April 30, 2020
NMPED Announces Partnership to Help “Missing Students” Get Back On-Track with Continuous Learning
Santa Fe – For some students, going from a structured classroom setting to learning from home is a tough climb, and during this pandemic some have chosen not to engage – or are encountering obstacles – with distance learning.
But New Mexico’s Public Education Department is working to re-engage these students through a partnership with Graduation Alliance – an organization that provides academic and social-emotional support to help students realize their goals of earning a high school diploma.
A targeted effort will focus on students who, for any number of reasons, are struggling in a learning environment that has shifted in profound ways.
Through the NMPED-Graduation Alliance partnership, titled ENGAGE New Mexico, students whom their district has identified as struggling or disengaged will get an academic coach to work with them on a plan to get back on track.
The project, an agency-wide initiative, aims to support students socially and emotionally as they work to meet academic standards. “Targeted outreach and support have been proven to make a positive difference in a child’s life, especially under challenging circumstances,” said Dr. Gwen Perea-Warniment, Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Assessment. “Providing a dedicated outreach team to work in support of our educators will ensure that our teachers can focus on teaching, while the ENGAGE team works to re-establish contact with students described as ‘missing’ from their continuous learning classrooms.”
Katarina Sandoval, Deputy Secretary of Academic Engagement and Student Success says, “Some of our students are struggling to engage with schoolwork right now. We’re offering an additional layer of support from an adult who is not a teacher or family member to motivate students to stay connected and focused on their futures.”
Students will benefit from ongoing support levels within the general design of Response to Intervention (RTI) models. Using these models, Graduation Alliance has worked together with school districts across the US for more than a decade to serve vulnerable students in a remote learning environment.
NMPED Cabinet Secretary Dr. Ryan Stewart is pleased at how school districts have opted in to the ENGAGE NM program, with more than 7100 students identified as needing intervention so far. “Given Graduation Alliance’s track record of bringing students back into the educational fold, I am certain they will be able to help the state of New Mexico re-engage our students and help see them through this difficult transition to distance learning,” Dr. Stewart said. “I look forward to seeing every student earn a diploma and persevere, despite obstacles that have been placed in their way.”