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NDI New Mexico reaches all corners of state

Excellence through dance.

Since 1994, the National Dance Institute of New Mexico has served more than 100,000 children throughout the state.

The organization, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is dedicated to serving children in schools and communities with the greatest need.

According to NDI New Mexico, in 2017-18, the organization reached:

• 3,493 children in elementary schools in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.

• 1,010 children through after-school advanced training teams in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.

• 1,601 children through dance and performing arts at The Dance Barns and the Hiland Theater.

NDI New Mexico Executive Director Russell Baker has been with the organization for 17 years.

“We teach kids what it does take to do things well,” Baker said. “Part of what we’re doing as instructors is modeling good behavior for the students. You won’t see the NDI teachers arguing because we’re showing that collaboration, teamwork and positive communication is a way to move through the world.”

He’s seen the program grow to have a significant statewide impact.

In fact, NDI New Mexico has reached all corners of New Mexico, including Deming, Hobbs, Raton and Gallup, to name a few.

The demographics of students participating also represent the state’s population.

The program sees 66% Hispanic children participate. Anglo students follow at 21.5%, with 9% Native American, 2% African American and 1.5% Asian.

And 78% of NDI New Mexico students qualify for the federal free or reduced cost meal program.

Participating in arts has also had an impact in the classroom for students.

NDI New Mexico students’ GPAs are 30% to 40% higher than those of their peers.

According to an NDI New Mexico report, students in the program score 12.6% higher in writing than their peers. The numbers for math are at 10.2% higher, 6.1% for science and 6.8% for reading.

“The outcomes consistently show that NDI New Mexico programs are positively affecting the development of executive function skills such as focus, paying attention, perseverance, self-control, setting and achieving goals and planning and prioritizing,” the report said.

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