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Communities In Schools of New Mexico Celebrates Ten Years of Compassion, Care, and Connection

Contact: Nika Beauchamp,

Marketing & Communications Manager, 617-448-3883


Communities In Schools of New Mexico Celebrates Ten Years

of Compassion, Care, and Connection

Unique community school strategy empowers kids in Northern New Mexico to stay in school through powerful one-on-one relationships with caring adults

SANTE FE – September marks the tenth anniversary of Communities In Schools of New Mexico (CIS), the Santa Fe-based organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and on a positive path to graduation and beyond. The organization has made a measurable impact on graduation rates and children’s well-being in high-poverty schools in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties. CIS’s unique community school strategy centers around placing youth development and social worker trained “Site Coordinators” in Title 1 schools, where they forge powerful relationships with students at risk of dropping out, connect them to a community of support, and empower them to stay in school and achieve in life.

“From our earliest beginnings with our first Site Coordinator at Agua Fria and Salazar Elementary Schools in 2012, to guiding staff and students through the unprecedented disruption of a global pandemic,” says Executive Director Julia Bergen, “I’ve been honored to witness the power of our Site Coordinators’ trusting, strong relationships with some of the most vulnerable students and families in our communities. Compassion, care, and connection defines our work–and transforms lives. We are grateful to celebrate this ten-year milestone alongside our public school and community partners, supporters, and volunteers who make this important work possible.”

As the New Mexico affiliate of Communities In Schools National, the organization has grown tremendously as a community school strategy over the past ten years. Founded in 2012, Communities In Schools of New Mexico grew out of The Salazar Partnership, a community program started by retired educators Bill and Georgia Carson in 1998 to improve student outcomes at Salazar Elementary School in Santa Fe. Today, CIS serves a majority of PreK-12 students (and their families) enrolled in Santa Fe County high-poverty public schools.

The data on student success shows the impact of this work. At Capital High, where Communities in Schools has four Site Coordinators, the overall graduation rate has improved by nearly 30% over ten years, and students receiving targeted support from a CIS Site Coordinator (those identified as most at risk of dropping out) graduated at an impressive rate of 87% in the 2021-2022 school year.

Furthermore, in 2022:

  • 100% of schools with a CIS Site Coordinator that established a schoolwide academic improvement goal met or made progress toward that goal.

  • 80% of students receiving targeted support from a CIS Site Coordinator improved their attendance.

  • 71% of students receiving targeted support made progress with social-emotional learning.

  • CIS distributed $18,216 in emergency funds to 40 families in need.

  • CIS delivered approximately 93,000 meals to families experiencing or at risk of hunger.

“In my seven years as a Site Coordinator at Communities In Schools, I am continuously inspired by my students’ resilience,” says Sinte Torrez, Site Coordinator at Capital High School since 2015. “It has been an honor to be an ally and advocate for our students and play a supporting role in their journeys to success.”

"Communities In Schools support allows teachers to focus on teaching and learning. As a school principal, this program is the one I never want to be without. Communities In Schools makes a difference,” says Tina Morris, principal of Aspen Community Magnet School.

As Communities In Schools looks back on a decade of growth and impact, the organization also looks forward with ambition toward the future.

“In the years to come, Communities In Schools will deepen our current programs in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties to support students’ social and emotional needs as well as their academic growth,” says CIS Board President Rachel White. “We will also thoughtfully examine expanding our geographical reach to serve more students and families living in poverty in Northern New Mexico’s remote rural villages and communities.”

Bergen adds: “Communities In Schools is committed to transforming education–access, opportunity, and outcomes–one student at a time, alongside our dedicated community partners, stakeholders, and invaluable supporters.”

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Communities In Schools of New Mexico works with over 6,500 public school students in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties, with a mission of surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

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