May 5, 2018:
Guest blog from Jeff McConaughy, NMOST STEM Coordinator
During the second week of April, I attended the two-day townhall on Strengthening Higher Education and Tomorrow’s Workforce managed by New Mexico First on April 10-11. This was my first experience with a statewide townhall, and I found it to be a fascinating and rewarding process. By the end of the two-day conference, breakout groups had completed detailed recommendations to be incorporated into a policy platform that will be advanced by an implementation team with policymakers.
My group’s topic was “Student Success: High school preparedness and community college,” and the vision statement developed read:
By 2028, New Mexico will lead the nation in high school and post-secondary enrollment and graduation rates. K-12 and post-secondary improvements, incorporating experiential and relevant learning has resulted in an increase in college and career readiness and living wages.
The group goals focused on 1) providing resources for development and implementation of a robust educational and career pathway advisement system for K-12 and post-secondary schools to utilize for their students and/or prospective students, and 2) expanding and more fully supporting the existing systems for filling the current and future teacher pipeline to ensure that we have an adequate supply of motivated, well-trained educators for our state’s K-12 and post-secondary schools.
The process was on a very compressed timeline, but, impressively, still managed to incorporate group brainstorming, voting, wordsmithing, suggested amendments to other groups on their proposed goals and actions, as well as group discussion of suggested amendments to our own from the other teams. At the end of day two, group spokespersons presented team goals and plans of action at the plenary session, followed by voting by the assembly. Proposals reaching or surpassing 85% of the vote were added to the platform and will be delivered to stakeholders in the form of a final report, and advanced by the implementation team with policymakers.
The conference welcomes from Valerie Romero-Leggott, Chair of New Mexico First Board of Directors, and Heather Balas, President and Executive Director of New Mexico First, along with an excellent roundtable discussion with Secretary Celina Bussey of the NM Department of Workforce Solutions, Secretary Barbara Damron from the NM Higher Education Department, Angelo Gonzalez of Mission: Graduate, Lisa Hardison of URENCO, and Fabiola Perez, a student at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy were live-streamed and a recording can be found on the NM First web site.
Overall, it was a great learning experience, which I hope will make a positive difference in the state’s approach to higher education and workforce preparedness.
April 16, 2018:
“Our community can't be successful unless ALL of our youth are successful. Youth can't be successful depending on schools alone. It would be better to go together than to go alone.”
- Paul Reville, Francis Keppel Professor of Educational Policy and Administration, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Growing together, Learning together: Cities and Afterschool Systems
Two weeks ago, I attended the Every Hour Counts National Institute with 180 people from 32 cities across the country. This year's theme—From Idea to Action—focused on cross-sector collaboration to ensure all young people have access to transformational learning opportunities.
Program providers, practitioners, funders, K-12 and city representatives came together to freely share their ideas, promising practices, resources, and lessons learned. Through interactive workshops, presenters explored a wide variety of pertinent topics, from how to infuse continuous quality improvement into OST to increasing racial equity within organizations, systems, and programs.
The two-day institute was full of incredible lessons and an inspiring spirit of collaboration. Chris Smith, Executive Director of Boston After School & Beyond, described their aspiration to make the whole city a classroom. In 2015, Mayor Walsh and their Superintendent Chang set a city- wide goal to reach 10,000 students across the city through summer learning programs. The collaborative network exceeded that goal in just one year, nearly doubling its size in 2016. This effort required a coordinated response among schools, businesses, colleges, non-profits, cultural institutions, and the funding community.
Afterschool Matters in Chicago, shared critical lessons learned on how to improve program access for underserved teens. Their experience shows cultural visibility plays a key role in participation. Teens need to see themselves in the programs, and they want programs that fit their culture, and materials provided in their own language. In addition real work experience, such as job or college prep, were a major factor in joining. Program location is key, including safety and access to transportation. Teens without an address where unable to make it past the application process because the program required a permanent home address. Rising freshman and principals were unaware of summer learning opportunities for that summer. To reach underserved youth, Afterschool Matters revised all their application processes, organized gender specific outreach, hired sign language interpreters to reach deaf students, and trained all staff in how to work with diverse learners.
