National Impact Community: Albuquerque, NM

NACA Inspired Schools Network

About the Applicant

Established in 2005, The NACA Inspired Schools Network is building a movement of students, families, and educators to create a network of schools relevant to the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve. By providing rigorous academics in an educational setting that celebrates community, cultural identity, and diversity, the Network is removing systemic barriers to educational parity in order to give all youth access to leadership opportunities, higher education, stable careers, and sustainable livelihoods.

The Network’s flagship school, the Native American Community Academy, has piloted strategic, culturally relevant initiatives to create a learning environment reflective of the community served, while mentoring young men of color. As a result, graduation rates rose 20 percent among the school’s boys and young men of color.

About the Project

The NACA Inspired Schools Network in partnership with the City of Albuquerque, three high schools, and four nonprofit organizations will deepen and scale a community of practice on social emotional learning. This community of practice will scale the NACA model to encourage safe, equitable, and culturally-relevant school environments that promote the success of boys and young men of color in terms of attendance, persistence, and graduation rates.

The Network will facilitate a local community of practice, document practices and challenges especially relevant to boys and young men of color and engage youth in sharing their social emotional learning experience with local educational leaders, informing future practices and policies. While the primary population served by the MBK Project will be 460 Indigenous and Latino boys, NACA’s expansion will impact the more than 84,000 students in Albuquerque Public Schools.

Mid-Year Update

Since embarking on its journey as an MBK Alliance Community in May, NACA Inspired Schools Network has been devoted to working with youth and community stakeholders to identify and document Social Emotional Learning practices that most benefit boys and young men of color. This was exemplified at their kick-off event when nine young men of color shared their experiences with Social Emotional Learning, explaining to the MBK Albuquerque team how the practices have helped them develop holistic health—academic, physical, social, and spiritual.

NACA Inspired Schools Network also worked with young people to get their input as they designed questions for their annual survey—The Quad. The survey helps gauge the experiences of youth across the partner organizations by capturing student and stakeholder feedback on indicators of holistic identity and wellbeing through an Indigenous lens. The survey documents student connection with culture, language, wellness practices, community service, trusted relationships, and adult and peer support. The results will help provide quantitative data for qualitative factors—providing transparency in the outcomes stimulated by this project.

As the network continues to break down barriers for boys and young men and color, they are excited to have a new Community Director leading the organization. Maȟpíya Black Elk is using his strong background in youth mentorship to engage young men of color through every stage of this project—including experimenting with digital media to share their voices, stories, and perspectives with larger groups.

Key Implementation Partners

  • MBK Albuquerque
  • The City of Albuquerque
  • Cultivating Coders
  • La Plazita
  • Mission: Graduate
  • New Mexico Dream Team
  • Together for Brothers