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Posted: September 28, 2018

The United Way and Our Community

In her weekly message, Superintendent talks about the partnership between APS and the United Way.

Many of our school leaders, including those from Carlos Rey ES, attended the Mission:Graduate attendance conference earlier this month.

Many of our school leaders, including those from Carlos Rey ES, attended the Mission:Graduate attendance conference earlier this month.

The United Way pledge drive kicks off next week. Let me tell you why the United Way means so much to APS.

In a word, community.

If Albuquerque Public Schools and the children we serve are the heart of this community, the United Way of Central New Mexico and the families it helps are the soul.

Together, we improve lives. Together, we brighten futures. Together, we make our community a better place to live. How? By focusing efforts on what matters most to our students and their families: education and opportunity as well as stability, safety and well-being.

We are in the education business, and we’re good at it. But we can’t do it alone. We need partners like the United Way to help our students reach their full potential.  

I serve on a United Way board with a mission to do just that. Mission: Graduate works with educational institutions like APS, UNM and CNM as well as other agencies, businesses and non-profits to help all young people succeed in school, graduate with a post-secondary certificate or degree and enter a career of their choosing.

Mission: Graduate prioritizes eight strategies for reaching this goal: early literacy, early childhood family support, summer learning, attendance and engagement, teacher support, college and career readiness, career development in higher education and adult transition to college.

Sound familiar? Many of these are the same strategies outlined in the APS Academic Master Plan and the Supt’s Big 5 priorities. They describe what is happening in our classrooms, schools and across the district.

Despite our best efforts, we know how challenging it can be to teach a child who faces instability and insecurity at home. Reading and writing take a back seat to hunger, fear and worry.

That’s why the United Way has added a new initiative, Mission: Families, with a focus on making sure “more children and families have what they need to be resilient and free from adverse childhood experiences.” 

The more social barriers we knock down, the more opportunities our students have to learn, excel and thrive.

Through the United Way, you can donate to many organizations that support students and families, including the APS Education Foundation, which funds innovative projects and programs in our schools. Or you may choose to give to an APS school – maybe the school where you work, the school your child attends, your own alma mater.

And speaking of our schools, we are encouraging you to show your school spirit next Friday, Oct. 5, as part of our United Way campaign. We’re asking all APS employees, students, families and supporters to dig in their closets and pull out letter jackets, team jerseys, school shirts, school colors or department shirts. Take pictures and post them on social media using #APSProud. Mention me @SuptABQschools and I'll retweet!

I hope you will take part in APS Spirit Day, and I hope you will think of the United Way. It makes a difference in the lives of our students and families, just as you do every day.

Thank you, my friend, for caring.