By creating a culture of continuous improvement, cities across the country have transformed afterschool and summer learning and influenced research and practice nationwide. Sharing best practices and evaluation data is a critical first step in a city-wide afterschool system to shed light on what works! With common data collection, community partners can see what works, what needs improvement, and deploy resources more strategically.
All children and youth should have access to stimulating learning opportunities that prepare them for college, careers and life. Engaging various stakeholders and building bridges across sectors in your community can make this possible. Our goal must be to do more until we can offer such opportunities to every student in our communities, cities and states!
February 28 2018: On February 13th, the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network (NMOST) and the New Mexico Parent Teacher Association (NM PTA) collaborated to host a legislative day in Santa Fe. We had several speakers who provided insights and suggestions on engaging with legislators to advocate for out-of-school time in the state, including:
- Renata Witte, NM PTA – Welcome and introductions;
- Dr. Tim Hand, Deputy Director of the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) – current legislative efforts and an overview of the LESC;
- May Sagbakken, Executive Director of NMOST – An overview of the network, and the state of out-of-school time (OST) in New Mexico; and
- Jeff McConaughy, NMOST STEM Coordinator – Why should legislators care about STEM?
NMOST was able to reinforce its message with newly completed infographics showing maps of the state highlighting where government funded OST programs do and do not overlay onto areas of severe poverty, high rates of child abuse or juvenile justice referrals, or schools with less than 15% math and reading proficiency. These handouts were one product from our Data to Action Team, supported by a Data Grant from the National Conference of State Legislators.
Following the advocacy training, we all walked to the Roundhouse for a press conference featuring:
- Wendy Licon, President of the NM PTA;
- Marcus Jaramillo, a senior at Hot Springs High School in Truth or Consequences, and a youth mentor at the teen center in Sierra County; and
- May Sagbakken, Executive Director of NMOST
After the press conference and an opportunity to investigate the Transportation Day organizations hosting tables in the lobbies, the group walked to the Rio Chama Restaurant for a networking lunch and legislative discussion made possible by a generous donation from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund. After lunch, participants were encouraged to put what they’d learned into practice by visiting with their state legislators in the capitol building. Overall, it was a very successful day building connections, learning about the legislative process and how to influence it, and making our voices heard in support of Out-of-School Time in New Mexico.
December 17, 2017: I would like to welcome Julie Hernandez to the NMOST family. Julie is an Americorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) working with NMOST for a year to help promote and support STEM in out-of-school time programs in the state. She dove right into working with Jeff McConaughy to complete the Math and Science Kits delivered at recent OST STEM workshops and at the Fall into Place Conference in mid-November. We would not have made our deadlines for the kits without her. During the coming year, Julie will be helping us with an asset mapping and survey of OST programs, including analysis of the data and translation of that data into story maps. She will also be participating in planning and facilitation of a Girls in STEM convening in the Spring of 2018, as well as an overall OST STEM focused meeting this coming May. Julie studied at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and has a strong background in community and public service. Julie's fluency in Spanish brings to NMOST a much-needed communication skill set for expanding our partnerships in the state. Please join me in making Julie’s time with NMOST as happy and productive as possible.
October 10, 2017: The New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network (NMOST) is organizing hands-on OST STEM workshops in late October and early November that will take place in Albuquerque and in Las Cruces. These workshops are designed to help OST providers increase the quantity and quality of STEM programming at their sites. Staff who participate in this PD opportunity will learn how to facilitate and adapt quality OST STEM programming for their K-12 students, receive some STEM kits and curriculum booklets for their sites, and become familiar with the Dimensions of Success (DoS) STEM quality assessment and program planning tools from the Harvard’s Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR), among other things.
Please take a look at the registration MOU and the hyperlinked resources in the MOU for more details on the workshops and the types of resources/tools we will showcase at the workshops. If you are interested in signing up a couple of your staff for these workshops, please email the filled-out MOU by Friday, October 13th COB to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ensure that you have spots saved up.
