Albuquerque Community Schools
New Mexico's ranking of 49 nationally for child well-being inspired local government, schools, neighborhoods, churches, business and nonprofit communities to joined forces to address this challenge.
The Albuquerque Bernalillo County (ABC) Community School Partnership was created in 2007 with a Joint Powers Agreement between Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, United Way of Central New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact. The partnership is a network of local leaders that align policies, practices, and resources to build and sustain a system of Community Schools aimed at helping students succeed in school and life. The partnership works together with state officials, higher education institutions, business leaders, unions, community partners and schools to intentionally align resources for a more efficient and effective system of funding and service delivery through Community Schools.
The ABC Community School partnership is quickly expanding to support 23 schools in 2015, a dramatic increase from just four in 2012. The partnership employs Community Schools Coordinators at select schools that help connect students and families with whatever they need to overcome barriers to learning, from job training to healthy food, healthcare or extra tutoring.
For schools to be considered a community school with the ABC Community School Partnership they need to be committed to: 1) Integrating core instruction with extended learning programs for children, youth, and adults; school-based or linked healthcare; family engagement; and family supports; .2) Partnering with a lead partner agency which can be a public, private, or community-based agency that employs a coordinator housed in the school to help coordinate programs and services; 3) Assessing student, family, teacher, community and school leader interests and needs; and 4) Establishing an evaluation process that measures both the quality and quantity of outcomes.
In 2004-5, Councilor Brad Winter, the incoming ABC Chair and longest tenured City Councilor, initiated a meeting to discuss potential strategies to address the barriers to learning. With strong commitment and leadership from the mayor and key city councilors, the community schools vision became a reality. In 2006, the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and Albuquerque Public Schools adopted a resolution to create a joint board in 2006 with each entity investing $100,000 to begin a pilot. In 2007 the government entities entered into a Joint Power of Agreement. In 2009, in Mayor Richard Berry's inaugural year, he appoints his Chief of Staff to serve on the ABC Board. In 2012: Councilors Winter and Garduno sponsored a resolution delegating program administration of the Elementary Middle School Initiative, a $1.2 million effort providing afterschool programming to approximately 12,000 youth in almost 70 schools, to the ABC which passed and was signed by Mayor Berry.
In 2012 Bernalillo County agreed to support the infrastructure of ABC by housing the Executive Director and providing support from all County departments. The following year the County funded ABC's first Community School Manager and in 2014 allocated another $330,000 for Community School Development and two additional staff members.
As this work was gaining support locally and attention nationally, Mayor Berry made an annual allocation of $100,000 to scale up a Community School innovation and raised over $60,000 for the programs at his annual Gala.
Local governments include the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and Albuquerque Public Schools. Other key partners include United Way of Central New Mexico and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact.
Other supporting partners include the University of New Mexico College of Education, Central New Mexico Community College, New Mexico PBS, Youth Development Inc-Elev8., Albuquerque Teachers Federation, Mission: Graduate, Unidos, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico, and other nonprofit organizations working directly with schools.
Organizations like Albuquer¬que Business Education Compact, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Fidelity Investments, Nusenda, Southwest Capital Bank and the Unit¬ed Way of Central New Mexico have been huge financial backers. Groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America have offered after-school programs and supports to help stu¬dents achieve, and the University of New Mexico has actually started the first Coor¬dinator Institute to provide professional de¬velopment for resource coordinators. And, of course, working with educators both on the frontlines and behind the scenes are the local unions: providing support, train¬ing and funding for important programs.
Through a combination of local government and local business support, the total partnership budget is $2.3 million for the 2015-16 school year. This includes funding from the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County Albuquerque Public Schools, United Way and other partners.
Community Schools are smart schools. The partnership leverages resources to help schools succeed. The number of Community Schools has grown from 4 in 2012 to 23 in 2015. For example, one school's investment of $20,000 to hire a Community School Coordinator resulted in an additional $325,000 in support from 23 partners in just one year.
Homework Diner brings families and their children together at the community school in the evening to enjoy dinner prepared by local college culinary students and an opportunity for students to complete their homework with support from teachers and area volunteers. They have seen 100% of the students have improvements in homework and 90% improvement in attendance.
Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
José Muñoz, Executive Director
ABC Community School Partnership
111 Union Square St. SE, 2nd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Office: (505) 468-1668