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An Albuquerque Community Schools Story

Rising Together: The Albuquerque Story

The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Community School Partnership has created a powerful and successful school support strategy – connecting students and families with whatever resources they need to succeed in school and life.

Local leaders created the partnership in 2007 through a joint powers agreement that connects all major local governments with the business and nonprofit community, providing a structure for community schools to expand and thrive.

At the systems level, partners include Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Public Schools, United Way of Central New Mexico and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact. Elected officials --including the mayor  and county commissioners-- nonprofit and business leaders sit on a board that oversees policy and direction for the community schools effort.

The partnership supports community schools coordinators at select schools that help connect students and families with essential supports such as job training, healthy food, healthcare, and academic support and enrichment. The partnership supports 23 schools today, a dramatic increase from four in 2012.

Albuquerque’s success stories are many, from the nationally-acclaimed Homework Diner program to the Walking School Bus to the Manzano Mesa Preschool Parent Co-op.

Manzano Mesa Elementary School’s parent co-op highlights how this unique partnership helps parents and school leaders create solutions that work best for the community they serve.

A few years ago parents identified affordable daycare and preschool as a major concern in the Manzano Mesa community. By working with Community School Coordinator Deanna Creighton Cook, they started their own preschool.

Parents volunteered their time to make it work. Community schools leaders applied for a grant to hire a coordinator, helped the preschool find a permanent home on campus, and leveraged their relationships with local universities and colleges to train the volunteers, develop curriculum and work toward state certification.

This solution both solved the childcare concerns and created new opportunities for 11 mothers from the neighborhood. As volunteers for a state-certified preschool, the parents were required to obtain child development certificates, which they completed at Central New Mexico Community College. The classes were funded by scholarships sponsored by New Mexico TEACH – another connection made by the ABC Community School Partnership.

The parents earned their certificates in December, paving the way for new education and career opportunities. For some graduates, their formal education ended long ago, and their background did not value education for women. That changed when they participated in and took ownership for their community school.

Community schools work, by solving problems organically and at the grassroots level. Meet these parents and learn more Albuquerque success stories at this year’s Community Schools National Forum. Register today!

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