Data from the New Mexico Public Education Department shows that a record 86.3 percent of Santa Fe students graduated in 2020, up 8.6 percent from 2019. In a year of so much loss, stress and justifiable concern about how students are responding to distance learning, this was truly welcome news. During the same meeting, board President Kate Noble announced the district’s Community Schools Resolution — a Collaborative Focus, which formalizes a commitment to an evidence-based community school approach designed to support every student’s personal and academic success.
The resolution aligns with the statewide Community Schools Act signed into law in 2019, which came about after years of work and advocacy by Communities In Schools of New Mexico and other community school leaders from across the state. New Mexico’s Community School Act is designed to provide schools and school districts the structure to create tailored community school strategies that include integrated student supports, active family and community engagement, expanded learning time and opportunities, collaborative leadership, and culturally and linguistically responsive instruction, programs and services that fit the unique needs of students, schools and their communities.
According to the Learning Policy Institute’s 2021 report, “Community Schools — the New Mexico Way,” “National research finds that, when well designed and fully implemented, community schools increase student success and reduce gaps in both opportunity and achievement. Although schools alone cannot ‘fix’ widespread poverty, interventions that provide additional supports and resources can mitigate its disadvantages by reducing gaps in students’ learning opportunities, improve students’ outcomes, create more positive school climates, and foster trusting relationships among adults and children that are crucial for learning.”