Staff can chose workshops in ABQ or LC depending on their site location.. They are expected to attend both workshops. Here are the workshop dates/times:
Albuquerque - at the Explora Science Center:
Friday, October 27th, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Friday, November 10th, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Las Cruces - at the NMSU STEM Outreach Center:
Thursday, October 26th, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
Please contact Armelle Casau with any questions at (505) 948-1321 or at email@example.com
September 24, 2017: I am pleased to announce that on September 12th, 2017, Governor Susana Martinez issued a New Mexico Gubernatorial Proclamation officially declaring October 26th, 2017, as Lights on Afterschool Day. In doing this, Governor Martinez helps raise awareness throughout New Mexico of the importance of afterschool programs and our principle that quality afterschool programs are key to helping our children become successful adults.
The national celebration Lights on Afterschool is promoting the importance of quality afterschool programs in the lives of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. In New Mexico more than 70,800 families have their children enrolled in afterschool programs. However, many afterschool programs across the country are facing funding shortfalls so severe that they are being forced to close their doors and turn their lights off. Our efforts to highlight the need for increased access to quality afterschool is therefore critical.
New Mexico Out-of-School Time network is committed to investing in the health and safety of all young people by providing increased access to expanded learning opportunities that will help close the achievement gap and prepare young people to compete in the global economy. Your efforts to highlight successes of your afterschool programs on October 26th is an important step to make this happen.
August 3, 2017: I am thrilled to announce that I have been named one of sixteen leaders in afterschool and expanded learning to be selected as a White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow as part of a partnership between the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
In the 10-month program, which begins in October, Fellows will study afterschool/expanded learning policy and develop and implement state-level policy projects in partnership with their Statewide Afterschool Networks and the national Afterschool Alliance. This is a great opportunity to learn from and work with other experts in the field, and to receive coaching and input on a project to be implemented here at home. The focus of my project will be engaging older youth in out-of-school time programs. I’m looking forward to the process, and I’m excited about the potential benefit to New Mexico’s youth. Click here for the White-Riley-Peterson press release.
June 14, 2017: Yesterday, we held the first ever NMOST Partner Forum at the Hotel Albuquerque. It was a great event, and I believe we all left feeling uplifted and excited about the out-of-school time agenda. On behalf of the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network - we thank each of you for your contribution. It is empowering to see the collective successes of our field and inspiring to see the collective vision we have created for the future of New Mexico’s children and youth. This is a vision that all New Mexico children and families deserve.
Thank you for taking time to give us your feedback so we can continue to plan meaningful state-wide convenings. We also appreciate your willingness to consider how you can best support the movement towards our vision through your personal engagement. We will follow-up shortly with notes and resources from our day together, along with opportunities for your continued engagement. Thank you for sharing your time, passion and ideas with us. We hope you left the forum feeling both proud to be a part of the New Mexico out-of-school time movement, and inspired to roll up your sleeves and engage in the meaningful work ahead.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped plan, prepare, and participate in the forum. My appreciation goes out to the NMOST Leadership Council for their support, and for helping to facilitate the table discussions. A huge thank you to our guest speakers and panelists, including New Mexico State Representative Christine Trujillo; Ron Ottinger, director of STEM Next; Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry; our data team of Wendy Wintermute from SHARE New Mexico, Tom Sharmen of the Department of Health, and Larry Heard from the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative; our NGAGE partners from Las Cruces, Frank Lopez and Michael Radtke; Deborah Good from Mission: Graduate; and our panel: Stephanie Gurule-Leyba, teacher of the year for 2017, Amy Tapia, Community Involvement Manager from Sandia National Laboratories, Daniel Valverde, Director of Community Outreach for New Mexico Appleseed, Marvin Johnson, Truancy Prevention Specialist from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s office, Dr. David Peercy, president of the APS Board of Education, and Megan Kamerick, KUNM’s host of Morning Edition, who facilitated the panel discussion. I’d also like to thank CliffDweller Digital for putting together an excellent video, on short notice, highlighting the successful out-of-school time program at Emerson Elementary School, and Melissa Rael of MgR & Associates for event planning and arrangements. Thank you also to Dr. Patty Emord of Collaborative Solutions Consulting for her overall facilitation of the table discussions and report outs. Finally, thank you to everyone who participated and brought such energy and enthusiasm, and so many great ideas to the forum.
