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New Mexico Gets Grant for Latino Success

posted Oct 5, 2012, 7:51 AM by ALAS deNuevoMéxico
From the Oct. 5 Albuquerque Journal

A somewhat small but significant grant from a national private foundation will help New Mexico educators and community members coalesce to improve Latino student success, a UNM leader said Thursday.

The $600,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation will be used by the University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque Public Schools and several community groups to increase high school and college graduation rates.

The New Mexico group was one of 14 selected for the grant.

“It’s really not about the dollars but about the people who are engaged in doing the work and have the commitment to see things change around Latino student success,” said Josephine “Jozi” De Leon, UNM’s vice president of the division for equity and inclusion.

The group, though still working on logistics, has some hefty goals:

*To increase APS’ high school graduation rate for Latinos from 59.5 percent in 2011 to 90 percent by 2025 and to get 15,000 Latino dropouts to complete high school or obtain their GED by the same year.

*To increase the percentage of Latino students who go to college to 90 percent by 2025.

*To increase CNM’s graduation rate for Latinos to 40 percent and UNM’s to 75 percent by 2025. The Hispanic six-year graduation rate at UNM in 2011 was 42.4 percent.

The Unidos Project, as it’s been dubbed, will start by hiring an “achievement coach” who will work with Latinos at CNM on their transition to UNM. Others will be hired at UNM to help students navigate the university, such as applying for financial aid. The project also will work with the Latino students at high schools with the lowest graduation and college attendance rates. De Leon said UNM is hoping to work with West Mesa and Rio Grande high schools, but APS has yet to approve that.

The Lumina Foundation, which works to improve education access, is awarding a total of $11.5 million for the Latino student success initiative.