Public Square | Episode 406 | Rural Town Hall: Every Day Matters


FUNDING FOR THE PRODUCTION
OF PUBLIC SQUARE PROVIDED BY THE W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION.
WORKING TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN.
>>THIS PROGRAM IS THE RESULT OF A PARTNERSHIP
WITH MISSION GRADUATE, AND FUNDED LOCALLY BY UNITED
WAY OF CENTRAL NEW MEXICO. AND
>>THIS PROGRAM IS PART OF AMERICAN GRADUATE: LET’S
MAKE IT HAPPEN. A PUBLIC MEDIA INITIATIVE
MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC
BROADCASTING.>>SUCCESS IN SCHOOL, INDEED
IN LIFE, STARTS WITH SHOWING UP.
BUT BOOSTING ATTENDANCE RATE ISN’T EASY.
MAKING THAT HAPPEN IS THE SUBJECT OF OUR RURAL
EDUCATION TOWN HALL TODAY – ‘EVERY DAY MATTERS.’
I’M SARAH GUSTAVUS FROM NEW MEXICO PBS.
WELCOME TO THIS TOWN HALL GATHERING, PART OF AMERICAN
GRADUATE: LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN.
WE’RE JOINED TODAY BY TONY MONFILETTO, THE DIRECTOR OF
THE NEW MEXICO CENTER FOR SCHOOL LEADERSHIP.
RICHARD LUARKIE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF LAGUNA PUEBLO
AND A LONG-TIME EDUCATION LEADER IN HIS TRIBE.
AND AUDIE BROWN, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE
ESTANCIA SCHOOL DISTRICT. IN THE AUDIENCE ARE PARENTS,
STUDENTS, EDUCATORS AND COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS, ALL
READY TO OFFER THEIR VIEWS ON HOW TO TACKLE CHRONIC
ABSENCE. AND YOU CAN BE A PART OF THE
CONVERSATION ONLINE ON THE NEW MEXICO PBS WEBSITE AND
ON TWITTER. THE GRADUATION RATE
NATIONALLY IS 80%, BUT IN NEW MEXICO OUR RATE IS ABOUT
70%, AND IT’S EVEN LOWER IN RURAL AREAS, ABOUT 58%.
WHY DO STUDENTS DROP OUT? IT COULD BE POVERTY.
SOME NEED TO GO TO WORK TO HELP SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES
AND THEMSELVES. PARENTS OR OTHER FAMILY
MEMBERS WHO DIDN’T COMPLETE HIGH SCHOOL, OR HAD BAD
EXPERIENCES THEMSELVES, MAY NOT BE SUPPORTIVE.
SOME STUDENTS EXPERIENCE BULLYING.
AND NEW MEXICO HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST TEEN PREGNANCY
RATES IN THE NATION. THOSE CAN ALL ADD UP TO POOR
ATTENDANCE. FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES EACH
STATE TO FIND AND REPORT ON TRUANCY, CHRONIC ABSENCES,
AND MISSING AN EXTENDED AMOUNT OF SCHOOL FOR ANY
REASON, AND INCLUDES BOTH EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED
ABSENCES. MISSING JUST TWO DAYS A
MONTH MEANS 10% OF AN ACADEMIC YEAR.
STUDENTS WHO DON’T SHOW UP FOR CLASS DON’T LEARN, AND
IT’S NOT JUST READING, WRITING AND MATH THAT
THEY’RE MISSING, IT’S LIFE SKILLS AND RELATIONSHIPS
THAT WILL HELP THEM SUCCEED IN THE FUTURE.
THE PROBLEMS CAN START AT A VERY YOUNG AGE.
MISSING JUST TWO DAYS OF KINDERGARTEN EACH MONTH
MEANS STUDENTS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE PROFICIENT
READERS BY 3rd GRADE. BY 9th GRADE, ATTENDANCE
RECORDS ARE ONE OF THE STRONGEST PREDICTORS OF
GRADUATION. LET’S TURN TO OUR PANELISTS
TO GET THIS DISCUSSION STARTED ABOUT CHRONIC
ABSENCES. TONY MONFILETTO, START US
OFF. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT
YOU THINK WOULD BE EFFECTIVE IN ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE
HERE IN NEW MEXICO, IN ABOUT A MINUTE OR LESS?
BIG PICTURE.>>WE HAVE STARTED A NETWORK
OF SCHOOLS THAT ARE ALL AIMED AT YOUNG PEOPLE THAT
HAVE DROPPED OUT OR ARE OFF TRACK TO GRADUATION.
SO ESSENTIALLY, THE COMMUNITY OF KIDS THAT ARE
DISENGAGED FROM SCHOOL. AND WHAT WE’VE FOUND IS THAT
A MODEL THAT EMPHASIZES COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FOR THE
STUDENTS, LEARNING BY DOING, SO AN ACTIVE PARTICIPATION
IN THE LEARNING AS OPPOSED TO RECEIVING LEARNING
DIRECTLY FROM A TEACHER, AND THEN SUPPORT STRUCTURES FOR
YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES, THAT WHEN THOSE THREE THINGS
COME TOGETHER, THE IMPACT IS GREATER ON STUDENTS AND THE
ATTENDANCE RATE INCREASES AND THE AMOUNT OF LEARNING
INCREASES.>>RICHARD LUARKIE, WHAT
ABOUT YOU? CAN YOU SPEAK TO THE NEEDS
OF OUR NATIVE STUDENTS IN NEW MEXICO?
>>I THINK AS IT RELATES TO NATIVE STUDENTS AND THE
DROP-OUT RATE, ONE OF THE IMPORTANT THINGS IS THE
ARTICULATION OF DATA. WE DON’T DO A GOOD JOB OF
ARTICULATING DATA. SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT SCHOOLS
LIKE LAGUNA-ACOMA, SANTA FE INDIAN, NACA, YOU HAVE
PRACTICALLY 100% GRADUATION RATE.
BUT THE COHORT OF THAT CLASS, SAY A FRESHMEN CLASS
THAT COMES IN, IS A KID, MAYBE JUNIOR YEAR, PULLS OUT
FROM, SAY, SANTA FE INDIAN AND GOES TO ONE OF THE
SCHOOLS IN APS. WELL, IF THEY’RE NOT
TRACKED, THEN IT’S CAPTURED AS A DROP-OUT.
SO I THINK THAT’S A VERY IMPORTANT PIECE TO BE ABLE
TO ARTICULATE. I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO
UNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING FACTORS AND THE UNDERLYING
CURRENTS THAT ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THAT AND HOW
WE INTERPRET DROP-OUT RATES.>>AUDIE BROWN, YOUR
THOUGHTS.>>IN ESTANCIA, ACCORDING TO
STATE DATA, THE ATTENDANCE RATE IS NOT OVERLY NEGATIVE.
THERE ARE DEFINITE AREAS THAT WE CAN IMPROVE UPON.
AND WE’RE LOOKING INTERNALLY AS TO HOW WE CAN ADDRESS
THEM, SUCH AS LATE NIGHT ATHLETIC EVENTS, ACTIVITIES.
BUT EVEN MORE SO, THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS, WHILE
WE’RE DOING OKAY AS FAR AS THE EXCUSED ATTENDANCE
RATE — THE UNEXCUSED, I SHOULD SAY, THE EXCUSED
ATTENDANCE RATE IS THE CONCERN.
WE HAVE FOLKS THAT BELIEVE THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE
EXCUSED, THAT THAT IS A GOOD ENOUGH REASON FOR THEM NOT
TO HAVE TO BE IN SCHOOL, AND THAT IS A CHALLENGE THAT
WE’RE CURRENTLY FACING. THE ATTENDANCE RATE, THE
EXCUSED ATTENDANCE RATE, IS SOMETHING THAT WE REALLY
NEED TO LOOK AT. SIMPLY BECAUSE A CHILD IS
EXCUSED FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, THEY’RE STILL NOT
IN SCHOOL, AND THAT IS THE DIRECT CHALLENGE THAT WE’VE
GOT TO ADDRESS.>>THOSE ARE SOME GREAT
POINTS TO GET US STARTED. WE DEFINITELY WANT TO ALSO
HEAR FROM STUDENTS. THEY’RE AN IMPORTANT PART OF
THIS CONVERSATION, AND THEY’RE AT THE HEART OF THIS
CRISIS IN ATTENDANCE. WE VISITED FOUR SCHOOLS IN
CENTRAL NEW MEXICO TO TALK TO STUDENTS AND GET AN
UNDERSTANDING OF THE ROADBLOCKS THEY FACE.
WITH THE HELP OF TWO NEW MEXICO NONPROFITS,
LEARNING ALLIANCE AND LITTLE GLOBE, WE WENT TO BERNALILLO
HIGH SCHOOL, ESTANCIA HIGH SCHOOL, LAGUNA HIGH SCHOOL,
AND THE SCHOOL OF DREAMS ACADEMY IN LOS LUNAS.
LET’S START WITH WHAT STUDENTS SAID ENGAGES THEM
AND WHAT THEY THINK THEIR FELLOW STUDENTS WOULD NEED
TO WANT TO COME TO SCHOOL AND HAVE GOOD ATTENDANCE.
>>MAKE OUR STUDENTS REALLY ENJOY COMING TO SCHOOL
INSTEAD OF JUST, OH, I GOTTA GO TO SCHOOL.
MAKE IT A GOOD THING TO COME TO SCHOOL.
MORE CLUBS, MORE PROGRAMS TO BE INVOLVED IN.
MORE, UMM, TEACHERS TO REALIZE WHAT STUDENTS DREAMS
ARE AND HOW THEY EFFECT THEIR LIVES, AND HOW THE
TEACHERS IMPACT A STUDENT’S LIFE.
>>I WOULD DEFINITELY THROW IN SOME SPORTS AT THE SCHOOL
AND SOME EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, JUST BECAUSE I
FEEL LIKE KIDS THAT GO HERE WOULD, I GUESS, ENJOY IT
MORE IF THERE WERE EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
AND LIKE SPORTS AT THE SCHOOL AND STUFF.
AND I ALSO FEEL THAT IF WE DID HAVE SPORTS HERE, THEN
OUR KIDS THAT GO HERE, THEIR GRADES WOULD BE MUCH BETTER.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE, LIKE, GOOD GRADES AND STUFF TO BE ABLE
TO JOIN THE SPORTS, AND I THINK IF KIDS WANT TO JOIN
THE SPORT ENOUGH, THEN THEY WOULD KEEP THEIR GRADES UP.
