CommunityShare Las Cruces is a free, online platform that connects LCPS classrooms, levels K-12, to a diverse community of organizations, businesses, builders, homemakers, artists, scientists, and everyone in between who sustains and strengthens Las Cruces. Using their range of specialized skills and a lifetime of insights, community members can connect with teachers as CommunityShare partners to create meaningful and more hands-on learning in and outside of the classrooms. This range of collaborative, project-based learning enhances student experiences by:
- Enlivening classroom lessons with real-world applications
- Broadening access to subject-matter insight or knowledge
- Inspiring students with career options
- Connecting students with mentors or role models
- Access to mini-grants that help fund supplies and services
Support for teachers is offered for both in-class implementation and to support professional development. By signing up on the platform, teachers also have access to the Community of Practice in Education fellowship. Led by education coordinator Cheryl Carreon, this monthly fellowship invites teachers to discuss how to bolster the impact of classroom projects or curriculum with socio-emotional learning, culturally-responsive pedagogies, incorporating student voice, and family or community engagement. Teachers who apply for and are awarded a mini-grant secure not just funding, but logistical support from a team of staff at the Cruces Creatives makerspace. Staff will assist the teacher in placing online orders for materials, completing the inventory, and securing delivery to the school.
Support for partners includes online or in-person workshops, training, and/or focused meetings with teachers to adapt their skills and knowledge in ways that engage a variety of young learners. Alongside teachers, partners also gain access to tools, equipment, and additional community support at the Cruces Creatives makerspace. Consultations from a diversely skillful team of makers are offered to partners and teachers to develop new or existing project ideas further. Also at the makerspace beginning of this fall, monthly meetings will be facilitated by community engagement coordinator, Abby Nayra, and makerspace STEAM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) instructor, Sandy Smith. They can answer questions and provide information to those interested in CommunityShare as a potential or existing partner.
Beyond Cruces Creatives, other partner collaborations include the Hazlo Foundation, Las Cruces Community Schools, and CTE (Career and Technical Education) Career Readiness, and Dr. Tim Kubik of Project ARC. The HAZLO (“Make It / Do It”) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that creates opportunities for K-12 students to undertake self-selected, hands-on projects that interest them. With the support of mentors found on the CommunityShare platform and those at the Cruces Creatives makerspace, the overall goal of the HAZLO Program is to help students become capable, self-actualizing adults who have gained life and academic skills through experiential learning and mentorship. CommunityShare partners who are more interested in a one-on-one student or small-group mentoring can reach out to HAZLO on the CommunityShare platform. CTE Career Readiness and Dr. Kubik collaborate on providing LCPS teachers the resources to integrate classroom-to-career and project-based learning in their practice.
CommunityShare and its mini-grants have been funded by the Stocker Foundation—a private family foundation that invests in literacy and STEAM-focused programming—and Nusenda Federal Credit Union. Stocker Foundation programming includes educating students to read, write and think critically and creatively with a design and entrepreneurial mindset. Additional funding and project options are available through the HAZLO Foundation.
Community Share is a proud collaborator with the Success Partnership, a prenatal-to-career education initiative. The Success Partnership’s mission is to transform education outcomes by ensuring everyone has the skills, resources and opportunities to succeed in school and in life.
Cheryl Carreon is an education coordinator and community engagement coordinator for Las Cruces Public Schools. You can be reached at [email protected]. Abby Nayra is an education coordinator for LCPS. You can be reached at [email protected].
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