Jeff Hale, 277-2915
Laurie Mellas-Ramirez, 277-5915

October 24, 2001


The University of New Mexico, in conjunction with Albuquerque Public Schools, along with community and city support, has been awarded a three-year grant of more than $3 million from the United States Department of Education to expand literacy-based after-school and summer programs in 10 of Albuquerque's historic neighborhoods.

The UNM portion of the grant is $750,000.

Michael Morris of the UNM College of Education (COE), graduate assistant Sam Howarth, and Teresa Sierra of the UNM Southwest Hispanic Research Institute coauthored the grant proposal for the Albuquerque Community/School Project (ACSP). Former director of APS Title I, Dr. Jaime Tamez, has been appointed project director.

Approximately 2,500 local children ages 5-14 will be served.

"The project will implement significant literacy-based learning opportunities for children and youth that could result in reduced drug use and violence in the community and help students meet or exceed state and local standards in core academic subjects including reading, mathematics and science," Morris said.

"I was delighted to learn that this important project received funding," said UNM-COE Dean Viola E. Florez. "The collaborative nature of this community-focused program - combining students, parents, elementary schools, grass-roots organizations, the business community and University - is at the core of the College of Education's mission. I would also like to recognize the years of hard work that Michael Morris has invested in this and other innovative UNM/community collaborations."

After-school and summer community learning centers will be established or strengthened in seven elementary schools - East San Jose, Dolores Gonzales, Reginald Chavez, Lowell, Eugene Field, Longfellow and Kirtland.

The benefiting neighborhoods are Kirtland, Kirtland Addition, East San Jose, Wells Park, Saw Mill, Barelas, Santa Barbara, Martinez Town, South Broadway and University Heights.

Based on needs, each learning center will draw resources from the ASCP Learning Resources Network, a group of more than 20 community partners offering bilingual learning experiences from art and cultural projects to media literacy, mediation and conflict resolution skills, and support for children with special needs.

"The project is designed to ensure that the communities are involved in the direction of programming," Howarth said.

Among the goals is to provide some 500 parents with access to English as a Second Language programs, General Education Diploma (GED) instruction, technology training, and programs that offer basic literacy skills, including reading aloud techniques, family storytelling and other family literacy approaches.

"Caring adults will be hired from the very communities in which they will serve.

Parents and neighbors will have access to these vital centers to take classes, celebrate the work and experiences of their children and better learn how to participate in and support their children's learning and success," Morris said.

ACSP core supporting partners are APS, UNM College of Education and UNM Service Corps, Historic Neighborhood Association, Department of Family and Community Services/City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact (ABEC).

The learning centers will utilize space, talent and resources of community centers, public libraries, museums, zoos and parks, theatre and performance groups, arts centers and alliances, local muralists, environmental education groups, nature centers and more.

The ACSP builds on a community-driven track record of successful extended learning pilot projects and is one of the U.S. Department of Education's 21st Century Schools best practices initiatives.

The project partners will establish an infrastructure to sustain and expand the ACSP by the end of the grant period. A non-profit will be identified or developed to act as a permanent fiscal agent for the program.


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