>>TO IMPROVE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, I WOULD TALK TO,
LIKE, EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT AND FIND OUT WHAT
THEY WANT TO DO WHEN THEY’RE OLDER, AND THEN TRY TO,
LIKE, INVOLVE THAT INTO THEIR SCHOOL LEARNING NOW.
>>LIKE, THEY SHOULD START SHOWING LIKE 10th AND UP
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE REAL WORLD, LIKE PAYING BILLS,
TAXES AND STUFF LIKE THAT. SO THAT WAY WE KNOW HOW TO
DO IT, INSTEAD OF JUST GETTING HIT THE DAY BEFORE
COLLEGE, GETTING ALL THAT STUFF, THAT PRESSURE, AND
NOT EVEN KNOWING HOW TO DO IT.
BUT NOW, LIKE, THEY TEACH IT, AND WE KNOW HOW TO GET
SOMEWHAT OF IT DONE.>>SO, I WANT TO HEAR FROM
OUR AUDIENCE NOW. WHAT DO YOU THINK ENGAGES
STUDENTS, REALLY MAKES THEM WANT TO SHOW UP FOR SCHOOL
EVERY DAY? ESPECIALLY FROM OUR
STUDENTS, I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
IS THERE ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO COME TO
SCHOOL?>>I THINK PERSONAL
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN BOTH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS REALLY
MAKES STUDENTS WANT TO COME TO SCHOOL.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE THAT STRONG PERSONAL CONNECTION
BETWEEN BOTH YOUR TEACHERS AND YOUR PEERS, WHY WOULD
YOU WANT TO COME? YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE
BEING THERE. YOU’RE LIKE, I DON’T KNOW
ANY OF THESE PEOPLE, I’M SO UNCOMFORTABLE HERE, I’M
SURROUNDED BY STRANGERS, I DON’T WANT TO GO.
>>I KNOW WE HAVE SOME TEACHERS IN THE AUDIENCE.
HOW DO YOU BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS
AND MAKE THEM THEY FEEL WELCOMED AND INVITED?
>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I’VE DONE IN THE PAST IS, I
DO TRY TO GET TO KNOW THE STUDENTS AND A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THEM. LIKE THEY SAID, GET TO KNOW
SOME OF WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.
I’M INVOLVED IN THE EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,
AND I GET THEM INVOLVED IN THAT, AND JUST KIND OF HAVE
FUN WITH IT, AND ENJOY IT. YOU CAN JOKE AROUND AND
LEARN AT THE SAME TIME. AND LIKE THEY SAID, AND I
LEARNED A LONG TIME AGO, BACK 29 YEARS AGO, THE KIDS
DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW TO KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE.
SO YOU DO NEED TO CARE. YOU NEED TO FEEL CONNECTION,
LIKE SHE SAID.>>AUDIE BROWN, I WANT TO
HEAR FROM YOU. ARE SPORTS AN EFFECTIVE WAY
TO MAKE STUDENTS FEEL ENGAGED IN THE CLASSROOM?
SOMETIMES YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAYING SPORTS ARE A
DISTRACTION.>>THAT’S A VERY INTERESTING
QUESTION. IT’S KIND OF A DOUBLE-EDGED
SWORD. IT DEFINITELY CAN BE A
MOTIVATING FACTOR FOR STUDENTS TO WANT TO ATTEND
SCHOOL. IT CAN ALSO BE ONE THAT, AS
I MENTIONED DURING THE OPENING STATEMENT, CAN BE A
CHALLENGE FOR STUDENTS WHENEVER THEY ARE AT AN AWAY
ACTIVITY, AND THEN BY THE TIME THEY GET IN IT IS VERY
LATE IN THE EVENING OR EARLY IN THE MORNING, AND THEY
HAVE TO GET UP EARLY AND GO TO SCHOOL.
SO IT CAN BE DEFINITELY, FROM THE STUDENTS THAT I
HAVE TALKED TO, IT’S DEFINITELY MORE OF A
MOTIVATOR AND A REASON TO COME TO SCHOOL, AS OPPOSED
TO THE OPPOSITE.>>TONY, THE SCHOOLS THAT
YOU’VE STARTED, DO THEY HAVE SPORTS?
>>WE DO. I’D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THIS
FROM A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I WAS A HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE.
NOT A GREAT HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE, BUT I WAS A HIGH
SCHOOL ATHLETE. AND THE BEAUTY OF SPORTS IS
THAT THERE’S A GAME. YOU PRACTICE AND YOU GET
READY FOR A GAME. THERE’S REAL LIFE AT THE
END. FRIDAY NIGHT, YOU KNOW,
YOU’RE PLAYING AND THERE’S SOMETHING AT STAKE, AND YOU
PRACTICED FOR A PURPOSE BECAUSE THERE WAS A GAME AT
THE END OF THE WEEK. AND I THINK A LOT OF THE
PROBLEM WITH SCHOOL IS THAT YOU’RE PRACTICING, BUT
THERE’S NO GAME, THERE’S NO EVENT THAT YOU’RE GETTING
READY FOR. THERE MAY BE A STANDARDIZED
TEST AT THE END, BUT IS THAT REALLY SOMETHING THAT YOU
WOULD GO TO SCHOOL FOR EVERY DAY AND DIG INTO AND WORK AT
TO BE READY TO PERFORM FOR? I THINK THE THEATER EXAMPLE
IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. YOU AUDITION, YOU PRACTICE,
AND THERE’S A SHOW, AND IT’S ALL ON THE LINE AND YOU
REALLY WANT TO BE READY FOR THE SHOW.
I THINK THAT SCHOOL COULD BE MUCH MORE LIKE THAT THAN
WHAT IT IS NOW, WHICH IS A LOT OF PRACTICE, BUT NOTHING
AT THE END OF THE PRACTICE.>>ACTIVITIES CERTAINLY
AREN’T LIMITED TO SPORTS. WHAT ABOUT ART, THEATER,
DANCE, BAND, ANY OTHER KINDS OF ACTIVITIES?
ANY STUDENTS INVOLVED IN THOSE AT YOUR SCHOOL?
>>I’M INVOLVED IN A NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH COUNCIL, AND
I THINK THAT HELPS ME A LOT BECAUSE I DO WANT TO STAY IN
THAT, BUT TO DO SO I HAVE TO KEEP MY GRADES UP.
SO I FEEL THAT’S A GOOD POINT, TOO.
>>WHAT DO YOU DO IN THAT COUNCIL?
>>I AM THE PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE.
SO WHATEVER EVENTS, I’M THERE SAYING WHAT WE DO.
THERE’S MIDDLE SCHOOL TOURS OF OUR HIGH SCHOOL, AND I’M
THERE TELLING THE STUDENTS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO
BECOME A PART OF THIS GROUP, WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO KEEP
THAT ROLE.>>IS YOUR GROUP TALKING
ABOUT NATIVE CULTURES, SHARING SOME OF YOUR THINGS
FROM YOUR OWN TRIBE?>>YES, WE DO DO THAT, AND
WE MOSTLY TRY TO GET THE WHOLE SCHOOL INVOLVED IN
THOSE EVENTS, AS WELL.>>RICHARD LUARKIE, WHAT
ABOUT THAT, HEARING A YOUNG NATIVE PERSON BEING INVOLVED
IN THAT IN THEIR SCHOOL? DO YOU THINK THAT’S AN
EFFECTIVE WAY FOR STUDENTS TO HAVE SOME PRIDE IN THEIR
CULTURE AND ALSO BE INVOLVED IN SCHOOL, HELPING STUDENTS
LEARN?>>IT’S WONDERFUL HEARING
WHAT HE SAID, AS WELL AS THE OTHER STUDENTS AND THEIR
COMMENTS. LIKE TONY, A LITTLE BIT OF
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, AS WELL, IN THAT I GOT TO
COLLEGE ON A FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP, BUT I COULDN’T
GET THERE IF MY GRADES WERE NOT IN CHECK.
A BIG MOTIVATOR FOR THAT WAS, MY GRANDMOTHER RAISED
ME, SO WE DIDN’T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO PAY FOR A
COLLEGE EDUCATION. SO I KNEW THERE HAD TO BE
ANOTHER SOURCE. BUT HER AS A MOTIVATOR, AS
WELL. I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS IN
COLLEGE, I MIGHT NOT HAVE DONE WELL ON A TEST, AND I
GOT HOME THINKING I’M GOING TO BE ABLE TO STAY HOME, BUT
I NEVER GOT THE SENSE OF, YOU’RE GOING TO STAY HERE
FOREVER. THE QUESTION I GOT BACK WAS,
WHEN ARE YOU GOING BACK? SO I THINK TO WHAT HE’S
TALKING ABOUT, THE ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THOSE
TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS, WHETHER IT’S ATHLETICS,
WHETHER IT’S BAND, WHETHER IT’S STUDENT COUNCIL,
WHATEVER IT IS, IT BRINGS THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE
WITH OTHERS, IT BRINGS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEEPEN,
BROADEN AND ELEVATE YOUR OWN INTELLECT.
BECAUSE IN MY MIND, IT’S NOT A RACE ISSUE.
IT’S NOT ABOUT NATIVE AMERICAN, HISPANIC, BLACK,
ASIAN, WHATEVER. WE’RE ALL BLESSED WITH
TALENT, WITH INTELLECT, AND WE ALL HAVE TO RECOGNIZE AND
ACKNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATE THAT IN ONE ANOTHER.
SO I THINK TEACHERS HAVE A GIFT TO PULL THAT OUT OF OUR
YOUNG PEOPLE.>>WHAT ABOUT CHALLENGES?
WE CAN SAY THAT THIS IS GREAT TO DO SPORTS, OR TO DO
ART, OR TO DO ALL THESE ACTIVITIES, BUT WE ALL KNOW
THAT YOU STILL HAVE TO STUDY, YOU STILL HAVE CORE
THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO LEARN, YOU HAVE TO DO
TESTING. DO YOU FEEL A CHALLENGE?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T REALLY HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO
DO ALL OF THESE THINGS?>>YEAH, I DO FEEL LIKE WE
HAVE CHALLENGES, BECAUSE THERE ARE SOMETIMES DURING
TRIBAL ACTIVITIES THAT I COME HOME FROM OUR VILLAGE
AND GET MY BACKPACK OUT AND HAVE TO DO HOMEWORK.
IT CAN BE ABOUT 10:00, AND I HAVE TO STUDY FOR A TEST
THAT’S TOMORROW, TAKES ME ABOUT A COUPLE OF HOURS.
BY THE TIME I GO TO BED, IT’S LIKE 1:00.
I GET UP THE NEXT MORNING, I’M TIRED FOR THE TEST,
WORRIED IF I PASSED IT OR NOT.
