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Posted January 28, 2014

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APS, Bernalillo County Open Pajarito Mesa Program

Students and officials cut the ribbon for the much needed before- and after-school site.

APS, Bernalillo County Open Pajarito Mesa Program

Students from Pajarito ES pledge allegiance to the flag.

The Albuquerque Public Schools and Bernalillo County have collaborated with the city of Albuquerque and private partners to bring a much-needed site for before and after-school programs to the residents of Pajarito Mesa.

“As you can see, we have a nice, well-lit, safe area for students to be able to study and engage in activities either before they start school for the day or after they leave school,” APS Superintendent Winston Brooks told those gathered for a ribbon-cutting event last week.

The double portable building, housing two classrooms for students who attend Pajarito Elementary, Polk Mid-School and Rio Grande High, was provided by the school district, while Bernalillo County brought electricity, as well as water and sewer to the site.

“Bernalillo County is proud to provide much-needed services for the families of Pajarito Mesa, and is appreciative of APS involvement to better the lives of children there,” Commissioner Art De La Cruz said. “I’m committed to working to help these students and their families to succeed and this effort is one more step to this end.”

“We are very glad to have worked with the county to open this site for students and families in this area,” said APS Board of Education Member Dr. Analee Maestas, whose district includes Pajarito Mesa. She noted that many homes in the area do not have access to electricity or water/sewer services.

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who also attended the opening of the center, said that the site was a good example of people working together to get something accomplished. “I will take this example back to Washington and hope it will serve as model of what we can do when we all work together,” Lujan Grisham said.

The site is staffed by adults who help students learn through a number of activities including hands-on math and science projects, as well as recreational activities and nutrition. Tutoring and homework help in reading and math also are offered. Literacy services also are provided to families of students who participate in the program.

Programs are offered Monday through Friday from 6:45 a.m. until buses pick up the students in the morning, and after school from the time they are dropped off until 6 p.m.

The program is funded by a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant that was awarded to APS. The grant is intended to provide academic enrichment to students from high-poverty areas, so that they can make progress in core subject areas.

Also helping to bring the programs to the residents of Pajarito Mesa are the ABC Community School Partnership, the city of Albuquerque, the New Mexico Public Education Dept. 21st Century Community Learning Program, Dell Inc., the Rio Grande Educational Cooperative, La Plazita Institute, Technology Integration Group, and Sound & Signal.

Students provided “thank-you” cards to each of the partners as part of the grand opening event.

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