How many times have we heard people say our kids can’t thrive in Southern New Mexico?
How often do we hear stories about our kids leaving Doña Ana County after graduating high school or college so they can find opportunities elsewhere?
What does it take to create an education system from early childhood all the way to career readiness, that creates opportunities for ALL of our kids to thrive, right here in the Borderland?
These are the kinds of questions that drive the work of the SUCCESS Partnership, a prenatal-to-career education initiative for Doña Ana County. The Partnership was created in 2014 when a broad group of community leaders came together around the need for our community to focus on how we collectively support children’s success and opportunities. These early meetings and discussions grew into a large group of community members, including parents, educators, students, nonprofits, the business sector, the faith-based community, and more, who decided that the best course of action was to focus on how we can support our children across the education spectrum from early childhood to K12 success, post-secondary access & success, and career readiness.
As the SUCCESS Partnership heads into its 6th year, we are excited to step back to look at what has been done and where we are going as a community that is committed to transforming education outcomes in Doña Ana County. We are proud to celebrate some key milestones, including:
- The Community Schools initiative was born in the SUCCESS Partnership with Lynn Middle School being the first site. Since it launched in 2017, Las Cruces Public Schools took the helm of the project, expanded the community schools effort, and expanding community schools in the district.
- The Creation of the Doña Ana County Early Childhood Education (ECE) Coalition, one of the largest and most active ECE coalitions in New Mexico. This Coalition’s priorities include:
- increasing access to ECE services such as home visiting, child care, and PreK,
- aligning the work of the many early childhood providers in the county to increase families’ ability to access needed services,
- development of a children’s museum, and
- supporting the early childhood workforce so that our community has enough providers, who are paid as professionals and offered quality professional development opportunities locally.
- The alignment of efforts with other local coalitions, including the Workforce Talent Collaborative spearheaded by the Bridge of Southern New Mexico, the Resilience Leaders Initiative led by City Councilor Kasandra Gandara to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences, and the local behavioral health collaborative which is now coordinated by Families & Youth, Inc.
These are just some examples of what has been made possible when a community comes together around shared challenges. While we have regular gatherings within the SUCCESS Partnership, it is now time to come together as a whole community and plan for the next steps in the Partnership.
If you aren’t already part of the SUCCESS Partnership, now is the time to get involved. We believe that every child can succeed when provided opportunities. Let’s build an educational community where every child can thrive because education is a shared responsibility.
Lori Martinez is the Executive Director of Ngage New Mexico, the backbone coordinating organization of the SUCCESS Partnership. The backbone team consists of the Ngage NM staff, the NMSU Center for Community Analysis, and staff from La Clinica de Familia Family Services Department. Together they provide support for all partners across the SUCCESS Partnership. For more information, go to https://successdac.org/.