SOMETIMES I DON’T, SOMETIMES I DO.
>>MARK, DO YOUR TEACHERS HELP YOU?
ARE YOU WORKING WITH YOUR TEACHERS TO SAY, MAYBE I
NEED AN EXTENSION, MAYBE I NEED A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA
TIME SINCE I HAVE THIS OTHER OBLIGATION?
>>YES, I DO. OVER SPRING BREAK, ACTUALLY,
I HAD TRIBAL OBLIGATIONS, AND WE HAD AN ESSAY DUE IN
MY ENGLISH CLASS, AND I TOLD THEM, I HAVE STUFF TO DO
OVER THE SPRING BREAK AND I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND, AND
THEY SAID, YEAH, THAT’S FINE, YOU CAN TURN IT IN
NEXT WEEK.>>IS THE LESSON ASKING
EARLY, IN ADVANCE, INSTEAD OF AFTER IT’S DUE?
>>YEAH.>>ANY OTHER STUDENTS?
YOU KNOW, THERE’S LOTS OF OBLIGATIONS THAT YOU
PROBABLY HAVE. YOU MAY WORK, YOU MAY NEED
TO HELP TAKE CARE OF YOUNGER BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
ANY OTHER CHALLENGES THAT KEEP YOU FROM ENGAGING AS
MUCH AS YOU MIGHT WANT TO AT SCHOOL?
>>SINCE I COME FROM THREE PUEBLOS, SAN FELIPE, ISLETA
AND SAN ILDEFONSO, THERE ARE DIFFERENT OBLIGATIONS WITHIN
DIFFERENT PUEBLOS, AND IT’S GOING TO BE HARD DURING,
LIKE YOU SAID, SPRING BREAK WHEN I HAVE ALL THOSE
OBLIGATIONS, ALL THOSE DANCES.
AND SINCE I’M A BIG PERSON WHO LIKES TO PARTICIPATE,
I’LL HAVE HOMEWORK TO DO DURING THE MIDDLE OF THOSE
DANCES. WHEN WE HAVE BREAKS, OH,
I’VE GOT TO GO DO MY HOMEWORK.
I GOT TO GO RUN TO MY GRANDMA’S HOUSE, WRITE IT
DOWN, COME BACK TO THE VILLAGE, AND THEN GO
PARTICIPATE AGAIN. AND THEN WHEN I HAVE ANOTHER
BREAK, GO BACK TO MY GRANDMA’S HOUSE AND WRITE
ANOTHER SENTENCE OR TWO, DEPENDING ON WHAT’S
HAPPENING. AND IT’S A BIG HASSLE,
BECAUSE US AS NATIVE AMERICANS, WE HAVE DIFFERENT
ISSUES WITHIN OUR PUEBLOS, ALSO.
NOT WITHIN OUR TRIBAL LAND, BUT WITH OUTSKIRTS.
WITHIN SCHOOLS, WORK. AND IT’S HARD, BECAUSE I
COME FROM OTHER PUEBLOS. I GOT TO DRIVE — MY MOM AND
MY DAD HAVE TO DRIVE ME TO SAN ILDEFONSO JUST TO
PARTICIPATE, AND WE’VE GOT TO RELY ON MY GRANDPA OR MY
AUNTIE JUST TO DRIVE ME BACK HOME.
BUT THEN AGAIN, IT’S ALWAYS ASKING EARLY TO THE
TEACHERS, CAN YOU ASSIGN ME THIS ESSAY OR THIS WORK A
WEEK BEFORE, SO I CAN GET IT DONE SO I HAVE THAT TIME?
>>ADAM IN THE VIDEO ALSO MENTIONED THAT IT WOULD BE
GREAT IF CLASSES TALKED ABOUT MORE REAL WORLD THINGS
THAT YOU ALL KNOW THAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO DO.
PAYING BILLS, PREPARING FOR A JOB, PREPARING FOR THINGS
THAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER SCHOOL.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
DO YOU THINK THAT LESSONS TIED INTO REAL LIFE WOULD
MAKE YOUR CLASSES MORE INTERESTING?
>>I HAVE A CLASS THAT DEALS WITH PERSONAL FINANCE AND
TEACHES YOU HOW TO TAKE CARE OF A BANK ACCOUNT, AND I
FOUND IT VERY ENLIGHTENING, BECAUSE IT REALLY HELPED.
BECAUSE YOU TAKE CARE OF A FAKE PERSON’S ACCOUNT AND
YOU HAVE TO BALANCE AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WORKS.
BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS A VERY GOOD CLASS, BECAUSE I DIDN’T
KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING WHEN IT FIRST STARTED.
>>WHAT ABOUT OUR PANEL? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT
IDEA OF, MAYBE WHAT WE’RE USING, THE EXAMPLES THAT
WE’RE USING IN THE CLASSROOM, TYING THEM BACK
INTO THE THINGS THAT TEENS NEED TO KNOW FOR TESTING,
TYING IT BACK INTO THOSE CORE CURRICULUMS, BUT GIVING
THEM SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN RELATE TO?
>>I CAN TELL YOU, WHEN I WAS A CLASSROOM TEACHER
MYSELF, THAT WAS ONE AREA THAT I TRULY FOCUSED ON.
NOT ONLY DID I HELP THEM UNDERSTAND HOW TO BALANCE A
CHECKBOOK, AND ADD DEPOSITS AND TAKE AWAY WITHDRAWALS,
BUT I ALSO WENT INTO DETAIL ABOUT FUTURE POSSIBILITIES
AS FAR AS DIFFERENT PROFESSIONS.
WHETHER DOCTOR, TEACHER, LAWYER, PLUMBER, VARIOUS
OCCUPATIONS, AND THE SALARIES THAT WERE
ASSOCIATED THEREWITH. AND THEN WE BROUGHT IN HOW
MUCH IT WOULD BE TO PAY A MORTGAGE, ELECTRICITY, GAS,
A NEW VEHICLE, GAS FOR THAT VEHICLE, INSURANCE, AND THE
LIST GOES ON. AND THE STUDENTS TOLD ME
TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT THAT WAS WHAT THEY FOUND
INCREDIBLY VALUABLE. I CAN TELL YOU AS A
SUPERINTENDENT, IT IS SOMEWHAT FRUSTRATING THAT WE
DON’T HAVE AS MUCH TIME NOWADAYS TO BE ABLE TO DO
THAT, AND I THINK THAT THAT IS KIND OF THE BLOCK,
CREATING A BLOCK THAT IS CREATING SOME OF THE
DISENGAGEMENT BETWEEN STAFF AND STUDENTS, IS THE FACT
THAT WE HAVE SO MUCH TESTING THAT IS TAKING PLACE IN OUR
CLASSROOMS. WHILE IT’S TRUE THERE AREN’T
SO MANY TESTS FROM THE STATE, THERE ARE END-OF-YEAR
EXAMS. THERE IS THE NOW PARCC
ASSESSMENT. WE’VE GOT THE TWO PARCC
ASSESSMENTS, EVEN THOUGH THERE’S DISCUSSION TO MAKE
IT ONE. WE’VE GOT END OF COURSE
ASSESSMENTS, END OF CHAPTER ASSESSMENTS, ASSESSMENT
ASSESSMENT ASSESSMENT. SO IT’S TOUGH ON THE
CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO GET FULLY ENGAGED AS A RESULT
THEREOF.>>RICHARD, DO YOU WANT TO
PICK UP ON THAT A LITTLE MORE?
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER HAVING STUDENTS FEEL THEIR
INTELLECT AND WHAT THEY CAN BRING AND WHAT THEY CAN
LEARN, AND CONNECTING THAT TO A CAREER, TO A FUTURE
AFTER SCHOOL, AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS CONVERSATION.
>>ABSOLUTELY. ON THE YAHOO.COM WEBSITE,
SOME OF YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN THE NEWS ARTICLE, OR ON THE
NEWS SECTION OF THE WEBSITE THEY WERE SHOWCASING A
TEACHER IN COLORADO WHO WAS TRYING TO LEARN HER STUDENTS
A LITTLE BETTER, 3rd GRADERS, SO SHE ASKED THEM
TO ANSWER THE QUESTION: I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW.
AND MIND YOU, 3rd GRADERS. SO AS AN EXAMPLE, SOME OF
THE RESPONSES WERE, I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW I HAVE NO
PENCILS AT HOME TO DO MY HOMEWORK.
I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW I MISS MY DAD BECAUSE HE GOT
DEPORTED SIX YEARS AGO AND I HAVE NOT SEEN HIM IN SIX
YEARS. BY THE SAME TOKEN, IT ALSO
SAID, I WISH MY TEACHER KNEW I WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE.
SO IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO BE ABLE TO POSE THAT SAME
QUESTION, BUT REPLACE TEACHER WITH PARENT.
I WISH MY PARENT KNEW THAT I NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS.
>>TONY, I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU JUST A MOMENT TO CLOSE
OUT THIS CONVERSATION ON ENGAGEMENT, AND MAYBE
FOLLOW-UP ON SOME THINGS.>>I THINK ONE OF THE
PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE IN SCHOOL IS THAT WE THINK OF
SCHOOL AS PREPARATION FOR LIFE INSTEAD OF THINKING
ABOUT SCHOOL IS LIFE. I MEAN, YOU GUYS ARE LIVING
AND YOU’RE IN SCHOOL, AND SCHOOL COULD BE MUCH MORE
IMPORTANT IN A DAILY WAY TO THE LIVES OF THE YOUNG
PEOPLE THAT WE SERVE. THE COMMUNITY IS FULL OF
RICH PROBLEMS THAT IF WE ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE IN
HELPING US SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS, THERE WOULD BE AN
INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO FEEL
LIKE WHAT I DO TODAY MATTERS.
IT IS MY LIFE NOW. IT’S NOT PREPARATION FOR
LATER IN LIFE. AND WE’VE GOT TONS OF
EXAMPLES OF YOUNG PEOPLE ENGAGING IN THE COMMUNITY TO
SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS AND FEELING A REAL SENSE OF
VALUE FROM BEING A PROBLEM-SOLVER FOR THEIR OWN
COMMUNITY.>>GREAT POINT.
WE’LL GET TO SOME MORE OF THAT IN A LITTLE BIT.
WE’D LIKE TO MOVE ON, THOUGH, TO TRANSPORTATION.
THAT IS AN ISSUE SPECIFIC TO RURAL NEW MEXICO THAT WE
WANT TO TALK ABOUT. GETTING TO SCHOOL ISN’T
ALWAYS EASY. RURAL AREAS HAVE FEW PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS AND LONG DISTANCES TO TRAVEL.
