Deputy Secretary Katarina Sandoval
SANTA FE — A statewide program to help New Mexicans navigate the challenges of education during the global health emergency will be extended after spring results demonstrated significant success in supporting K-12 students across the state.
Participants in the ENGAGE New Mexico program are connected to a personal academic coach to help the students develop plans for success in challenging times, answer questions about technology and curriculum, and connect students to community support.
“We knew that for many students and their families, going from a structured classroom setting to learning from home was going to be a very big challenge,” said Gwen Perea Warniment, the state’s deputy secretary of teaching, learning and assessment. “It makes perfect sense that some families needed help during this transition and, with the extension of this program, we are excited to be able to provide this help to anyone who needs it.”
The ENGAGE New Mexico program is a partnership between New Mexico’s Public Education Department and Graduation Alliance, an organization that provides academic and social-emotional support to help create equitable learning experiences for students who might otherwise struggle in school. Perea Warniment noted that the students who were provided with this support in the spring were significantly more likely to succeed after schools were rapidly closed during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program’s continuation provides critical support for the implementation of New Mexico’s Attendance for Success Act, which was passed by the state Legislature in the spring of 2019.
“There is no way our legislators could have predicted this crisis, but they understood the need for compassionate support for families who are struggling with attendance,” said Katarina Sandoval, the state’s deputy secretary of academic engagement and student success. “That vision has proven prescient, and we need that sort of compassion now more than ever before.”
Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said the program is a good example of the ways in which state resources can be used to support local school districts.
“To meet this moment, schools are having to make radical changes — changes that completely alter what school looks like,” Stewart said. “It would be wrong to expect districts to take on this challenge alone.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she is pleased that New Mexico has taken a national leadership role in providing this kind of support.
“Our state has made a long-term commitment to close the equity gap and protect our most vulnerable children,” she said. “Right now, however, it is important to recognize the fact that this crisis has made many more students vulnerable. We must act in a way that will allow us to look back on this time in history with pride, and I believe that is exactly what we are doing with initiatives such as this.”
Any family looking for additional support for their students during this school year can sign up directly at https://ParentsNM.GraduationAlliance.com.