Transforming Education

Home Discussions General NMHEP Statewide Policy Reccomendations Transforming Education

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    David Gaussoin

    Please post information here –


    SUN Project – Long Range Comprehensive Plan for Public Education – presented at statewide gathering
    Focus has been on Alb and Las Cruces
    Listening to communities for decades
    Several presentations to funders and in other spaces with other associations
    Hatch Valley School Board – Resolution to introduce 10 year strategic plan

    This is a very long term process – hard to get people to unify around this.

    Lawsuit against state of New Mexico – education in New Mexico is a fundamental right.
    What does this right mean for students? We as communities should have voice?
    Through SUN project, create communication tool – what is it really want as this right?

    Ethnic Studies –

    We need to learn to build many things simultaneously (Beva’s word). One of the things we are building separate but overlapping from the SUN project, creating statewide initiative around ethnic studies.

    How do we define safe spaces and have conversations. Had ethnic studies summit on the 19th. Goal to articulate our own histories (Beva’s words).

    Call to action – how do we get involved?
    1. Need
    2. Zoom conference / Ethnic studies project – Sun Project
    3. Invite to be partners with us. Important all of our people and communities be presented.

    People in state saying we can have multiple plans – but this hasn’t worked. Need a plan to hold state leaders accountable to what we want.

    Deeper widening engagement (Beva’s words) – We are creating our own definition of ethnic studies.
    SUN Project – Honor diversity of histories, cultures, etc.

    Need to be careful about the whole way we look at policy. Find ways for people to work together.


    Excerpt from the 2016 HEP Policy Strategy Summary

    Michelle Valverde, Diane Torres-Velasquez and Vanessa Urbina with the SUN (Somos Unidos para Los Niños) Project, shared about their efforts with the SUN Project at the Statewide Health Equity Gathering. The overarching goal of the SUN Project is to create a public education framework in New Mexico that is responsive to culturally diverse learners across the state. The hope is that the framework will inform the development of a long-range plan for education in New Mexico that will guide the trajectory of existing and future preK-12 education policies. All subsequent education policies and practices would be aligned with the cultural values and languages of our communities. Ultimately, students would thrive and there would be improvements in health and well-being. Michelle and Diane provided an update on their efforts at the Action-Oriented Small Group Gathering. In an effort to build many things simultaneously, Diane also spoke to separate but overlapping efforts to create a statewide initiative around ethnic studies so we can articulate and honor our own histories and cultures. At the gathering, participants also engaged in what began as a traditional power mapping exercise on education. What emerged was an informative dialogue about our interdependence and the need to build consensus, harmony and balance in our efforts rather than further divides.

    Through discussions at the statewide gathering, participants identified a need to ensure students and families are reflected in their education; teachers and school leaders are supported; community voices are heard when decisions are made; the curriculum reflects our cultures, identities, and languages; and we have opportunities for experiential learning. Participants also would like to end the school to prison pipeline. This refers to the increasing contact students have with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a result of racial bias, school discipline policies, and the use of police in schools which have a disproportionate impact on students of color. Participants recommended transforming education utilizing a holistic model that is multi-cultural and multi-lingual with a focus on child and family wellness. This model would focus on human relationships, fully embrace and lift-up ethnic studies, and connect healthy food to our school tables, to name a few. We recognize that in order for this to transformation to take place, we need more decision making and flexibility at the community level. Additionally, through our interactions and learnings at the small group gathering, we re-emphasized that in education, we need to harness our biggest asset in New Mexico – our diversity.

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