Grant to help NMSU STEM Outreach Center expand after-school programs

Adriana M. Chavez

LAS CRUCES – The STEM Outreach Center at State University of New Mexico received a five-year grant totaling $ 26.5 million to continue and expand support for after-school programs in school districts in Doña Ana counties , Grant and Hidalgo.

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, offered through the New Mexico Department of Public Education, increases the number of learning centers served by the STEM Outreach Center from 26 to 47. As part of the grant, Hobbs Municipal Schools will receive funding from the STEM Outreach Center for their after-school programs, serving 17 additional schools.

“This grant is a testament to our history of providing good quality systems and programs,” said Wanda Bulger-Tamez, director of the STEM Outreach Center. “Our team is looking forward to expanding after-school programs in southern New Mexico. These programs provide a safe place for students to participate in after-school programs that provide a range of enrichment opportunities.

“We’re excited to be able to expand our reach and reach so many students in different parts of the state,” said Henrietta Pichon, Acting Dean of the NMSU College of Health, Education and Social Transformation, where the STEM Outreach Center is located. . housed. “Programs like these create lifelong learners who see learning as another great adventure.”

The programs offered by the STEM Outreach Center provide academic support and enrichment opportunities to support the learning of literacy and science, technology, engineering and math designed to reinforce the topics introduced during the course. traditional student learning day. Students participate in activities such as robotics, photography, coding, engineering design, dancing, cooking, crafts, and sports. Each school chooses extracurricular programs that match the interests and needs of the school community.

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The grant is available to schools in need through the New Mexico Department of Public Education as part of the National 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. The STEM Outreach Center will partner with school districts and organizations such as Ngage New Mexico, Cruces Creatives, STEAMing Ahead for Success, and La Semilla Food Center to provide a wide range of community resources.

Students in a Readers Theater classroom participate in an activity to build confidence in reading fluency.  The Readers Theater is one of several programs offered by the STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University, which recently received a $ 26.5 million grant under the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center, offered by the New Mexico Department of Public Education.

The STEM Outreach Center is the largest consortium in the state to receive 21st CCLC funding and one of the largest in the country to receive a 21st CCLC award. The US Department of Education offers the grant through its 21st CCLC National Program in partnership with state departments of education.

“Our consortium of schools is able to implement aspects of the community schools framework, which includes collaborative leadership and planning,” said Sara Morales, associate director of the STEM Outreach Center.

According to the US Department of Education, the program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide opportunities for academic enrichment during non-school hours for children, especially students who attend very poor and poorly performing schools. . The program helps students meet national and local student standards in core academic subjects.

Adriana M. Chávez writes for Marketing and Communications at New Mexico State University and can be reached at 575-646-1957, [email protected]

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