The Taos Municipal School District partners with more than 65 community organizations in order to provide support for its students and give them the best chance to learn and be successful.
The Taos Municipal School District partners with more than 65 community organizations in order to provide support for its students and give them the best chance to learn and be successful. “I applaud the community for their caring and involvement with the children of the Taos Municipal Schools,” says Dr. Lillian Torrez, the district’s superintendent of schools. “Each one of these organizations is providing assistance through volunteering, finding funding or other resources to support our students.”
Two of the many successful programs are the Rotary Literacy Initiative, which helps kids learn to read, and the Community Schools program that brings support services into the schools.
Rotary Literacy Initiative
Volunteers help kids read at Ranchos Elementary through the Rotary Literacy Initiative. Principal Lourdes Cordova says, “Every day we add volunteers and now have more than 25. The volunteers come in a couple of times a week and work usually one-on-one with students in kindergarten through second grade and we are now adding third-graders, as well. The volunteers and students read to each other and have begun to establish some really nice relationships.”
Volunteers also get training so that they can help out at the library. They assist students with checking out books and other needs. “Going into the third year of the program, one measure of success is how excited the students are to see their volunteer,” says Cordova. “It is a way of building community relationships.”
There are plans to expand the program to Arroyos del Norte this year.
“Community School” designates a public school that partners with families and the community, including tribal partners, nonprofit community-based organizations and local businesses, to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and supports for student success through the implementation of a community school framework.
With the support of the Taos School Zone, a project of the Taos Community foundation, Enos Garcia Elementary has become the first official Community School in the Taos Municipal School District.
“The Taos School Zone works with existing providers and nonprofits to bring services into the schools,” says Catherine Horsey, coordinator for Taos School Zone. “It is a way of convening nonprofits and teachers to learn about and address the challenges involved in educating students in Taos.”
The program brings crucial services into the schools to assist students. An after-school program, a food pantry, counseling and dental exams are some of the services that will be brought to the school. “It is hard for parents to take time off from work during the day, so if some services can be provided at school, it helps the students and their families, as well as taking pressure off teachers,” says Horsey. “It also gives the nonprofits a chance to get to know the families better.”
The first full-time community school coordinator, Paula Oxoby-Hayett, will oversee the many community resources that will be brought to Enos Garcia. The Taos School Zone raised money to fund the first year of the program and the state Legislature has made money available for future years through a request for a grant process.
“We hope to expand the program to all the schools in the district, so that these same services can be provided at each school. When students are hungry or upset, they are not able to learn,” explains Horsey. “There is lots of support in the community and many capable nonprofits that are working hard in their own areas. The community school program is a way to bring all the services together to help students.”
For people who want to volunteer or contribute in any way, they can learn more by emailing:
Taos Schools would like to say thank you to the following community partners:
Animal Health Services
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Bridges Project for Education
Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office
Carson National Forest
Clean Energy Technology, AP Environmental Science, Physics, Chemistry
Community Against Violence (CAV)
Dogs of the West
El Centro Health
Environmental Film Festival
Friends of Animals
For the Love of Reading
Habitat for Humanity
Las Cumbres Community Services
New Mexico Highlands University
New Mexico National Board Teacher Network
Native Plant Society Taos Chapter
Parent Reaching Out (PRO)
Paso a Paso Network
Poms and Associates
Pressing Through Time
Razor Sharp Productions
Reading to End Racism
Rivers and Birds
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
STEM @ Paseo
Sundance Parent Training
Taos Behavioral Health
Taos Center for the Arts opera program
Taos Community Foundation
Taos County Chamber of Commerce
Taos Early Childhood Alliance
Taos Fall Arts Festival
Taos Feeds Taos
Taos Land Trust
Taos Public Library
Taos Pueblo Education and Training
Taos Milagro Rotary
Taos Soil and Water Conservation District
Taos United/Taoseños Unidos (TUTU)
The Harwood Museum of Art
The School Zone Taos
Brown and Brown Insurance
Centinel Bank of Taos
Kit Carson Electric
Los Alamos National Labs
Ranchos Plaza Grill
Sol Luna Solar
Taos Crating Co.
EMS Taos County
Holy Cross Substance Abuse
Town of Taos
Taos Ski Valley
UNM Taos – Upward Bound
Valle Del Sol, St. James Pantry.
And so many more…
For more information visit the Taos Municipal Schools website at taosschools.org.
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