Taos School Zone played a critical role

Katharine Egli.Taos Superintendant Lillian Torrez

Thanks to the Taos News for the wonderful coverage Oct. 3 of the new community school at Enos Garcia ("New principal and staff reinvent Enos Garcia Elementary as a community school").

Community schools provide wraparound services for students and their families, promote community involvement in education, provide out-of-school time academic enrichment and use collaborative leadership to determine goals and strategies. We are so excited about the potential for this initiative to help students and their families, teachers, social workers and Taos.

Taos Municipal Schools would like to acknowledge the critical role played by Taos School Zone in establishing this first community school in Taos. TSZ researched community school models, made site visits to existing programs in other communities, obtained school board approval and raised more than $100,000 to hire and train a site coordinator and make Enos Garcia Community School a reality. We have hired a Community Schools Coordinator and are moving forward with the help of TSZ.

TSZ, a special project of Taos Community Foundation, has partnered with Taos Municipal Schools for the last four years, convening nonprofit organizations to engage them in the schools, recognizing our hard-working teachers, funding professional development and helping identify and address challenges to creating excellent outcomes for our students and their families. Volunteers play a significant role in TSZ's work and will be important to the success of community schools.

The philanthropic community in Taos and beyond has rallied to support us, and we want to thank every group and community member who assisted in this incredible vision for Enos. Their foundational support for community schools will help us to leverage additional support from the New Mexico Public Education Department and other sources to sustain this initiative over time.

We love our students and want to provide extensive support for them and their families. Through community schools, our goal is to create welcoming and supportive neighborhood hubs offering our students the tools they need to succeed - not just in academics, but in life.

Dr. Lillian Torrez is superintendent of Taos Municipal Schools. Catherine Horsey is coordinator of Taos School Zone.

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