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Posted December 4, 2017

Getting Off the Bus

In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy describes a bus tour that introduced zone principals to resources and organizations in their neighborhoods.

Highland culinary students prepared and served snacks for principals during the Zone 1 bus tour.

It was something you don’t see every day. Dozens of elementary, middle and high school principals getting off a school bus to meet their neighbors. And not just any neighbors. These were the kind of neighbors who could change a child’s life.

Nearly 80 principals from Zone 1 (consisting of Albuquerque, Highland and Manzano high schools and their feeder schools) and Zone 2 (made up of Atrisco Heritage, Rio Grande and West Mesa high schools and their feeder schools) took part in the first ever Making Connections bus tour hosted by the ABC Community School Partnership.

The purpose of the tour was to introduce principals to resources and organizations in their school’s neighborhoods that could help children be more successful in school, and in life.

The resources ran the gamut from integrated student supports to expanded learning opportunities to family and community engagement. They included organizations that keep students engaged before, during and after school; medical, mental and social health services; food, clothing, even bed providers. All those things that help get students to school, keep them in school and help them succeed at school.  

Each tour made three stops: East Central Ministries, Children’s Choice Care Services and Hiland Theater in Zone 1; First Choice Community Healthcare, Gutierrez-Hubbell House and Patrick J. Baca Library in Zone 2. At each stop, our principals got the chance to sit down with representatives of several groups to chat about the resources and opportunities available for students and families. They traded phone numbers and email addresses, picked up brochures and business cards, learned of professional development opportunities and upcoming events for their families.  

And they promised to stay in touch.  

On route to each stop, the principals also got a tour of their neighborhoods, with a guide pointing out more resources that could assist them in their mission to improve the lives of our students.

I joined the principals at a couple of stops and was grateful for our community partners who truly want to help our students and families. Too often, we don’t take advantage enough of these resources, these experts. Too often, we feel isolated and overwhelmed. Educating children so that they have the best opportunities for successful futures is, after all, an overwhelming task. It was nice to learn that we don’t have to do this alone; that we have neighbors who are able and willing to help share the load.

As I’ve mentioned, one of my top priorities this school year is family and community engagement. The bus tour reemphasized the importance of these relationships.

Even if you didn’t get to ride the bus with the principals, their experience should be an eye-opener for you, too. If you’re not tapping into the resources in your school’s neighborhood, why not? Now is the time to learn more about what’s available on your doorstep, in your backyard. That old adage that it takes a village to raise a child is so, so true. We can’t be successful without our dedicated community partners.

Geographically and in terms of enrollment, we’re one of the biggest school districts in the country, serving students and families in urban, suburban and rural parts of central New Mexico. Thanks to our community partners, we are able to create and pool resources that best serve our students.

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