SOME DISTRICTS DON’T HAVE BUSES FOR STUDENTS.
POOR DISTRICTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE
TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES THAN RICH ONES.
WE KNOW THAT’S AN ISSUE HERE FOR MANY DISTRICTS IN
NEW MEXICO, AND SMALL DISTRICTS HAVE LESS TO SPEND
ON TRANSPORTATION. SO, HOW BIG OF A BARRIER IS
TRANSPORTATION, AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
LET’S LISTEN TO WHAT SOME STUDENTS TOLD US.
>>MY DAD WORKS IN ALBUQUERQUE AND MY MOM WORKS
NIGHTS IN ALBUQUERQUE, AND SINCE SCHOOL STARTS AT 8:00,
I’M NOT ALWAYS ABLE TO GET HERE ON TIME.
SO MY MOM WILL GET BACK LATE AND SHE’LL JUST HAVE TO TAKE
US TO SCHOOL RIGHT AWAY. SO IT CAN BE A CHALLENGE TO
GET TO AND FROM SCHOOL. AND THERE ARE ALSO DAYS
WHERE IT’S LIKE, DURING TESTING I WASN’T SURE IF MY
DAD WOULD COME TO PICK MY BROTHER AND I UP, AND IT WAS
KIND OF UPSETTING.>>IT’S A LITTLE HARD.
IT DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER. I LIVE IN ADELINO.
I LIVE LITERALLY ON A FARM. SO WE HAVE TRACTORS SLIDING
OFF THE ROADS IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL.
WE DON’T HAVE PAVED ROADS EXACTLY WHERE I LIVE.
YOU HAVE TO GO DOWN THIS REALLY LONG DIRT ROAD, SO
YOU’VE GOT TO BE CAREFUL SOMETIMES BECAUSE THE BACK
END OF YOUR CAR WILL START TO SLIDE FORWARD.
THE TRACTOR GOT STUCK, AND THEY TRIED TO GET IT OUT
WITH ANOTHER TRACTOR, AND THAT TRACTOR GOT STUCK.
AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST TRACTORS WE HAD.
SO NO ONE COULD HAVE GONE ANYWHERE.
IF WE WANTED TO, WE HAD TO GO STRAIGHT THROUGH A FIELD.
>>IT’S HARD, BECAUSE I HAVE TO WAKE UP AT 4:30 IN THE
MORNING. I HAVE A TWO-HOUR BUS RIDE.
WE HAVE A REALLY LONG BUS ROUTE, AND WE HAVE TO GO UP
AND DOWN DIFFERENT DIRT ROADS.
AND USUALLY AROUND 5:45, 5:50, JUST DEPENDS ON THE
WEATHER AND ON WHO WE HAVE TO PICK UP, BECAUSE EACH
MORNING EVERYBODY HAS TO CALL THE BUS DRIVER.
IT’S HARD TO KEEP FOCUSED DURING SCHOOL, BECAUSE I’M
ALWAYS SO TIRED.>>I WOULD SAY
TRANSPORTATION COULD BE A PROBLEM, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE
NOT EVERYONE CAN GET A RIDE HERE.
SOME KIDS HAVE TO WALK, AND WE DON’T HAVE SCHOOL BUSES.
SO I THINK IF WE HAD BUSES, IT WOULD BE A LOT BETTER.
>>WHAT ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO ARE HERE IN THE
ROOM WITH US, WHAT DO YOU KNOW STUDENTS ARE FACING,
AND HOW IS IT IMPACTING THEM IF THEY HAVE TO DRIVE A LONG
DISTANCE, LIKE SHAYLYN SAID? SHE HAS AN INCREDIBLY LONG
DAY. WE THINK AS ADULTS HOW LONG
OUR COMMUTES CAN BE, HOW CHALLENGING THAT CAN BE TO
TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING THAT WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF WHEN
WE GET HOME. THAT’S A REAL CHALLENGE FOR
STUDENTS WHO STILL NEED TO READ OR STUDY OR MEET OTHER
OBLIGATIONS ONCE THEY’RE DONE FOR THE DAY.
>>I RUN AN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM AT BERNALILLO HIGH
SCHOOL, AND I WISH MY PROGRAM COULD LAST A LITTLE
LONGER BECAUSE MOST OF THE STUDENTS THAT COME INTO THE
CLUBHOUSE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO COMPUTERS AT HOME.
SO I’M THE ONLY PLACE THEY HAVE FOR A COMPUTER AFTER
SCHOOL, AND MANY OF THEM COME IN TO DO HOMEWORK AFTER
SCHOOL. SO OUR BUS, THE LATEST BUS
THEY CAN CATCH IS AT 5:00, AND SOME OF THEM HAVE A
45-MINUTE RIDE AT THAT POINT.
BUT IT’D BE NICE IF THE BUS RAN A LITTLE BIT LONGER.
SO THEY FACE THE ISSUE OF NOT BEING ABLE TO USE THE
APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT FOR MORE THAN AN HOUR AND A HALF
OR TWO HOURS A DAY.>>DOES THAT MEAN THEY’RE
NOT FINISHING THEIR WORK?>>SOME OF THEM DON’T FINISH
THEIR WORK. THEY HAVE TO COME THE NEXT
DAY. THE PAST FEW MONTHS, WE’VE
BEEN WORKING A LOT ON SENIOR THESIS ISSUES AND THINGS
LIKE THAT, AND IT’S JUST VERY DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO
FINISH THAT WORK, THEN, BECAUSE WHEN THEY GO HOME,
THERE’S NO COMPUTER, THERE’S NO PRINTER, THERE’S NOTHING
AT THE PUEBLO TO COMPLETE THAT TASK.
>>LET’S GO TO OUR PANELISTS.
WHAT ARE YOU HEARING IN YOUR COMMUNITIES THAT YOUNG
PEOPLE ARE FACING WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING TO AND FROM
SCHOOL AND THE IMPACT THAT THAT’S HAVING ON THEM IN THE
CLASSROOM? TONY, DO YOU WANT TO START?
>>WELL, OUR SCHOOLS ARE IN ALBUQUERQUE, BUT
TRANSPORTATION IS STILL A CHALLENGE.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM IN A
COMMUNITY, THE CHOICE IS ONLY AS VALID AS YOUR
ABILITY TO EXERCISE IT. SO IF YOU CAN’T GO TO THE
SCHOOL YOU WANT TO GO TO, AND YOU HAVE TO GET ACROSS
TOWN AND THERE’S NO SCHOOL BUS TO DO IT, IT’S A
SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE.>>BUT IS THERE A WAY THAT
SCHOOLS COULD SYSTEMICALLY LOOK AT THAT AND SAY, THIS
IS AN ISSUE, WE NEED TO MAKE THESE ACCOMMODATIONS TO
REALLY MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR STUDENTS?
>>WELL, I CAN’T SPEAK TO THE RURAL SITUATION, BUT I
KNOW IN ALBUQUERQUE THE SIMPLE GIVING YOUNG PEOPLE
BUS PASSES SO THEY CAN GET TO SCHOOL WITHOUT HAVING —
BECAUSE THE TRADITIONAL SYSTEM DOESN’T SERVE THEIR
NEIGHBORHOOD. AND TO GET THEM ACROSS TOWN
I THINK IS A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD KIND OF
SOLUTION.>>THE CHALLENGE THAT WE
FACE IS A SHORTAGE OF BUS DRIVERS, AND THAT IS
PROBABLY THE BIGGEST ISSUE THAT WE FACE ON A YEARLY
BASIS. IN ESTANCIA, WE PAY THE MOST
TO OUR BUS DRIVERS FOR THE TO AND FROM COMPONENT, AND
WE STILL HAVE A VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TIME RECRUITING.
AND EVEN RETAINING SOME OF OUR BUS DRIVERS.
>>DO YOU KNOW WHY THAT IS?>>I WISH THAT I KNEW.
WE HAVE TRIED AND TRIED TO TALK TO THESE FOLKS.
WE EVEN PAY FOR THE TRAINING.
WE PAY FOR THE ACTUAL LICENSING.
WE’RE DOING EVERYTHING WE POSSIBLY CAN TO ATTRACT AND,
AGAIN, RETAIN THESE BUS DRIVERS, AND IT IS STILL AN
INCREDIBLE CHALLENGE TO BE ABLE TO FIND THESE PEOPLE
WILLING TO DO SO.>>WE’RE GOING TO MOVE ON
NOW TO REVISIT SOMETHING THAT’S ALREADY COME UP A
LITTLE BIT. PARENTS, TEACHERS AND
ADMINISTRATORS CAN BE ENORMOUSLY HELPFUL IN
GETTING KIDS TO COME TO SCHOOL.
WE WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE
OF A STUDENT HAVING A CARING ADULT, MAYBE A TEACHER AS
SOME KIDS MENTIONED EARLIER, AN ART TEACHER, TO OFFER
CONSISTENT ADVICE AND HELP. AGAIN, LET’S HEAR FROM SOME
STUDENTS FROM THE HIGH SCHOOLS.
>>THE ADULTS IN MY LIFE ACTUALLY DO SUPPORT ME
BECAUSE, OF COURSE, THEY SEND ME TO SCHOOL EACH DAY.
EVEN WITH TRIBAL ACTIVITIES GOING ON THE DAY BEFORE,
THEY STILL TELL ME, ALL RIGHT, GO TO BED EARLY.
WE COULD GET HOME AT LIKE 1:00 IN THE MORNING; YOU’RE
GOING TO SCHOOL TOMORROW MORNING, GO TO SLEEP.
AND IT’S LIKE, I CAN’T GET A BREAK.
IT’S HARD SOMETIMES. BUT I THINK THEY DO A REALLY
GOOD JOB OF TRYING TO GET ME TO BE ACTIVE IN SCHOOL, AS
IN JOINING CLUBS, EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,
AND ALSO IN SCHOOL IN GENERAL, BECAUSE I KNOW THEY
DON’T WANT TO SEE ME FAIL.>>I’M ONLY WITH MY MOM AT
THE MOMENT, SO I KIND OF WISH THAT SHE WOULD BE MORE
CONCERNED ABOUT MY EDUCATION RIGHT NOW.
SHE’S ALWAYS GONE AND SHE’S NEVER ASKING ME HOW THINGS
ARE, AND THAT KIND OF MAKES ME FEEL LONELY, LIKE SHE’S
NOT CARING IF I’M DOING WELL OR NOT.
