Kenny Griffis, on left, and Hot Springs High Ag teacher, Julian Marta

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - T-or-C School’s Director of Maintenance, Kenny Griffis, on left, and Hot Springs High Ag teacher, Julian Marta discuss the location for construction of the greenhouse and for the hoop house to be moved from AppleTree Educational Center. Both made possible with grant money awarded to the schools.  

Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools have been awarded grant money to fund two new projects at the high school and enhance and expand a third. The money, coming from joint state and federal programs, totals $141,280. The grant money and the programs that will be supported by it are due to be discussed at the next school board meeting, with their approval expected.

Due to be funded with this is the purchase and construction of a greenhouse on the high school campus, the development of a film production curriculum that will launch in the Ag Leadership class, and the expansion of dual enrollment classes, many of which are already in progress. The grant money was located and successfully applied for through a joint effort by Hot Springs high Ag teacher Julian Marta, Stephanie Brownfield, the district’s Director of Federal Programs, and Raybella Schnyder, Coordinator of Curriculum.

One of the new offerings, film and digital media will recruit students from Mr. Marta’s Ag Leadership and Communication team. One portion of the grant, totaling $34,000 is earmarked for this course. With New Mexico seeking to support and expand the film industry in the state, this course is one that sees collaboration between the schools with local and state partners.

Students engaged in the film class will learn to use the tools to enable them to tell their stories and document their work using this media. They will be involved in learning all aspects of video film production, from concept and development through scripting and camera work to final editing and post-production work.

First year work will include study of the uses of media and understanding how it can be used and its importance in conveying information, discerning good, or accurate information from among all that is out there. With film and sound recording professionals located in the area, and the proximity to Spaceport America and the opportunities it provides that can feed into this program, its growth and popularity with students is expected to grow.

Another portion of the grant is designated for the purchase and construction of a greenhouse on the Hot Springs High campus. The greenhouse is expected to be completed before the end of the current school year, and to be up and running by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year in August. With the Ag department taking the lead with this as well, the greenhouse will be a valuable tool, both in agricultural education and in the schools’ culinary arts program. Students will learn all aspects of foods, from growing, harvesting and processing, to nutrition and food preparation, that is, cooking. The expectation is that students will be able to not only grow the food, but then also to use the fruits of their labors to prepare food to eat, or produce to sell at farmer’s markets, or be used in the cafeteria.

Both the film and digital media curriculum and the greenhouse are new expansions what is on offer to the district’s students and can grow to incorporate even more educational opportunities over time.

The final portion of the recently awarded grant money will be used to enhance and expand the already in place and growing number of duel high school and college courses available. Working with New Mexico State University, Western and Eastern New Mexico Universities as well as Central New Mexico Community College and Dona Ana Community College, the opportunities for students at Hot Springs High to earn both high school and college credits while attending school here, as well as working toward and earning vocational certification across a wide range of areas, from child care to food service to industrial trades such as welding.

Watch for features that will take a look at these and other new courses offered to our students this year, not only at Hot Springs High but also T-or-C Middle School and our elementary schools in upcoming issues of the Sentinel.

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