Twelve third-grade students from Henry Jasso’s ENLACE class at Doña Ana Elementary on Tuesday addressed the Doña Ana Board of County Commissioners in Commission Chambers. The students presented a research project their class conducted concerning unpaved roads in Doña Ana — specifically La Reina, Sal Si Puedes and Rocca Secca.
The project was initially created to present at the 2019 ENLACE Action Research Conference in March. Jasso’s class conducted extensive research, seeking the input of civil engineers and officials from the New Mexico Department of Transportation. The class interviewed students and adults who live in the area on the impact the unpaved roads have on their lives. The students’ presentation also included photos from Google Earth, and news stories from the Las Cruces Sun-News and local TV stations.
ENLACE, a program based out of New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College, is a catalyst for bringing together various stakeholders, working collaboratively, to create and support a seamless educational system that is more responsive, accountable, accessible, and supportive of Latino/a students’ educational success. All ENLACE programs and projects are focused on raising literacy levels, and increasing academic planning and achievement. The program is currently in most LCPS middle schools and high schools, but Doña Ana Elementary is the first elementary school to participate.
The annual Action Research Conference requires each ENLACE group to come up with an idea to improve their community. Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education Vice President Terrie Dallman attended the students’ presentation in March, and encouraged them to take their research to the County Commission to see if they could get actual results. With help from Wendi Miller-Tomlinson, LCPS Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, the students were granted the opportunity to be placed on the Commission’s agenda.
“Seeing these students become so engaged with the issues impacting their neighborhoods and their community makes me extremely proud,” said LCPS Superintendent Greg Ewing. “Though researching the problem, coming up with practical solutions and presenting them to elected officials, the students in Mr. Jasso’s class have learned a number of valuable lessons that will continue to serve them well.”
Jasso said his class chose the project because it provided them opportunities to use technology, conduct interviews, invite guest speakers and tackle an issue that other groups “might not think of.”
— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, firstname.lastname@example.org