I FEEL LIKE IF SHE WOULD JUST TAKE THE TIME TO SIT
DOWN AND TALK TO ME ON OCCASION, I WOULD FEEL
HAPPIER. I WOULDN’T BE, LIKE, HAVING
ALL OF THESE EMOTIONS INSIDE ME JUST BOTTLING UP, AND
THEN WHEN I FINALLY DO TELL HER, IT ALL EXPLODES OUT AND
WE GET IN A HUGE FIGHT, AND THEN THINGS JUST END UP
WORSE.>>I’D LIKE TO START WITH
OUR PANEL ON THIS ONE. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE
STUDENTS, IT’S ALSO ABOUT THE FAMILIES.
SOME OF OUR FAMILIES IN NEW MEXICO, THE PARENTS ARE
WORKING ONE JOB, TWO JOBS, THREE JOBS.
THEY’RE SO BUSY. IS THERE A WAY THAT YOU
THINK PARENTS CAN BE A LITTLE MORE EFFECTIVE IN
REACHING OUT TO THEIR STUDENTS TO SUPPORT THEM,
MAYBE SOMETHING EASY THAT THEY COULD DO CONSISTENTLY?
>>THE PATHWAY TO LEARNING IS THROUGH SUPPORT.
YOU CAN’T LEARN UNLESS YOU FEEL SAFE.
YOU CAN’T TAKE INTELLECTUAL RISKS AND BE VULNERABLE AT
SCHOOL, OR ANYPLACE ELSE, UNLESS YOU FEEL SAFE.
SO I REALLY BELIEVE THE PATHWAY TO LEARNING IS
THROUGH SUPPORT, AND WHAT WE NEED ARE SCHOOLS THAT ARE
SAFER, SCHOOL CULTURES THAT ARE SAFER AND MORE
ACCOMMODATING TO YOUNG PEOPLE.
AND I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THERE’S SOME VERY GOOD
RESEARCH OUT THERE ABOUT FAMILY AND THE CONNECTION TO
YOUNG PEOPLE THAT, IF PARENTS SHARE THE TRIALS OF
THEIR OWN LIVES WITH THEIR CHILDREN, AND YOUNG PEOPLE
UNDERSTAND THAT LIFE IS A TRIAL AT TIMES, AND THAT
THEIR PARENTS ARE RESILIENT AND THEY CAME THROUGH AND
THEY ARE WHERE THEY ARE BECAUSE OF THEIR LIFE’S
JOURNEY, THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE MORE RESILIENT FOR
KNOWING THAT. AND SO WHEN YOU KNOW YOUR
OWN FAMILY HISTORY, YOU KNOW YOUR TRIBAL HISTORY, YOU
KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY, THAT MAKES YOU MORE
RESILIENT. SO I THINK IT IS SCHOOL
CULTURES GETTING SAFER, AND I THINK IT’S FAMILIES BEING
ABLE TO SHARE THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES WITH THEIR
CHILDREN.>>AUDIE, IF THE PARENTS ARE
INCREDIBLY BUSY AND THEY DON’T HAVE TIME TO SIT DOWN
WITH STUDENTS, DO TEACHERS AND STAFF HAVE THE TIME TO
DO THAT?>>AGAIN, THAT’S A MAJOR
CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE. I DO KNOW THAT WE HAVE SOME
TEACHERS THAT MAKE THE TIME, AND WE APPLAUD THEIR EFFORTS
CONSISTENTLY AND CONTINUALLY.
AND THAT’S WHAT’S SO EXCITING, TO BE AN
ADMINISTRATOR AND WATCH THAT IN ACTION, BECAUSE THOSE
CHILDREN, THOSE STUDENTS, THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING IN
THEIR POWER TO GET TO THAT TEACHER’S CLASSROOM AT ALL
COSTS, AND THAT IS SO ENLIGHTENING AND HEARTENING
FOR US AS AN ADMINISTRATION. BY THE SAME TOKEN, WE HAVE
SOME STAFF MEMBERS, JUST LIKE IN ANY PROFESSION, THAT
NEED A LITTLE GUIDANCE, A LITTLE PUSH TO OPEN THEIR
MINDS AND OPEN THE DOORS A LITTLE BIT MORE TO ACCEPTING
AND BEING MORE ENGAGING WITH THE STUDENTS, AND GET AWAY
FROM THE PAPERS THAT ARE YELLOW AND CRACKED AND
THEY’RE BRITTLE BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN USING THEM FOR
25 YEARS. WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO GET
THOSE TEACHERS TO BECOME MORE INTO THE MODERN WORLD
AT TIMES AND BE OPEN TO LISTENING TO THE STUDENTS,
AND SEEING WHAT IT IS THAT THEY FEEL IS IMPORTANT IN
THEIR LIVES, WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO NEED FOR THE
FUTURE, AND THAT IS, OF COURSE, TECHNOLOGY.
>>I REMEMBER AT ONE POINT READING SOME OF OUR OLDER
COUNCIL MINUTES FROM OLDER COUNCIL MEETINGS, AND THIS
ONE WAS FROM THE LATE 1960s, AND THE COUNCIL
MINUTES TALKED ABOUT — IN OUR PUEBLO, THE COMMUNITY
MEMBERS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT WHEN THERE’S WHAT
WE CALL NEEDS AND CONCERNS OF THE VILLAGE MEMBERS, IF
THERE ARE ISSUES THAT THEY WANT THE COUNCIL TO BE AWARE
OF AND ADDRESS. ONE OF THOSE CONCERNS IN THE
LATE SIXTIES WAS FROM THE COMMUNITY, FROM THE PARENTS,
THAT THE BUSES ARE COMING TOO EARLY NOW.
THEREFORE, THE KIDS ARE MISSING THE BUS.
COUNCIL, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.
THE COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNITY WAS, GET YOUR
KIDS UP EARLIER. IT WAS FROM A CHANGE IN TIME
FROM 7:10 TO 7:00 A.M. NOW, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT
SAME SITUATION IN THIS MODERN DAY AND AGE, WHAT
WOULD HAVE BEEN THE DIFFERENT RESPONSE?
THE COUNCIL MIGHT HAVE SAID, LET’S GO CALL THE SCHOOL, AS
OPPOSED TO SAYING, THAT’S A PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.
>>LET’S GO TO THE AUDIENCE NOW.
TELL US, WHO HAS BEEN THAT CARING ADULT WHO IS THERE
FOR YOU, WHO IS ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH SUPPORT,
ENCOURAGEMENT, AND WHAT DID THAT MEAN TO YOU?
>>MINE WOULD BE MY 11th GRADE TEACHER, WHICH WAS
LAST YEAR, MR. JARAMILLO. HE ACTUALLY GAVE ME A
NICKNAME, BECAUSE I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO STANFORD
COLLEGE, SO NOW HE CALLS ME, HEY, STANDARD.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING, STANFORD?
THAT WAS HIS NICKNAME FOR ME.
AND EVERY DAY, EVEN UNTIL NOW, HE’LL BE LIKE, HOW’S
YOUR GRADES? ARE YOU READY FOR STANFORD?
ARE YOU READY? AND EVEN WITH WHAT ONE OF
THE PANELISTS SAID ABOUT THE COUNCILMEN, I REMEMBER RIGHT
WHEN I WAS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, CLASS WOULD START AT 8:00.
NOW CLASSES START AT 7:26. THAT HUGE CHANGE OF TIME, IT
KIND OF MESSES THE DAYS UP NOW.
YOU KNOW HOW WE USED TO HAVE CLASS END AT LIKE 4:00 OR
3:00? NOW CLASS ENDS AT 2:26.
AND IT KIND OF MESSES UP MY KIND OF DAYS, AND I’VE GOT
TO DO MY WORK. WHEN I GO HOME, MY PARENTS
ARE LIKE, DO YOU HAVE WORK? DO YOU HAVE WORK TO DO?
CAN I HELP YOU ON YOUR WORK? AND I’M LIKE, NO OR YES.
WE’LL SIT DOWN AT THE TABLE AND THEY’LL TRY TO HELP ME,
AND THEN THEY’RE LIKE, WOW, I HAVEN’T SEEN THIS KIND OF
WORK SINCE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND THAT’S BEEN LIKE
HOW MANY YEARS AGO, I DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW TO DO THIS
ANYMORE, LET ME SEE YOUR NOTES, AND I’LL SHOW THEM MY
NOTES. I’M SORRY, I CAN’T REALLY
HELP YOU ON THIS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG.
MAYBE IF I TOOK ONE LESSON ON THIS, MAYBE I CAN HELP
YOU. BUT THEN, AGAIN, IT’S ALWAYS
DEPENDING ON WHAT YOUR PARENTS CAN HELP YOU WITH
AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO SUPPORT YOU.
AND BECAUSE WE AS NATIVE AMERICANS, WE BELIEVE IN
FAMILY, ALWAYS FAMILY COMES FIRST.
SO WHEN YOU GO TO A FAMILY GATHERING, THEY ALWAYS ASK
YOU, ARE YOUR GRADES OKAY? DO YOU NEED ANY HELP ON THIS
AREA? HOW CAN THE FAMILY HELP YOU?
AND WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THAT.
AND WE HAD THAT RECENTLY WITH THE FAMILY, WITH ME
TRYING TO GO TO THESE TWO CAMPS THIS SUMMER, COLLEGE
CAMPS TO STANFORD AND PRINCETON, AND THE FAMILY
SAID, WELL, HOW CAN WE HELP YOU OUT WITH THIS?
WHAT CAN WE DO? AND WITH THAT, WE HAD A
RAFFLE, AND IT’S STILL ONGOING WITH THE RAFFLE.
IT’S JUST THE HUGE SUPPORT FROM THE FAMILY IS WHAT
BENEFITS THAT ONE INDIVIDUAL, SUCH AS MYSELF.
>>I ACTUALLY HAVE TWO PEOPLE IN MY LIFE THAT HAVE
ACTUALLY SUPPORTED ME. MY MOTHER AND MY OLDER
SISTER. MY MOTHER IS TELLING US TO
DO GOOD NOW SO WE CAN BE GOOD IN THE FUTURE IN OUR
LIFE, WHILE OUR SISTER IS TELLING US, MY OLDER SISTER
IS TELLING US, TOO, IS TRYING TO SHOW US HOW TO DO
IT AND HOW TO GET TO THE BIG JUMP INTO THE GOOD LIFE AND
GET TO COLLEGE. RIGHT NOW, THEY ARE SHOWING
ME HOW TO GET THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL EASY ENOUGH SO I CAN
GET A JOB AND A NICE HOME AND GO TO A NICE COLLEGE AND
START MY OWN CAREER.>>I WANT TO HEAR FROM SOME
FOLKS IN THE AUDIENCE IN THE FURTHER BACK ROWS.
