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How a charter school turned lives around

Few things in life are one-size-fits-all: plastic rain ponchos, school lunch servings, for example. And let’s be honest, even those don’t work so well.

For us, like so many young people in New Mexico, traditional public schools don’t always work. We’re not “regular” students, and through some painful trial and error, we found we didn’t fit into “regular” schools either. Across the country, students are uniting to draw attention to the need for more and better school options, and we are among them.

My name is Julian and I dropped out of sixth grade. I needed more structure and support than the school I was in was giving me. When I got to MAS, the teachers pushed me really hard, but they also showed me they had high expectations just because they cared. A big part of the mission of our school is to get our skills up for college. When I got here, I was reading at a third-grade level, but now I’m reading college-level texts. I also learned that I could trust some adults here like family, which made me actually want to come every day.

My name is Kenia and this is my second time at MAS. When I was first here, I got pregnant and my whole world changed. Fortunately, there is another school of choice in Albuquerque called New Futures, which helped me continue with my education and access the supports I needed as a young mother. I always wanted to return to MAS because I knew that the focus on college would help me to pursue my dreams. Now, thanks to MAS and my college counselor, I have so many more opportunities available to me. This fall, I’ll enroll at Eastern, where I received a scholarship that will cover all my tuition, to study nursing.

My name is Byron and, as a kid, I honestly didn’t believe I’d grow up to be much of anything. My dad worked three jobs just so we could get by, and my future looked written for me: drugs and jail time, like some other family members. At MAS, I learned to set my goal at getting into college. The college counselors sometimes seemed pushy, but I completed the applications and made the deadlines, something I might not have done if I’d gone to a school with less college prep support. I applied to 12 different schools across the country and so far I’ve been accepted to every one I’ve heard from. I’m excited to move to Arizona at the end of this school year to study computer information systems – on a $24,000 scholarship.

It’s possible we wouldn’t be as successful anywhere else, and we believe every student deserves a shot at finding where they belong, too. We hope you’ll join us in standing up for every New Mexico student’s chance to get the same kind of support, whatever that means for them, and whatever kind of education that comes from. School choice is important, and should be celebrated and encouraged.

The students at risk of falling through the cracks of a system that doesn’t fit them – the students we once were – depend on it.

Mission Achievement and Success Charter Schools (MAS) in Albuquerque has been an A-rated state charter school since 2015 and serves over 1,300 students across Albuquerque.

 

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