Students meeting online challenge get rewards - Albuquerque Journal

Students meeting online challenge get rewards

Raymond Roybal, a pre-K student at El Camino Real Academy in Santa Fe, is presented with a $25 cash card by Communities In Schools Site Coordinator Justin Michael Salazar. Raymond was one of 60 students who received cash cards as part of Communities In School’s Distance Learning Reward Program. (Courtesy of Communities in Schools)

SANTA FE – Communities In Schools, a nonprofit that collaborates with local businesses to provide support for students in Santa Fe and Española to help keep them in school and achieve success in life, is rewarding students for their hard work in online learning.

As part of its Distance Learning Awards Program, Communities In Schools rewarded about 60 students with $25 cash cards for “notable effort and engagement with online learning,” according to a news release. The cash cards were distributed to students selected by teachers in the 10 schools in the Santa Fe school district and Carlos Vigil Middle School in Española. About the same number of cards will be distributed to students in early December with the aim of awarding students with cash cards every six weeks or so throughout the school year.

bright spot“The Distance Learning Reward Program is made possible by the support of generous local businesses that have provided the funding to sponsor the gift cards.” CIS executive director Julia Bergen said in a statement. “As long as we can secure sponsors to support this endeavor, we will continue acknowledging students and their effort.”

The news release says Communities In Schools recognizes barriers students face with online learning, such as the lack of internet access, reliable connectivity and guidance in using online platforms. The program is intended to encourage students to sign into online school, engage and participate.

Sinte Jackson, a part of the CIS team at Capital High School, said that the incentive program is one way to inspire students facing the additional challenge of attending school without direct contact with teachers and other students.

“At Capital High, it means a lot to have the opportunity to recognize students that are doing well in school, in spite of the very challenging circumstances,” he said. “We have to remember our students have family members with COVID, and for many, their families are really struggling – engaging in school is especially difficult right now.”

Businesses contributing funding to the program include Del Norte Credit Union, the Egolf + Ferlic + Martinez + Harwood law firm, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Santa Fe Title, Southwest Plastering, Sun Mountain Capital, Thornburg Investment Management and White & Luff Financial.

Businesses that would like to contribute to the program can call 505-954-1880 or email Sonja Thorpe Bohannon at

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