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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU College of Education faculty helps teachers in southeast New Mexico

The two hundred miles separating four small towns in southeast New Mexico and Las Cruces doesn?t prevent College of Education faculty members at New Mexico State University from finding a way to help teachers improve reading education in rural communities.

NMSU faculty members and teachers from four districts in rural New Mexico have joined forces in a collaborative effort called the Pecos Valley Regional Educational Cooperative 8 Literacy Project. The partnership is helping schools in Loving, Hagerman, Dexter and Lake Arthur. The project began in November and concludes in June.

?The goal of the project is to help teachers prepare to carry out coaching responsibilities grounded in the New Mexico Reading Coach Model,? said Koomi Kim, associate professor in curriculum and instruction at NMSU. ?The partnership addresses a critical shortage of literacy coaches in the districts and aims to cultivate a sustaining cadre of literacy experts serving the schools.?

Kim along with associate professor Judith Franzak and assistant professor Mary Fahrenbruck are directors for the project. Kim said the faculty members are applying their knowledge and experience in literacy education theory to organize the collaborative learning community and to provide professional development.

College instructor Violet Henderson and graduate assistant Jennifer Trujillo-Johnson also are helping with the project by providing on-going individual mentoring to the teachers using digital technologies.

?Teachers benefit from the sharing of instructional insights and the support they receive that helps them examine praxis as they develop as literacy coaches in the classroom,? Kim said. ?The reflective engagements that inform the literacy coaches are developed and shared, first teacher-to-teacher and are subsequently further developed when teachers utilize the insights with students.

?Students benefit from teachers? expanding knowledge of literacy as a result of becoming reading coaches,? she said. ?Students are more likely to become more proficient in multiple literacies.?