NNMC & Hernandez Elem. Enter Mentoring Alliance

by Staff Reporter / Nov 06, 2017 / comments
Photo shows (L-R), John R. Graham, M.D., MATCH New Mexico, founder and chair of the Board of Directors, Ricardo Urbanejo, a retired physicist, 30 year career with IBM and a member of MATCH New Mexico’s Planning Committee and Dr. Rick Bailey, President of Northern New Mexico College, as they listen to Dr. Steve Cox, professor at NNMC, present the plans for the Española Education Mentoring Alliance (EEMA) to the Española Public Schools Board of Education Nov. 1. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the Valley Daily Post

NNMC & Hernandez Elem. Enter Mentoring Alliance


The Española Public School Board voted Thursday to create a formal tutor and mentor program for Hernandez Elementary students by Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) students.


Española Public Schools Board of Education, Vice President, Yolanda Salazar, shown here, is all smiles with the presentation by Española Education Mentoring Alliance (EEMA) at the Board meeting Nov. 1. Salazar attended a meeting at Hernandez Elementary for EEMA days prior to the Board meeting. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the Valley Daily Post

The Española Education Mentoring Alliance (EEMA) was listed twice on the Nov. 1 Española Public School District’s regular board meeting agenda beginning with a presentation and as an action item to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with EEMA (Hernandez Elementary) for tutoring students at the third and fourth grade level by NNMC students. Third graders will be tutored in reading and fourth-graders in science and math.

Prior to the Board meeting, Hernandez Elementary and Española Schools officials met with EEMA officials at the Hernandez campus to formulate its goals and objectives in terms of tutoring Hernandez Elementary third and fourth graders by 16 NNMC students in reading, science and math. The 16 mentors will be paid by the College.


Española Public Schools (EPS) District Superintendent, Bobbie Gutierrez, listens to presentations by the Española Education Mentoring Alliance (EEMA) at the Board meeting Nov. 1.  Gutierrez attended an EEMA meeting at Hernandez Elementary several days before EEMA’s presentation to the EPS Board of Education. The Board approved an MOU with EEMA-Hernandez Elementary later in the agenda under Action Items. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the Valley Daily Post

Those at the planning meetings included:

  • John R. Graham, M.D., Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of MATCH New Mexico, a mentoring group,
  • Ricardo Urbanejo, a physicist, retired after 30 years with IBM, and sits on MATCH's Strategic Planning Committee,
  • Dr. Steve Cox, a professor at NNMC,
  • Bobbie Gutierrez, Española Public Schools (EPS) Superintendent,
  • Yolanda Salazar, Vice President of EPS Board of Education andJohn Sena, Hernandez Elementary Principal.

During the Nov. 1 school board meeting, Dr. Graham explained to the Board, “We met at Hernandez Elementary, and came together with a shared vision to help students utilizing a collective impact of organizations together.”

Dr. Steve Cox, a professor at NNMC, explains how the Española Education Mentoring Alliance (EEMA) will tutor third and fourth graders at Hernandez Elementary beginning in Jan. 2018 with the goal of eventually tutoring every third and fourth grader in the District. More students are planned to be added in Sept. 2018. Photo by Robert Naranjo for the Valley Daily Post

The next step for EEMA was to appear before the EPS Board of Education and present what they planned to do in terms of tutoring third and fourth grade students and to enter into an MOU with the Española Education Mentoring Alliance (Hernandez Elementary) and the Española Public School District. At the Board meeting, the MOU with EEMA-Hernandez, was approved unanimously.

In an interview with the valleydailypost.com, Dr. Graham said that tutoring third graders in reading is key. New Mexico ranks dead last on third grade students reading proficiency. “We were 50th but when the District of Columbia (DC) was added, we went to 51st in the national ranking in the “Chance for Success Index,” he said. Dr. Graham said that when student reading proficiency is not at grade level, these students have problems “the rest of their educational lives” adding they are also more likely to drop out. “Learning to Read for a Lifetime of Learning” is listed as a motto on MATCH New Mexico’s “On the Chance for Success Index” National Tragedy in Extremes Here.

He said that the tutoring program will start in Jan. 2018 at Hernandez Elementary and added that the NNMC tutors are now being selected and will begin tutoring at Hernandez once they return from Winter Break. He added that in Sept. 2018, the program will “expand.” Adding more schools, he was asked. “We hope so. We are starting with a small program, then see how it goes and expand from there,” he said enthusiastically.

After getting tutored in reading in third grade, the students will go to summer school. Then in fourth grade, they will be tutored in math and science in addition to being introduced to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Northern NM College also has a program where seventh to ninth graders are tutored, Dr. Graham said.

Dr. Graham explained that seven school districts in the state are part of MATCH New Mexico. He said that MATCH New Mexico met with the Española School District’s Board of Education about two years ago. He added that when MATCH visited Northern NM College, the warm welcome by administrators, staff and students prompted him to think, “This is the friendliest educational institution in the state.”

Northern NM College President, Dr. Rick Bailey, was at the School Board meeting, sitting with the MATCH representatives and Dr. Steve Cox of the College. Before the start of the Board meeting, Bailey told the valleydailypost.com, “We need to be part of the solution, more higher education, public education and collaborating better--it’s better for everybody.”

When Dr. Bailey addressed the Board, he said that Northern is proud to be a part of the initiatives that will impact young lives in a positive way for a lifetime. “We’re starting a revolution here!” he said.