ON TUESDAY the City and Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) announced a program to grant four hours of paid leave per month to employees for the purpose of volunteering in the schools. The program is designed to help compensate for shortages of full-time teachers, substitutes, staff, and volunteers in the schools and the School District.
Grace Mayer, National Education Association (NEA-SF), President and Teacher, originally conceived of this program prior to the pandemic, which has exacerbated the need for volunteers.
“This collaborative effort between City employees and SFPS staff will ease some of the demands we are experiencing because of vacancies that have gone unfilled in our public schools,” says Mayer. “More importantly, the connections and relationships that adults will make with students will enrich their educational experience and foster a sense of community and belonging.”
"We really need the community to wrap around our schools right now,” says Kate Noble, President of the Board of Education. “It's been a tough time and our educators, families, and students need support."
SFPS Superintendent Hilario "Larry" Chavez says volunteers can support academic achievement and provide emotional support to students, as well. They also provide meaningful support to staff at all levels in a variety of ways. “We encourage every individual to at least try it,” he says.