ANYONE HAVE A STORY THEY’D LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT HOW A
CARING, CONSISTENT ADULT REALLY HELPED YOU ACHIEVE
YOUR OWN GOALS IN SCHOOL?>>BACK WHEN I WAS IN HIGH
SCHOOL JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, MY FRENCH TEACHER WAS REALLY
INSPIRING TO ME, AND IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT BECAUSE MY
FAMILY DIDN’T GET HOW IMPORTANT FRENCH WAS AND HOW
EXCITING IT WAS TO ME. SO SHE WAS THIS REALLY GREAT
FIGURE. I COULD ALWAYS GO TO HER FOR
YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL FRIENDS TODAY.
SO HER STRENGTH SUPPORTED ME IN BEING DIFFERENT AND A
LITTLE BIT UNIQUE, AND HOW THAT’S TRANSLATED TODAY IS
TO A PROGRAM AT HIGHLAND HIGH SCHOOL THAT I CREATED
CALLED, ADOPT A FRESHY. BECAUSE THE REALITY IN
SCHOOLS TODAY IS, AT HIGHLAND HIGH SCHOOL WE HAVE
1400 STUDENTS AND 100 TEACHERS.
SO OUR REALITY IS IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR EVERY STUDENT
TO BE CONNECTED WITH A TEACHER.
I MEAN, THAT’S JUST IMPOSSIBLE.
SO TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE, AND THE IDEA THAT EVERY
SINGLE STUDENT WE HAVE IS AMAZING AND HAS A STORY TO
SHARE THAT WILL CHANGE THE LIFE OF SOMEONE ELSE, ALL OF
THEM, IS I’VE CREATED THIS PROGRAM WHERE EVERY SINGLE
FRESHMAN IS BEING LINKED UP WITH TWO TO THREE UPPER
CLASSMEN, AND THEY ARE GOING TO SERVE AS A MENTOR, AS A
TEAM, SO WE CAN HELP CONNECT OUR FRESHMEN TO HELP
GRADUATION RATES. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENT AND INNOVATIVE THAT’S NEVER BEEN DONE
BEFORE, AND WE NEED DIFFERENT PROGRAMS THAT ARE
CONNECTING KIDS OUTSIDE OF SPORTS, SO KIDS WHO DON’T
FIT IN, AND TREAT ALL OF OUR KIDS AS LEADERS.
SO WITH THE ADOPT A FRESHY PROGRAM, WE’RE REAL EXCITED
TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS AS WE’RE EXPERIMENTING, LITERALLY
CONNECTING ALL OF OUR KIDS. AND IT’S A HUGE GOAL, AND
IT’S MAKING A DIFFERENCE. ALREADY KIDS ARE STARTING TO
CONNECT, ARE REALLY ENGAGING IN DIFFERENT WAYS, AND
THEY’RE LIKE, WOW, I CAN DO THIS, I HAVE A STORY.
I SAID, YOU’RE REALLY SHY, I KNOW, BUT SOMEONE NEEDS YOUR
STORY.>>WHEN MY MOTHER WAS
NURTURING ME THROUGH SCHOOL, SHE DIDN’T FEEL WELCOME
UNTIL SOMEONE SAID TO HER, COME AND HELP US WITH SOME
VACCINATIONS. WE NEED PARENTS TO STAND IN
LINE AND HELP MOVE KIDS THROUGH THE VACCINATION
LINE. THAT WAS THE FIRST DAYS OF
POLIO VACCINATIONS. SINCE THEN, A GROUP KNOWN AS
THE NATIONAL PTA HAS REALLY WRAPPED THEIR ARMS AROUND
HOW ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO INVOLVE PARENTS IN THE
SCHOOLS, AND THE FIRST THING THAT THEY DO, AND WHAT THE
NEW MEXICO PTA IS DOING TODAY, IS LISTENING TO
PARENTS. WHAT ARE YOUR NEEDS?
WHAT’S GETTING IN THE WAY OF HELPING YOU GET YOUR CHILD
TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY? BECAUSE EVERY DAY MATTERS.
AND WE’RE HEARING FROM PARENTS THAT SOMETIMES IT’S
A BARRIER OF TRANSPORTATION, AND SO WE’RE FINDING THAT
CONNECTIONS TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY CAN HELP US PUT
SOME DOLLARS ON THEIR TABLE TO PROVIDE GAS CARDS FOR
PARENTS. THE PARENTS ARE TELLING US,
WE WISH WE COULD HAVE DOCS AND DENTISTS PROVIDE THEIR
TIME SLOTS AFTER SCHOOL HOURS SO OUR KIDS CAN STAY
IN SCHOOL ALL DAY, AND SO WE’RE WORKING WITH HEALTH
CARE PROVIDERS TO TRY TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT, IT’S TIME
TO MAKE YOUR HOURS MORE FLEXIBLE FOR CHILDREN WHO
ARE IN SCHOOL, BECAUSE EVERY DAY MATTERS.
AND THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS AS WE BEGIN TO LISTEN TO
PARENTS, JUST LIKE WE’RE LISTENING TO THE VOICES OF
STUDENTS TODAY, THAT WE CAN THINK OF NEW WAYS TO
INCENTIVIZE ATTENDANCE AND BREAK DOWN THOSE BARRIERS.
>>ABSOLUTELY. THOSE ARE SOME INTERESTING
COMMUNITY-ORIENTED SOLUTIONS.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE STUDENTS AND TEACHERS.
ANYONE ELSE WANT TO SHARE A SOLUTION?
>>I’M A RETIRED EDUCATOR. I RETIRED AFTER 36 YEARS IN
THE BUSINESS. AND I’M NOW WORKING WITH THE
INTERFAITH COALITION FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN
SANTA FE. WE ARE A TOTAL VOLUNTEER
ORGANIZATION, AND WE WORK WITH THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
IN SANTA FE AROUND ISSUES LIKE TRUANCY, TO MAKE
TRUANCY ACTUALLY A COMMUNITY ISSUE.
IT’S NOT A SCHOOL ISSUE, IN MY MIND, IT’S MORE A
COMMUNITY ISSUE. THE OTHER THING, WE’RE
WORKING ALSO WITH THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND
ALSO THE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS ENCOURAGING
EMPLOYERS TO GIVE PARENTS TIME OFF IF THEIR SCHOOL
ISSUES EFFECTING CHILDREN CAN BE RESOLVED, BECAUSE
WHEN I WAS A PRINCIPAL, I KNOW THAT SOMETIMES IT WAS
VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE PARENTS TO ACTUALLY COME TO
SCHOOL, BECAUSE THE QUESTION WAS, DO I LOSE INCOME OR DO
I GO TO SCHOOL?>>I HAVE A REALLY FORTUNATE
PERSPECTIVE, BEING A COMMUNITY MEMBER WHO’S
TRANSITIONED FROM SOLELY COMMUNITY MEMBER TO A
COMMUNITY MEMBER WHO HAS BEEN ABLE TO GO INTO SCHOOLS
AND ACTUALLY WORK WITH KIDS, AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING JUST ANY ADULT THERE TO LISTEN TO
THE KIDS’ FEARS, HOPES, DREAMS, ANYTHING, JUST
HAVING A CARING ADULT THERE JUST TO LISTEN IS SO
IMPORTANT. AND EVEN IF THERE ARE CARING
PARENTS OR CARING TEACHERS IN THEIR LIVES, FOR SOME OF
THESE KIDS THERE’S A NATURAL SORT OF I WANT TO SAY
AUTHORITATIVE DIVIDE BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR TEACHERS, OR
THEM AND THEIR PARENTS. SO THAT’S WHERE I FEEL
FORTUNATE AS A COMMUNITY MEMBER WHO SOME OF THEM LOOK
AT ME AS MAYBE JUST AN OLDER FRIEND TO TELL ME THINGS AND
TO BOUNCE THINGS OFF OF ME. I THINK THAT’S WHERE THE
COMMUNITY CAN COME AND FIT IN.
SO I DON’T WANT THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS OUT THERE
TO UNDERESTIMATE THEIR ROLE IN HELPING STUDENTS, IN
HELPING THEM REALLY ENJOY SCHOOL AND ENJOY GOING TO
SCHOOL.>>WE CAN KEEP TALKING ABOUT
THAT. THAT’S GREAT HEARING HOW
COMMUNITY MEMBERS CAN BE A PART OF THIS.
LET’S HEAR FROM SOME STUDENTS TALKING ABOUT THEIR
DREAMS AND WHAT THEIR VISION IS FOR THEIR FUTURE.
AS WE SAID, SHOWING UP CAN MEAN SUCCESS.
STUDENTS DO GET THAT. THEY UNDERSTAND THE
CONSEQUENCES OF NOT GRADUATING.
AND MANY OF THEM TOLD US THAT, AND THEY TOLD US ALSO
ABOUT THEIR DREAMS. LET’S TAKE A LISTEN.
>>LIKE, I HAVE TO COME TO SCHOOL.
I WANT TO GET A GOOD EDUCATION.
I WANT TO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL AND GET MY LITTLE
LIFE TOGETHER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL.
MY MOM, LIKE, AFTER — MY MOM PASSED AWAY, SO I FEEL
LIKE I SHOULD DO BETTER FOR HER, BECAUSE I KNOW SHE’S
WATCHING DOWN ON ME. SO I’M GOING TO DO BETTER
FOR HER. I’M NOT GOING TO MESS IT UP
FOR MYSELF. LIKE, I ALREADY MESSED UP
LAST YEAR, AND I REALIZE THAT THIS YEAR AND NEXT YEAR
IS GOING TO BE HARDER FOR ME, SO I’M GOING TO HAVE TO
DO BETTER FOR MYSELF AND MY FAMILY.
>>WHEN I DO DECIDE TO GO TO SCHOOL, IT’S BECAUSE, YOU
KNOW, NOT ONLY DO I JUST WANT TO LEARN NEW THINGS,
BUT, YOU KNOW, HIGH SCHOOL IS A GATEWAY TO COLLEGE,
WHICH IS A GATEWAY TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
AND FOR ME, I WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE TO GET, LIKE, A NICE
WELL-PAYING JOB SO I CAN BE SUCCESSFUL IN MY LIFE.
>>I GET UP BECAUSE I WANT A BETTER LIFE THAN MY MOM AND
BROTHER. THEY DIDN’T GRADUATE, AND
IT’S HARD ON THEM, AND I SEE HOW HARD IT IS.
SO I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THAT.
