Region IX Leads Child Find Roundups
Region IX Education Cooperative and area schools wrapped up this year’s kindergarten registrations and Child Find roundups after screening nearly 350 children.
Lincoln County Head Start, Region IX Developmental Services, Ruidoso Lions Club, Lincoln County Public Health Department, Dr. Kenneth Childress and his Children’s Dental staff, local volunteers, and area school districts teamed up to provide a one stop shop for screenings. The Child Find screening includes developmental assessment, vision, hearing, nutrition, dental screenings, and immunizations.
In a child’s first five years of life, the child will acquire communication, problem solving, self-help, daily living, motor, and socialization skills. These developmental skills are a fundamental basis of learning that will continue throughout life. Monitoring children’s development at an early age can play an important role in setting a solid foundation for successful student outcomes later in school.
Federal law established developmental screening through Child Find. It is a national program designed to identify children ages three to twenty-one who may have special needs or require early intervention services. Child Find teams partner with school districts, health care providers, service organizations, childcare centers, and individuals to conduct free developmental screenings in the community for all children under the age of five, including infants and toddlers. Child Find screenings in Lincoln County and part of Otero County are coordinated through Region IX Education Cooperative, an educational service agency supporting families, schools, and communities. Region IX service areas include Capitan, Carrizozo, Cloudcroft, Corona, Hondo, Ruidoso, and Tularosa.
If you missed the Child Find screening, and if you would like to have your child screened, contact Region IX Child Find coordinator at 257-2368. To register for kindergarten, contact your local school district.
Region IX Highlights New Staff: Mathew Hernandez
We welcome Mathew Hernandez. Mathew was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attended Head Start in Deming where his mother owned a restaurant for some time. When he was around eight, Mathew’s family moved to the Hondo Valley. Mathew attended school in Capitan and was very active in 4H and FFA. He was a state officer for 4H, and he was one of the youngest chapter presidents for the Capitan FFA chapter, elected his freshman year.
Mathew started his teaching career in 2008 at a child development center in Albuquerque. Having a passion to teach, Mathew worked himself up from an assistant to lead teacher. He wanted to pursue his degree in education, so he moved back to Ruidoso and attended ENMURuidoso where he graduated with an associate degree in early childhood education. While attending college, Mathew worked at the Mescalero Apache Head Start Program and had many wonderful experiences in that setting.
Mathew is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and he hopes to one day be a lead teacher for Region IX Head Start. Mathew has a strong commitment to continuing to develop and master his teaching techniques. He feels that the Region IX Education Cooperative staff consists of many dynamic, unique, and professional individuals, which is what drew him to the organization. Mathew stated, “During my college coursework I observed Region IX Head Start classrooms and was amazed at the skill and level of teaching I saw going on in each classroom. The environment is so great!” Region IX Education Cooperative is pleased to have Mathew as a part of our academic services team.
Extended Learning Communities: Making Connections
Region IX Education Cooperative (REC IX) is proud to support connections between our member districts to enable educators to collaborate and increase student learning opportunities and experiences. Last school year, REC IX began a pilot project focusing on extended learning communities. Kayce Patterson (then a 1st grade teacher in Carrizozo) and Kimberlee Smith (1st grade teacher in Corona) began using distance learning technologies to co-plan and co-teach. The extended learning setting created a professional network between highly effective teachers and supported them to continue to build their own professional knowledge and capacity. The extended learning communities also created opportunities for students from small, rural areas to share their learning and experiences with each other.
This school year, REC IX has expanded the pilot project to include extended learning/teaching teams in Hondo, Carrizozo, Corona, Capitan, and Cloudcroft. Teachers from these sites have participated in intensive training in the use of the distance learning tools and are now collaborating together to support instruction and professional learning between teachers and students. Instructional Television (ITV) is the vehicle that the participating teachers use to connect classrooms for shared learning experiences. For example, Betsy Peralta’s third grade class in Capitan recently dissected a shark as part of their science instruction and shared the experience with Michelle Thurston’s third grade class in Hondo via ITV. In addition to shared classroom learning, the ITV system also allows classes to participate in virtual field trips to sites such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Texas State Aquarium thus bringing world-wide opportunities to our students.
We know that highly effective teachers and highly effective learners are the result of proactive, focused, and innovative learning environments. Distance learning is finding a way to connect those powerful educators so that all students benefit and learn. Kudos to Capitan teachers Mary Shanks, Ginger Weems, and Betsy Peralta; Hondo teacher Michelle Thurston; Corona