Uploaded by KRWGnews on Jan 3, 2012. 01.04.12 (LAS CRUCES) — A local group is getting a financial boost to help increase high school graduation rates and prepare for a strong workforce in Dona Ana County.
The Bridge of Southern New Mexico is helping create a strong workforce in Dona Ana County by providing students the tools to graduate.
“When you have businesses working hand in hand with education you have a force in your community for good,” said Tracey Bryan, CEO and president of the Bridge of Southern New Mexico.
The organization is receiving a three-year, $345,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to advance four more Early College High Schools in the community.
“This is the first major, national funder who has looked at Dona Ana County and said what you are doing is going to transform not just your kids in your county, but it’s really going to have big lessons for the state of New Mexico,” she said.
Leaders with the Bridge plan to use the funds to increase the capacity of parents to mentor their children. They’re also looking at reengaging teachers as mentors to their students.
“Teachers become teachers so they can change the life of a student and we’ve really just changed the classroom that it’s become a lot of other things, but we really want them to be that mentor that changed their life,” she said.
The graduation rate in New Mexico went from 51 percent in 2008 to 67 the following year. Since building the state’s first Early College High School, there have been no drop outs showing its effectiveness and efficient education delivery system.
“It’s really important that we understand data, that we understand what works, why it works. We understand what happens not just that I have a hundred students in a program, but what happened to those students when they left the program,” she said.
The success of the Bridge is getting nationwide attention. It even has New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez asking the organization to be a resource to the secretaries of public education, higher education and workforce solutions as her administration aims to improve education around the state.
Reported by Carlos Correa