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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU PreK Initiative to help teachers achieve standards

Ensuring that those who give educational care to young children in New Mexico are properly trained and skilled is the purpose of the Professional Development for PreKinder Teachers: Supporting the PreK Initiative spearheaded by two New Mexico State University professors.

tiative is a $200,000 collaborative of the Public Education Department and the Children Youth and Families Department. It is being led by Betsy Cahill, co-department head of curriculum and instruction at NMSU, and Nancy E. Baptise, college associate professor of curriculum and instruction.

"The number-one predictor of a child's quality of education is the teacher's credentials," said Baptiste. "It's important to invest in teachers' education, or professional development, and make sure they have the proper skills to educate a child."

Educational care providers from all over the state will have the opportunity to take distance education courses through the NMSU College of Education and work towards fulfilling standards. The distance education courses will open opportunities to those providers who would not attempt to get their degrees because of the lack of higher education institutions in their area.

"Those teachers who don't have access to a university can benefit from the distance education courses," Cahill said.

Cahill said NMSU will collaborate and network with other higher education institutions to share information and make the program better. Cahill and Baptiste said they are working on addressing issues related to technology and diversity. They hope to develop an accessible virtual university with technical assistance. They also hope to develop early childhood course materials in Spanish and Native American languages.