PRESS RELEASE - March 18, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

PED Invites Proposals for Service-Learning Program

(Santa Fe, NM)—The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is seeking applications from local education agencies working with community organizations to provide Service-Learning Programs in the state’s schools. A three-year grant will be awarded on August 1, providing $125,426 in funding for up to three demonstration programs. Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 6. Successful applicants will be notified on Friday, May 28.

Applicants must partner with one or more community entities for the district-wide programs. They must detail in their applications how the programs will meet community-based needs, address the needs of at-risk youth and schools, literacy, cultural values and work readiness and show how the programs will be sustained. Among the required performance measures, programs will need to collect data showing progress in their students’ literacy scores.

Programs must also provide a process for student reflection and recognition. According to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC), “Without reflection, students just report on experiences instead of examining how what they do impacts themselves and those they serve. Reflective activities that are designed well and implemented thoughtfully allow students to acquire a deeper understanding of the world around them and of how they can make positive contributions to society.”

The NSLC reports that students who participate in high-quality service-learning experiences typically become more engaged in learning as shown by increased attendance and motivation to learn. And research shows that when service-learning is designed in particular ways, students show gains on measures of academic achievement, including standardized tests.

The funding for the demonstration programs comes from a federal Learn & Serve America grant, which is administered by the Corporation for National Community Service. Funds from the state’s general fund have provided a state match for the federal dollars.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) will be posted on the PED’s web page beginning on Tuesday, April 6. For more information, please contact Iona Regala, education administrator, at the PED at (505) 827-6656 or iregala@ped.state.nm.us.