Socorro Consolidated School District’s equity council is looking for more members.

All school districts in New Mexico are required to have Equity Councils to help the state meet the requirements of the Martinez and Yazzie Consolidated Lawsuit. The council can have up to 15 members. At present, Socorro’s only has five, all of whom work for the school district.

The equity council has to assess and create a framework for how the district meets the needs of vulnerable learners in an equitable manner, said Socorro High School social worker Frances Fuller. Vulnerable learners include low income students, students with disabilities, English language learners and Native American students.

“The ultimate goal is that the council will create a culturally and linguistically responsive framework that says, ‘this is how we meet the needs of students in an equitable manner.’ The ultimate deliverable is that we create an advisement package and present that to the school board and say ‘these are the recommendations we have in terms of how we can better meet the needs of vulnerable populations.’”

Socorro’s council was formed in March 2020, but the pandemic made it challenging to recruit and retain volunteer council members.

Parents that were on the council had to drop out due to the challenges of parenting during remote learning last school year.

“We especially want input from people who consider themselves to be representative of those vulnerable populations: parents of low income students or people who were low income students, parents of English language learners or people who were English language learners, having people that are representative of Alamo and other native populations in our community, parents of students with disabilities,” said Fuller.

Parkview Elementary principal Laurie Ocampo is one of the current council members, and said they have already gotten together and answered batteries of questions about where the school district is currently in terms of equity. Ocampo said she wanted to join the council to help make sure there is an even playing field for all students.

“Being an administrator as a school, you want all of them to succeed,” she said.

Apply to join the council by sending a letter of interest to Fuller at ffuller@socorroschools.org identifying which group you represent and why, your interest or experience in understanding diversity and its impact on student experiences, your understanding of the challenges underserved students in all four categories face and what staff, students and community can do to eliminate barriers for them, and describing your advocacy style and advocacy experiences.

What is the Martinez and Yazzie Consolidated Lawsuit?

  • Families and school districts represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty sued the New Mexico Public Education Department and state legislature for failing to provide a sufficient and uniform system of education to all New Mexican kids.
  • In 2018, Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that NM students have a right to be college and career ready and that the state was failing to meet that obligation. She pointed to the state’s low graduation rate, low proficiency rates in reading and math and high rates of college remediation as evidence.