New Mexico

Las Cruces School District transitioning to "community schools"

Community Schools

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - After the bell rings, some students don't always have the support to succeed at home. The non-profit, "Ngage New Mexico" is working to change that.

In April, The Las Cruces Public School District approved a resolution to transition all of their schools into "community schools". That means once the day is over, students and parents would have additional resources, such as extra-curricular activities or tutoring services, available to them free of charge.

Lynn Middle School is their pilot project. Ngage is in the process of surveying parents, teachers, students and businesses in the area to see what resources are most important to them.

"You can have things like after school programs, recreation, you can even have work shops or classes for parents," Executive Director of Ngage Frank Lopez said. "Or maybe there's some specific things teachers might want. So it's open ended to the community."

Lopez says the organization received a federal grant that allows them about $70,000 every year for the next four years. He says that money will go towards hiring a community schools coordinator and some activities. But more money will be needed. They're hoping to partner with other non-profits and school's like NMSU to potentially provide additional resources.

Art Narvaez, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher at Lynn Middle School says he's excited about the project.

"The idea is to come here and we have the avenue to help these students who may not have the access outside of school, so I'm excited as a teacher because it does give us that extra support that we need," Narvaez said.

Ngage is hopeful students at Lynn Middle School will start seeing changes early next year.

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