>>MY MOM, FROM A YOUNG AGE, HAS ALWAYS TAUGHT US THAT WE
NEED TO GET AN EDUCATION. AND I HAVE DREAMS IN MY
FUTURE. I WANT TO BECOME A
BEHAVIORAL ANALYST. I KNOW THAT IF I DO NOT
FINISH SCHOOL AND I DON’T GET A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA,
THAT THAT DREAM IS JUST GOING TO BE CRUSHED.
>>WOW, THE STUDENTS TALKED ABOUT THEIR DREAMS AND
HAVING SOMEONE THERE TELLING THEM THEY COULD DO IT, THEY
COULD ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS, THAT’S SO IMPORTANT.
ANYONE WANT TO SHARE A COMMENT ON THAT, ON HOW A
CARING, CONSISTENT ADULT CAN HELP A CHILD SEE THAT THOSE
DREAMS ARE ATTAINABLE FOR THEM?
>>IT WAS SURPRISING TO ME THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TO
HAVE STUDENTS COME IN AND TELL ME THAT THEY WERE
TERRIFIED TO GRADUATE. THEY WERE GOING TO GRADUATE,
BUT THEY WERE TERRIFIED, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT
THEY’RE GOING TO DO AFTER. AND I FEEL THAT THIS IS PART
OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS ADULTS.
AND TEACHERS HAVE HUGE JOBS. YOU KNOW, THEY CAN’T TAKE A
LOT OF TIME TO DO THIS. BUT WHEN THESE KIDS DON’T
UNDERSTAND — BEHAVIORAL ANALYST, THAT’S WHAT THAT
YOUNG LADY WANTS TO BE, A BEHAVIORAL ANALYST.
WHEN THESE GUYS FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT IF THEY WANT
TO BE AN ARTIST, THERE ARE 200 KINDS OF ARTISTS THEY
CAN BE, NOT JUST ONE. IT’S NOT JUST THAT THEY GO
BE A PAINTER, THEY CAN BE 200 DIFFERENT THINGS IN THAT
CAREER FIELD. AND THESE YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T
UNDERSTAND HOW MANY JOBS ARE OUT THERE, AND PART OF THAT
SUPPORT AND PART OF THAT ENCOURAGEMENT IS THAT WE CAN
ENCOURAGE THEM TO BE MANY THINGS, NOT JUST THE ONE OR
TWO THINGS THEY THINK THEY HAVE TO BE THAT WE TELL THEM
ABOUT. WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT BEING
MUSICIANS — YOU KNOW, I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH
SCREAMO AND HIP HOP I’VE LISTENED TO.
HOW MANY OF YOU KNOW WHAT SCREAMO IS?
OKAY, I KNOW YOU GUYS DO. I KNOW THAT.
[LAUGHTER]>>BUT LISTENING TO A LITTLE
SCREAMO AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THAT’S THEIR DREAM,
THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT BEING A GUY WHO’S SCREAMING ON A
MICROPHONE, THAT’S THEIR MUSIC.
JUST LIKE WE LISTENED TO THE BEATLES AND THAT’S WHAT WE
WANTED TO BE. SO IF WE CAN’T IDENTIFY WITH
THEIR DREAMS, IF WE CAN’T TELL THEM THERE ARE 3000
THINGS THEY CAN DO OUT THERE, THEN THEY DON’T HAVE
A DREAM, AND MANY OF THEM ARE TERRIFIED TO GRADUATE
BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO DO WITH
WHAT WE’VE BEEN PLOWING INTO THEIR BRAINS FOR 12 YEARS.
>>I THINK, SKYE, YOU HAD YOUR HAND UP, AS WELL.
>>I FEEL LIKE THE EMPHASIS ON GRADUATING IN A VERY
TRADITIONAL FASHION, IN A FULL DAY OF SCHOOL, IS A
LITTLE UNREALISTIC FOR SOME PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY IF
THERE’S LEARNING DISABILITIES OR MENTAL
ILLNESS, OR JUST A LOT OF PERSONAL FACTORS, AND THAT
THERE’S NOT ENOUGH SUPPORT FOR THAT.
ALSO, IF THEY JUST CAN’T SEE YOU.
I WAS AN HONOR ROLL STUDENT, AND I DROPPED OUT BETWEEN
8th AND 9th GRADE AND EVERYBODY WAS LIKE SHOCKED.
BUT I HAD SEVERELY BEEN BULLIED, I HAD BEEN ABUSED
AS A KID, AND I GOT PREGNANT.
THAT WAS THE BIG THING. AND I WAS TERRIFIED.
I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO HIGH SCHOOL.
I WAS SICK EVERY MORNING THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY
WERE GOING TO BEAT ME UP. BUT I GOT MY GED AS SOON AS
I WAS LEGALLY ALLOWED TO IN NEW MEXICO, AT 17, AND I
STARTED COLLEGE A YEAR-AND-A-HALF BEFORE MY
COHORTS, AND I GOT A BACHELORS AND TWO MASTERS.
THAT’S NOT A BIG DEAL, BUT I JUST MEAN, YOU CAN BE
SUCCESSFUL. BUT NOBODY SUPPORTED ME.
EVERYBODY TOLD ME, LIKE, OH, YOU’RE GOING TO BE ON
WELFARE, YOU’RE GOING TO BE A BAD MOM.
I JUST WISH THAT MORE PEOPLE HAD SUPPORT TO FIND
ALTERNATIVES IF THAT ENVIRONMENT IS JUST NOT
GOING TO WORK FOR YOU. LIKE, HELP ME FIND A
DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT INSTEAD OF WRITING ME OFF,
OR THE NEXT PERSON, BECAUSE WE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL.
>>WHAT IS IT, THOUGH, THAT MADE YOU, IF YOU WEREN’T
GETTING SUPPORT, WHAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU COULD
ACCOMPLISH THOSE THINGS?>>I DON’T KNOW.
I REALLY WANTED TO BE A GOOD PARENT, AND MY DAUGHTER IS
UP THERE WITH BLUE HAIR. I WAS SO ANGRY AT THE
REACTION OF EVERYONE AROUND ME THAT I KIND OF HAD THE,
WELL, I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU. LIKE, HOW DARE YOU KICK ME
OUT OF THE CHURCH AND, I DON’T KNOW, JUST LIKE ALL
THE NEGATIVE REACTIONS I GOT.
SO I THINK THAT REALLY SET UP A LEVEL OF DETERMINATION.
AND THEN LIKE, OKAY, WELL, I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO BE A
PARENT NOW, SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
YOU DO ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING YOU CAN.
>>ALONG WITH HAVING A SUPPORTIVE ADULT TO HELP
YOU, I THINK IT’S ALSO JUST AS IMPACTIVE IF YOU HAVE AN
ADULT FIGURE TELL YOU SOMETHING NEGATIVE.
THIS IS A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
LAST YEAR I WENT THROUGH A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH MY
CREDITS. I CAME FROM A DIFFERENT
STATE, AND MY CREDITS DIDN’T TRANSFER, SO I HAD
ABSOLUTELY NO CREDITS FOR MY SOPHOMORE YEAR.
AND AT THE SCHOOL I WAS PREVIOUSLY GOING TO, THE
SCHOOL SYSTEM THERE WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME.
I DIDN’T HAVE A COMPUTER AT HOME, AND I COULDN’T STAY
AFTER SCHOOL BECAUSE THE AREA IT WAS IN WAS NOT
EXACTLY THE SAFEST PLACE. I WAS DESPERATELY TRYING TO
GET HELP FROM MY TEACHERS, AND I WAS BEGGING THEM
SAYING, CAN YOU DO SOMETHING?
DO YOU HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE FOR ME?
I CANNOT DO YOUR WORK ONLINE.
I CAN’T DO IT. CAN YOU PLEASE DO SOMETHING?
AND TOWARDS THE END OF THE YEAR, STILL BEGGING MY
TEACHERS, ONE OF THEM TOLD ME STRAIGHT TO MY FACE, NO
MATTER WHAT YOU DO, YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GRADUATE.
IT STILL MAKES ME WANT TO CRY.
IT WAS PROBABLY THE WORST THING ANYONE HAS EVER TOLD
ME. NOW, IN MY SENIOR YEAR, I’M
SO HAPPY BECAUSE I HAVE A COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE, AS WELL
AS A SCHOLARSHIP, AND IT’S LIKE, YES!
IN YOUR FACE! [LAUGHTER/APPLAUSE]
>>ANYONE ELSE WANT TO SHARE HOW WE CAN ENCOURAGE YOUNG
PEOPLE TO SEE THEIR DREAMS AND REALIZE THEM?
WE HAVE SOMEONE IN THE BACK WHO HASN’T SPOKEN YET.
>>I WORK WITH AT RISK YOUTH, AND I FIND OUT WHAT
THEY’RE INTERESTED IN, AND I’VE BEEN BRINGING THEM TO
ALBUQUERQUE TO SHOW THEM CNM.
WE’VE BEEN TO THE PLACE THAT DOES MODELING AND ACTING.
AND I HAVE A LITTLE GAL RIGHT NOW WHO IS INTERESTED
IN DOING TV MAKEUP, AND I’VE BEEN WATCHING THIS GAL RUN
AROUND, SO I’M GOING TO GET HER NUMBER BEFORE I LEAVE
HERE BECAUSE SHE’S FUN. YOU KNOW, SHE’S NEAT, AND I
THINK THIS GIRL NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED TO SOMEBODY LIKE
THAT. BUT IT’S JUST TRYING TO
EXPOSE THEM TO SOMEBODY WHO IS REALLY ACTUALLY DOING IT,
THAT CAN REALLY SHOW THEM AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT,
AND PIQUE THAT INTEREST IN HOPES THAT THEY’LL STAY IN
SCHOOL AND GRADUATE AND MOVE ON.
>>ANYONE ELSE WHO HASN’T SPOKEN YET SO FAR TODAY WHO
WANTS TO SAY SOMETHING?>>ONE PERSON THAT’S BEEN
REALLY SUPPORTIVE FOR ME IS MY PSYCHOLOGY TEACHER.
SHE’S JUST ALWAYS MOTIVATIONAL IN EVERYTHING
THAT SHE TEACHES. SHE UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE
ARE HARDSHIPS THAT STUDENTS GO THROUGH, AND SOMETIMES
STUDENTS FALL ASLEEP IN CLASS.
