and expelling students for behavior that could be linked to traumatic childhood experiences.

The department has contracted with the Albuquerque-based Regional Education Cooperative 5 to support professional development and technical assistance to promote implementation of trauma-responsive and restorative practices in schools across the state.

Chronic trauma including abuse, neglect, homelessness, domestic violence or community violence affects childrens brain and behavioral development. It can cause hypervigilance and impact their memory and executive functions, including the ability to pay attention, plan and think things through.

When these children misbehave, most schools use disciplinary policies that involve withdrawing attention and support rather than addressing their problems.

Suspending or expelling a child who has experienced trauma just heaps on another level of trauma, Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. We have a responsibility as educators to help every child overcome barriers to learning and develop the self-management skills they need to be academically successful, and were going to be sharing these best practices with all our schools.

The goal is for schools to develop a culture of community that relies on proactive behavioral supports rather than reactive disciplinary consequences.


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