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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU program brings the community together to increase educational success

New Mexico State University's Borderlands Center for Educational Excellence Studies in the College of Education has developed a new project, Building Community Capacity for Educational Excellence, designed to get the entire community talking about how to improve educational outcomes for all youth.

Because of the high dropout rate of high school students in Las Cruces and the achievement gap in general, BC2E2 helps get, not only the parents and students, but the community involved as well.

"We need to bring parents together, we need to bring youth together, we need to bring community together," said Rudolfo Chávez Chávez, BC2E2 director. "Once we bring the three together, good things surface and that's what it's all about."

The project consists of three components, a parent leadership workshop, a youth leadership workshop and a cross-cultural learning and sharing dialogue. Parent participants learn about the achievement gap, the structure and function of the schools and how they can be actively involved. The students also learn about the achievement gap, why education is so important, and how they can get involved. After parents and youth have taken part in the workshops, they join the community dialogues and exchange ideas with others in the community.

"We need to get everybody involved. It has to be a community effort," Chávez Chávez said.

Many different people have signed up to take part in the community dialogues such as judges, community officials, city counselors, NMSU faculty and Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman's office representatives.

"I think it's the first step of getting the community talking about important issues," said Michelle Valverde, coordinator of BC2E2.

The program is funded through the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Lograr Institute and is sponsored by the NMSU College of Education. For more information about the BC2E2 project please email Michelle Valverde at mvalverde@zianet.com.