ECECD Spotlights Early Childhood Educators for Teacher Appreciation Month

SANTA FE – As part of Teacher Appreciation Month, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) celebrated with visits by agency leadership to early childhood centers in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Pecos, and Pojoaque Pueblo, delivering treats and supplies and meeting with teachers, administrators, and other staff. While these early childhood professionals play a critical role in the development and wellbeing of our state’s youngest population, they are among the lowest paid workers in the economy and early childhood education systems are experiencing teacher shortages nationwide. The Lujan Grisham administration has made significant investments to reverse this trend and boost the early childhood workforce across New Mexico, including the recent launch of the Early Childhood Educator Student Success Grant on May 6.

“As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Month, it’s important to give special recognition to early childhood educators, who for too long have not received the professional respect and support they deserve,” said ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky.

“Early childhood educators are critical to the growth, development, and wellbeing of New Mexico children during their most important formational years. This administration is making historic investments to support the early childhood workforce in New Mexico by improving compensation, increasing diversity, and removing barriers to obtaining professional credentials and degrees.”

To help provide financial support for early childhood professionals seeking advanced degrees in the field, the Early Childhood Educator Student Success Grant offers a stipend of up to $2,000 per semester/trimester for the 2022-23 academic year. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours and working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at an accredited institution of higher learning in New Mexico. ECECD estimates that more than 800 early childhood professionals are currently eligible to receive a stipend through the new grant.

Students may use the grant funding for expenses outside of the scope of tuition and fees, such as on gas, child care, rent, supplies, internet, food, and any other expense that supports the student’s classroom attendance. New Mexico higher education institutions will administer and distribute the stipend program.

In accordance with the objectives and goals laid out in its New Mexico Early Childhood Strategic Plan (2021-2024), this grant opportunity will help ensure that New Mexico’s early childhood workforce is supported to meet the needs of all families and young children through an aligned professional development system and through compensation that reflects the level of experience and training. The Early Childhood Educator Student Success Grant has a projected cost of about $2.4 million, funded through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRSSA) Act.

Since ECECD’s inception, the agency has made significant investments to ensure that the state’s early childhood workforce is supported to meet the needs of New Mexico families and young children. Through ECECD, the Lujan Grisham administration has:

  • Doubled enrollment in the ECECD scholarship program, which provides free tuition for early childhood professionals seeking an advanced degree from one of New Mexico’s institutions of higher education;
  • Tripled the number of educators enrolled in the ECECD wage supplement program, which is open to any early childhood educator who earns less than $16/hr and has at least five credit hours of early childhood education coursework completed;
  • Created a special $1,500 bonus for early childhood educators who are certified bilingual in recognition of the importance of supporting linguistically appropriate education in our culturally diverse state, especially among New Mexico’s 23 Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations;
  • Launched the PreK Parity program to better align community-based PreK teacher salaries with school-based PreK teachers who have similar education and experience, increasing qualifying teachers’ annual income between 10 and 20 thousand dollars;
  • Increased child care subsidy rates, calibrated to build in higher wages for center-based workers and a base salary for home-based providers;
  • Issued one-time incentive checks of $1,500 to 7,665 child care professionals across the state, totaling nearly 11.5 million dollars.

More information about these teacher programs can be found at www.ececdscholarship.org

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to editor@grantcountybeat.com. Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.