We have a lot of assets in this state! and I am proud to say that NMOST is one of them!
Event Agenda Speaker Bios
Pictures from the Partner Forum:
May 29, 2017: This year, for the first time, we will convene the network and partners from around the state for learning and high-level discussions that highlight how afterschool and summer programs engage children in learning today and prepare youth for opportunities tomorrow. Our Partner Forum at Hotel Albuquerque on Tuesday, June 13, 9:00 am-3:30 pm will bring together more than 100 participants and feature interactive and thought-provoking sessions. Our goal is to convene stakeholders, and present and discuss strategies around key areas to sustain and expand afterschool learning opportunities for children and youth. We will hear from national and local speakers, and regional teams and partners will share best practices, network and collaborate to create a rich learning environment. We know families want opportunities for their children to build skills, get excited about learning, and have mentors. Young people seek choices to explore their passions and ignite their dreams. Now more than ever, collaboration, strategy, and planning is needed to ensure New Mexico’s students have quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities, regardless of their zip code. We look forward to an exciting and engaging day ending in a firm commitment to work together to improve out-of-school time resources that generate positive outcomes for children and youth.
April 25, 2017: The New Mexico Out-of-School Time network recently joined 1,453 other local, state, and national organizations in signing onto a letter to appropriators on Capitol Hill in support of 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The letter, which originated from the Afterschool Alliance, sends a clear message that 21st CCLC programs must have sustained funding so their doors will remain open to children and their families. For more information, check out this press release from the Alliance, which includes links to the letter. For additional press coverage of the proposed cuts, see Education Week, the Washington Post, CNN, Time magazine, and ABC News. We’re working to make sure your voices are heard both locally and nationally in support of continued funding for these essential programs.
March 30, 2017: I’d like to introduce Jeff McConaughy, who has been working behind the scenes with NMOST. Jeff retired from Intel last summer, and is currently participating in an Intel sponsored Encore Fellowship. The Encore program matches recent retirees with non-profits to work 1000 hours on projects in support of organizational goals. Jeff is working with Explora for his fellowship, and a portion of his time has been dedicated to assisting NMOST. He’ll be with us until sometime in mid-to-late July. One of the things he’s been doing is updating, and adding to the content on the NMOST web site, along with fixing many, many broken links that didn’t make a clean transition from the old site. If you happen onto any broken or outdated links, or if you have a suggestion for an event to include in our calendar, or an online resource to add to our repository, please feel free to drop Jeff a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's him to Senator Tom Udall's right in the picture below.
March 6, 2017: NMOST went to Washington DC last week for a two-day STEM conference with network staff from all over the country. We arranged a day on the Hill to share success stories from STEM OST programs with our representatives. Several staff in Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich as well as Congresswoman Grishams's office shared their own experience with out-of-school time programs and how it influenced their lives as well as their children's lives. Mentoring and internships makes a huge difference!
January 26, 2017: As the new Executive Director for NMOST, I look forward to being an ambassador and champion for your programs and an advocate for strategies to meet community needs. Working together, we can ensure that young people in New Mexico have access to engaging, relevant and quality programming set in a real-world context. Our goal is to create more out-of-school time opportunities for young people to experience hands-on learning, music and arts, and be exposed to the latest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). With our new NMOST website, we will feature success stories and best practices from your communities to raise awareness about the power of afterschool and summer learning for student success. Research show that expanding learning opportunities for youth is linked to academic achievement, increased social skills with peers, reductions in skipping school and substance use.
I look forward to meeting all of you!