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College of Education's ENLACE represented at national summit

Freddy Marquez, director of the College of Education's ENLACE Program, and Eric Lopez, the Stan Fulton Endowed Chair for the Improvement of Border and Rural Schools, have been invited to the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislator's National Summit in Las Vegas, Nev.


Marquez and Lopez will give a presentation Saturday, Nov. 15, to 100 Hispanic legislators on NMSU's ENLACE efforts in its region, and how the program partners with the Alliance for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

The caucus also will visit NMSU for a tour of the program in January 2009, after which NMSU's ENLACE site could be proposed as a national model for other ENLACE programs. Marquez said the presentation will give the legislators more understanding of how the program is run before the visit.

"Our presentation will be sort of a pre-cursor to the tour, which will highlight each level of our program's model, both academic and parental," said Marquez. "We hope it becomes one of additional discussions that will create support for ENLACE throughout the state."

ENLACE was founded in 2001 by the Kellogg Foundation, which was the first major foundation that focused on Latino interests. Practice sites were established throughout the country, including two in the state at NMSU and UNM. Since then, New Mexico has expanded its programs to five sites and has earned state legislative funding for them.

The program provides culturally and linguistically diverse students in grades 6-12 a pathway to success by supporting and teaching them skills that will lead to college admission. It also focuses on themes of cultural awareness, identity and diversity.

The program expanded to include EXITO for college level Latino students, which is similar, but the curriculum also focuses on adjusting to the campus environment and utilizing campus resources. EXITO students are assigned to a faculty or staff member based on their major, who provides a supporting role as a mentor for the student and gives them more exposure to their particular field of study.

ENLACE also helped local school districts to establish Parent Centers, where parents can learn about meaningful family engagement, getting involved with their children's education and working together with the school program for success. The Gadsden Independent School District's Parent Center has been successful and has hired 24 parent ambassadors for the program.

For more information, contact the NMSU ENLACE Program at (575) 646-9382.