- Celebrate a Nation of Diversity
- Support Early Childhood Education
In a rich collaboration with the New Mexico Public Education Department and NM ECECD, we promoted the NEA’s Read Across America overarching theme of “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers” with a series of events throughout New Mexico that provided culturally resonant lesson plans and the wonderful book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. This amazing story correlated so well with the theme and many Pre-K and Kinder teachers and students were able to keep a copy of their very own!
NEA-NM President Mary Parr-Sánchez and I traveled around the state to attend these special events and celebrated with the students and teachers from four very diverse communities:
- The first one was held in the Central Consolidated School District at Ojo Amarillo Elementary where the librarian, one of our amazing NEA-NM members, made fry bread for all the PreK and Kinder students to enjoy as well as the participating adults. What a treat!
- The event in Las Cruces was celebrated at Booker T. Washington Community Elementary School where NEA-NM leadership read to the PreK and Kinder classes and truly enjoyed the interaction with all attendees.
- La Escuelita Pre-School in Bernalillo and Alcalde Elementary in Espanola rounded out the locations with similarly memorable activities. NMPED Secretary, Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, even joined in the fun with an online video of his own in which he also read Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story for many children in the state to see.
All of the Read Across New Mexico events and activities both captured and embraced the desire of educators to
celebrate literacy, especially literature that is culturally relevant, meaningful, and most importantly, fun!
The children loved the book and lessons, with a favorite being the singing lesson plans from the online tool kit. Another amazing element from this time included connecting and networking with the vibrant and talented educators and the adorable students they work with every day. It was definitely an experience that Mary and I will always remember and provided yet another opportunity to reflect on the profound importance of quality early childhood education.
As we know, early childhood education provides the foundation for a positive and robust future for the students of New Mexico—a future that we must invest in to ensure that our state thrives socially, economically, and culturally for generations to come.
The New Mexico Funding for Early Childhood Programs Amendment, on the ballot in November, would provide $130 million dollars for early childhood education as well as an additional $75 million dollars for K-12 at-risk students and compensation. I strongly encourage everyone to vote for the passage of this critically important amendment.