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TCF presents over $26,000 in Teacher Awards!

TCF hosted two receptions in November 2014 and presented nearly 70 teacher awards for classroom support/professional development tools in both the Taos Municipal and Mesa Vista Consolidated School Districts. As part of a mini-teacher grant award initiative, now in its 6th year of funding, educators were presented with funds to purchase specific materials, supplies or equipment to assist them with new or existing projects in their classrooms. The awards were selected through a competitive process and are reviewed by TCF advisory committees and shared with interested TCF donors / fund holders, who then had the option to “adopt” a particular project for funding.

Since TCF implemented this successful award program, over 300 teacher awards have been presented, totaling over $126,000 in funding. In review, the teacher awards often serve as the “bridge” for getting a new project up and off the ground, or have given teachers the needed funds to implement something new with their students. As one teacher shared, “the award sparked an idea of utilizing our computers differently….it magnified what I was able to do”. Other teachers were able to leverage the funds with other business donations in town – “we presented the TCF award letter to a local business, and they matched the contribution”.

Classroom projects have included enhanced curriculum materials, listening centers for students in early grades, school gardens, robotics equipment, materials for theater/art programming and professional development tools for teachers. For a complete list of all recently awarded TCF teacher awards, and a complete overview of all TCF funding this year, please visit our website (

Education Focus for Grantmaking

Apart from our goals of helping citizens meet basic needs, TCF and our partners plan initiatives for education and information access, creating a firm foothold and making possible the step-up for individuals and families to think and do differently, and thereby to contribute to positive change in our communities. One of the main goals of TCF is to develop the informed citizenry, and through that development help individuals achieve personal success and self-sufficiency which will redouble our contributions and efforts as they in turn give back to the community through their own successes.

Many would agree that education is key to a child’s success in life, to the stability of a skilled and robust workforce, and to the health of a community’s future. Knowing that a strong education system enables both youth and adult students in our region to realize their individual potential as well as that of our larger community, TCF continues its strong commitment to education, using all the tools available: grant-making, convening and advocacy.

Education Impact Stories

Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations - In partnership with the Northeast Region ENLACE program, and the Mesa Vista Consolidated School District the first year of the Career Awareness and Readiness student internship program. With the support of teachers, families and the local business community, the initiative met the project goal of:

I. 188 of 228 Mesa Vista Middle and High School students used the Career Cruising software for a combined total of 2,635 times with an average of 14 times per student. (Career Cruising Online Career Exploration)
II. Weekly career readiness workshops on goal setting, resume writing, job interviewing and the use of Career Cruising software. HS students also attended a career fair in Espanola.
III. 24 HS students interned in area businesses during the summer. Before starting, all participating students were required to develop a resume and cover letter, and apply/interview for the positions they were interested in. All students were paid $8 an hour and worked a total of 150-200 hours at the following sites –US forest Service; Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, Las Clinicas Health Center and an organic farm.
IV. 6 parents attended a Back-to-School Family Institute attending workshops on scholarships, financial aid, work study programs and college visits.

Bridges Project for Education – “We specifically used these funds to support staff who provided comprehensive, individualized college counseling, community programs and content-based workshops related to the admissions and financial aid processes. Bridges presented our 8th annual college day to the community. We continue to experiment with the format of this event in order to better meet our original goals. Our 2014 format was innovative and even more meaningful than in past years. While most college fairs provide the chance for students to shop around and compare schools by speaking with admissions representative, we intentionally took a different approach. Approximately 300 students and parents from all over Taos County encountered 40 community members ready to talk about what getting to college and being there was like for them, whether they attended in-state or out-of-state schools and whether they graduated from college recently or years ago. Information about the alumni’s schools remained part of the conversation, but we chose to steer away from highlighting their alma maters as the main focus because we know it isn’t always relevant for someone to hear about admissions criteria for _____ University, but hearing about someone’s educational journey as the broader topic”.

Adult Learning Center at UNM Taos – “TCF funding helped us provide a “third-tier” of programming to prepare students for taking the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam. This FY2015 is the first year our program was able to offer three levels of academic preparation, including a foundations course for students below a 7th grade skill level, a pre-HSE course for students with skills ranging at the middle-school level, and HSE prep for students with high school skills levels. A student to highlight is an 18-year old male, who stared in our program in March 2014 with a foundational math level 9below the 7th grade) and a pre-HSE language arts level (a middle school skills level), and who participated in the language arts class directly supported by this grant. “Joe” is a recovering heroin addict, who came to Taos to live with his sponsor. His perseverance was stellar. He consistently came to classes 15 hours per week plus met with a tutor and voluntarily worked on educational computer programs to supplement his learning. Joe passed three of the four GED exams by June 2014 and just recently passed his fourth test to attain his high school credential. He just enrolled in college!”