NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Border Walking Conference focuses on culturally responsive practices

New Mexico State University's College of Education will host the MECA Therapies Border Walking Conference focusing on culturally responsive practices Oct. 10-12 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

The conference is funded through gifts from Jeff Flores and his wife, Roberta Martinez-Flores, owners and directors of MECA Therapies and both graduates of the NMSU College of Education.

"I remember the Border Walking Conference making an impact on me while I was a graduate student at NMSU," Flores said. "The conference brought together a whole community of professionals and students to look at important issues. I want to see this conference continue for the benefit of the community and the professional development of educators."

The College of Education first hosted a series of Border Walking conferences in the mid-1990s to focus on educational issues related to the needs of diverse children, youth and their families in the border community. The title "Border Walking" was selected through a contest and was intended to signify many borders including the geographic border of the region, but also the border between general and special education students and the border between those who are native English speakers and those learning it as their second language.

Anne Gallegos, a Regents Professor in the special education and communications disorders department, said that tradition will continue with this conference.

"We see it as a service to our community to bring in national leaders who focus on critical issues related to education in the border communities served by NMSU," Gallegos said. "We have often been told that the conference tone is uplifting for those who attend."

The conference will include presentations from keynote speakers Leonard Baca, an expert in bilingual special education from the University of Colorado-Boulder; Hector Ochoa, a bilingual assessment expert from the University of Texas-Pan American; Hart Kayser, a bilingual speech and communications disorders expert from St. Louis University and a former NMSU faculty member; and Barbara Flores, a professor in the languages, literacy and culture department at California State University at San Bernardino.

Conference breakout sessions focus on working with families, assessment and accountability, diversifying instruction, and mental health and other related services. Friday afternoon, there also will be a panel discussion on the challenges faced by school districts striving to meet their annual Adequate Yearly Progress.

"We need to discuss the challenges faced by schools and how we can make positive changes to assist students in making academic gains," said Eric Lopez, an associate professor in the special education and communications disorders department and the holder of the College of Education's Stan Fulton Chair for the Improvement of Border and Rural Schools.

Special conference events include a reception with mariachis at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, and a dance at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

The registration deadline for the conference is Friday, Sept. 14. Pre-registration is required. No registrations will be taken at the event. Continuing Education Units are available.

For more information on registration and fees, contact Michelle Saenz at (505) 646-1348 or bdrwalk@nmsu.edu.