THEY JUST HAVE NO MOTIVATION TO DO THEIR WORK BECAUSE OF
STUFF GOING ON AT HOME. AND SHE’S REALLY INSPIRED ME
TO DO WHAT I REALLY WANT AND NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHER
PEOPLE THINK ABOUT IT. SHE REALLY RELATES TO THE
STUDENTS A LOT AND GETS EVERYONE INTERESTED IN THE
WORK THAT THEY’RE DOING, AND I FEEL LIKE WE NEED MORE
PROGRAMS THAT STUDENTS ARE REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT.
LIKE, THERE’S NO CULINARY ARTS AT MY SCHOOL, OR
CHORUS, AND I THINK THAT STUDENTS NEED TO BE EXPOSED
TO THAT, BECAUSE HOW ELSE WILL THEY FIND THEIR
PASSION.>>ANYONE ELSE WANT TO TALK
ABOUT IDEAS THEY THINK WOULD ENCOURAGE MORE STUDENTS?
IN THE YELLOW SHIRT HERE.>>I CAME HERE AS AN ESL
STUDENT AT HIGHLAND HIGH SCHOOL, AND IF IT WASN’T FOR
MRS. REBECCA HOFF, I WOULDN’T BE HERE.
SHE REACH OUT TO ME AND SHE TEACH ME WHEN I DIDN’T
UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS IN THE TEXTBOOK, BUT I UNDERSTAND
THE CONCEPT, THE TASKS THAT NEED TO BE DONE.
ONE TIME WE WERE DOING CREAMPUFFS, AND IT FELL
BECAUSE MY TEAMMATE WOULDN’T LET ME DO ANYTHING.
SO I WENT HOME AND I READ THE BOOK, I FOLLOWED
DIRECTIONS, I MADE THE CREAMPUFFS, IT PUFF UP, AND
THE NEXT DAY I CAME INTO CLASS AND I GAVE IT TO HER
AND MY CLASSMATES, AND I SAID, I SHOW YOU!
[LAUGHTER]>>SO AFTER THAT, THEY
CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR TOWARDS ME SOMEWHAT.
BUT SHE DIDN’T INTERFERE, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND SHE
ADVOCATED FOR ME, SAYING THAT YOU DISCOUNTED THIS
KID, BUT BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T SAY VERY MUCH DOESN’T MEAN
SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. AND SO THAT’S JUST ONE
CARING TEACHER, WHAT MAKE ME HERE TODAY.
>>ANYONE ELSE WHO HASN’T SPOKEN YET?
GO AHEAD, SIR.>>I’M A VOLUNTEER WITH
SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, AND THIS IS NEW TO ME.
THEY’RE FINISHING NOW THEIR FRESHMAN PROGRAM, AND NEXT
YEAR THEY’LL HAVE A FRESHMAN/SOPHOMORE, AND WHAT
IT IS, THEY CALL IT INNOVATION ACADEMY.
THIS IS ORIENTED TOWARDS KIDS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH.
THEY DO PROJECTS WHERE EVERYTHING IS INTEGRATED, AS
OPPOSED TO THE TRADITIONAL SITTING IN A CLASSROOM
LEARNING ALGEBRA, GOING OVER THEM TAKING A — I GUESS IF
YOU’RE A FRESHMAN, IT’S BIOLOGY, AND SO ON.
IT’S INTEGRATED TOGETHER. SO ONE OF THE PROJECTS THAT
THEY’RE PLANNING FOR THE SOPHOMORES NEXT YEAR IS A
BIOSPHERE. THIS WILL BE A NINE-WEEK
THING. THEY’LL MAKE IT A CLOSED
ENVIRONMENT. THEY HAVE SOME THINGS —
THEY CAN ONLY USE THINGS THAT DON’T HAVE BACKBONES,
SO LIKE SHRIMP. IT’S AN ISSUE ABOUT ANIMALS.
THEY HAVE ONE ABOUT PACKAGING, SO IT’S A
BUSINESS ORIENTED ONE. ROBOTICS, THAT’S ALWAYS A
BIGGIE. I FORGET AT THE MOMENT THE
FOURTH ONE. BUT THE POINT IS, IT’S A NEW
TYPE OF NEW APPLICATION, PROJECT LEARNING, AS A WAY
TO INTEGRATE THINGS AND TO MOTIVATE KIDS TO STAY AROUND
AND BE MORE SUCCESSFUL.>>SO MANY CREATIVE IDEAS
HERE FROM OUR AUDIENCE. I WANT TO JUST CLOSE VERY
BRIEFLY WITH OUR PANEL. ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD
ABOUT WAYS THAT YOU THINK WE CAN HELP YOUNG PEOPLE SEE A
FUTURE FOR THEMSELVES, WHATEVER THAT MIGHT BE?
THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS.
TO SEE SOMETHING THAT’S POSITIVE FOR THEM THAT’S
GOING TO MAKE THEM WANT TO COME INTO SCHOOL, OR FINISH
ACADEMICALLY AND GET A GED, WHATEVER THEY NEED TO DO TO
MOVE ON AND ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS FOR THEMSELVES.
TONE, CLOSING THOUGHTS.>>I’D LIKE TO TURN IT ON
ITS HEAD AND SAY, IF YOU STARTED WITH THE PASSIONS OF
YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE VOICE AND BUILT OFF THE NARRATIVE
OF YOUNG PEOPLE, YOU WOULDN’T DESIGN THE SCHOOLS
THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE. YOU WOULD HAVE A MUCH
DIFFERENT KIND OF INSTITUTION THAN WE
CURRENTLY HAVE IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
AND IF YOU STARTED WITH THEIR VOICE AND DESIGNED
BACKWARD FROM THAT, YOU’D HAVE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
INSTITUTION. AND I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE
PEOPLE WORKING IN THESE INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE
TRAINED DIFFERENTLY. YOU WOULD HAVE PEOPLE THAT
UNDERSTAND AND KNOW ABOUT ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT.
THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND THE COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT OF
YOUNG PEOPLE. THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND THE
SUPPORT STRUCTURES NEEDED TO MAKE YOUNG PEOPLE FEEL SAFE
IN SCHOOL. THOSE KINDS OF THINGS ARE
THE NEW THINKING ABOUT SCHOOL THAT WE SHOULD BE
EMBRACING AS EDUCATORS, INSTEAD OF ASKING YOUNG
PEOPLE TO ADAPT TO STRUCTURES THAT ARE 100
YEARS OLD, HAVEN’T CHANGED IN THE LAST CENTURY.
WE SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT REDESIGNING AROUND THE VOICE
OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SERVED BY THOSE SCHOOLS.
>>RICHARD?>>I GUESS IN MY MIND, IT’S
ALLOWING THEM TO GROW. AS PARENTS, SOMETIMES WE’RE
SO CONFINING. AS THEY GET OLDER, THE MORE
YOU CAN’TS COME IN, AND WE NEED TO BE EMANCIPATING NOT
SUBORDINATING. I THINK THAT AS WE GO — YOU
KNOW, IN OUR NATIVE TEACHINGS WE’RE TAUGHT THOSE
THINGS THAT ARE INHERENT TO US, OUR VALUES.
BE GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER, AS THE YOUNG MAN TALKED ABOUT.
FAMILY. I DON’T THINK THAT’S UNIQUE
TO NATIVES. LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
BE RESPECTFUL TO ONE ANOTHER.
BE MINDFUL. THAT’S THE REAL EDUCATION,
AND THOSE ARE THE REAL NUTRIENTS, BECAUSE IF YOU
DON’T HAVE THAT, YOU CAN HAVE A PH.D., YOU CAN HAVE
AN M.D., YOU CAN HAVE A LAW DEGREE, BUT IF YOU’RE A
JERK, IT DOESN’T MATTER. YOU NEED THESE PIECES.
>>I WOULD LIKE TO APPLAUD THESE YOUNG PEOPLE FOR THEIR
ATTENDANCE TODAY. THEY’VE DONE A REMARKABLE
JOB IN THEIR SPEECH AND THEIR COURAGE TO STAND UP
AND SPEAK ON TV. SO, GOOD JOB.
VERY GOOD JOB. [APPLAUSE]
>>I THINK THE WORLD IS EVER CHANGING.
A STUDENT THAT GRADUATES TODAY WITH AVERAGE ABILITY
IS ALREADY BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL BECAUSE THEY’VE GOT
COMPETITION FROM FOLKS WHO HAVE GOT ALL KINDS OF
EXPERIENCE UNDER THEIR BELT THAT ARE UNEMPLOYED, THEY’VE
GOT COMPETITION FROM STUDENTS FROM OTHERS, FROM
CHINA, FROM INDIA. SO WE HAVE TO BE ON TOP OF
OUR GAME, OUR A-GAME, EACH AND EVERY DAY WHEN WE STAND
IN FRONT OF THESE KIDS. THE CHILDREN DON’T KNOW WHAT
THEY DON’T KNOW, SO IT’S UP TO US TO HELP THEM AND GUIDE
THEM. WITH THAT SAID, WE DO NEED
TO LISTEN TO WHAT INTERESTS THEM, WHAT IT’S GOING TO
TAKE TO ENGAGE THEM, TO HAVE THEM BE PROUD TO COME TO
SCHOOL, AND WILLING TO COME TO SCHOOL, AND JUST EXCITED
TO COME TO SCHOOL. IT’S GOING TO TAKE A TEAM
EFFORT ALL THE WAY AROUND. AND THE ONE THING I WOULD
LIKE TO SAY, ON BEHALF OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WE’RE THE
ONLY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION THAT WILL ACCEPT ANYBODY AND
EVERYBODY. IT DOESN’T MATTER ABOUT
CHALLENGES, LIMITATIONS. WE WILL TAKE ANYBODY.
AND I’M PROUD TO SAY THAT. KEEP THAT IN MIND, STUDENTS,
BECAUSE JUST BECAUSE YOU COME TO SCHOOL WITH CERTAIN
CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS IN YOUR MIND, THAT DOES NOT
MEAN THAT YOU CANNOT SUCCEED IN BEING WHATEVER YOU WANT
TO BE. I CAN GUARANTEE THAT.
>>GREAT NOTE TO END ON THERE.
THANK YOU ALL. AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR
GUESTS TODAY ON THE PANEL AND IN THE AUDIENCE FOR
BEING A PART OF THIS RURAL EDUCATION TOWN HALL.
REMEMBER, EVERY DAY MATTERS. WE INVITE YOU TO CONTINUE
THIS CONVERSATION. IT’S NOT OVER.
GO TO OUR WEBSITE, NewMexicoPBS.org, TO LEARN
MORE ABOUT AMERICAN GRADUATE AND THE MISSION GRADUATE
INITIATIVE. I’M SARAH GUSTAVUS AT
NEW MEXICO PBS. ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US,
THANK YOU FOR WATCHING.

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