An Amy Biehl education guarantees youth a pathway to college. Through extra academic support after school, on Saturdays, during breaks and in the summer, students can make up for lost ground and find relevance in their studies. As you know, many students entering Amy Biehl have English and Math skills one to two grade levels below where they should be. This means the academics at Amy Biehl must be very rigorous to prepare these students for success in their two college courses in their senior year as well as being accepted into college on graduation.
Over the past several years, ABHS realized that high expectations (2 college classes and 75% minimum grade in all classes) must be balanced with high levels of support. Now, every student spends 120 minutes a week with their advisor who provides academic guidance and communicates with the student’s family regularly. In addition, the out-of-school academic and enrichment spaces give students the skills and confidence needed to stay in school. These initiatives have led to a dramatic decrease in attrition and increase in graduates without lowering our standards. Now, ABHS outperforms the state in ACT scores because we require supplemental literacy and math classes to all students who cannot demonstrate proficiency.
These additional programs cost more than the State of New Mexico provides. An Amy Biehl education costs $6500 per student annually of which $5500 is supplied by the State. This additional $1000 has proven to improve reading and math scores, work habits, attendance, pass rates, and ultimately lead to higher graduation rates.
So, here are some of the ways your gifts can help Amy Biehl Charter High School continue to provide its successful college prep programs.
$25,000 Senior Fellows Program
The Senior Fellows Program is a yearlong service opportunity for all 55 seniors that combines their academic and service commitments to meet community needs. It is a capstone for seniors and is part of ABHS’ commitment to graduating “conscious scholars” who are prepared for academic success and a life of service.
The Fellowship includes an intensive curriculum (beginning in their junior year), individual coaching, mentorship, and in-depth work with a local nonprofit. Guided by a mentor, students design a 100-hour service learning project to explore a passion (and possible career interest), serve the community, and meet a community need.
This program cultivates the next generation of Social Profit leaders, strengthens pathways to higher education, and provides dynamic hands-on philanthropic leadership experience, while providing needed “boots on the ground” to provide direct services through established nonprofits.
Beneficiaries include clients of the 40 – 60 nonprofits that receive direct services via ABHS Fellows each year. Fellows have served at a variety of nonprofits including Carrie Tingley Hospital, St. Martin’s Hospitality, Trinity House, Enlace Communitario, and Cuidando Los Niños.
$25,000 College Engagement Program
At Amy Biehl, we require every senior to take two college classes at UNM or CNM that support their service work. Many of our students are minorities and come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. For these young adults, the College Engagement program is often the only exposure they have to higher education. This program supports 60 students in their transition to college by showing them the relevance of education in effecting change. It is a successful strategy: 99% of our seniors have been admitted to college; 86% of alumni continue their education one to five years after high school graduation; and more than 50% of graduates continue community service after leaving high school.
$10,000 Arts, Music and Enrichment Program
The Arts, Music and Enrichment program provides 250 students access to two enrichment classes taught by local artists, musicians, film makers, photographers, and performers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Enrichment opportunities are an essential component to well-rounded education. And, it has been shown that students with an arts rich education have better grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math and dropout out of school at lower rates.
Technological proficiency is an important part of preparing students for life beyond high school. It is our goal to be able to offer each senior access to a laptop for use while he or she is attending ABHS. This will benefit our students who do not have ready access to computers outside of school. We are working towards making laptops available while students attend school to help them complete assignments, prepare for the rigors of college, and increase computer proficiency.
Similar to the Enrichment programs, sports are vital for child development. ABHS offers a wide-variety of sports including volleyball, soccer, rugby, and basketball. Funds are used to pay certified officials, transport students to and from games, new equipment and provide jerseys for low-income students.
$5000 Literature Circles
Literature Circles involve 1 adult and 5 students who meet for one hour a week to discuss a book, including fiction and non-fiction texts. Literary Circles have been a valuable part of the Humanities curriculum and continue to provide opportunities for different generations to learn from each other. Every year we invite 25 community members to lead a group. This is an opportunity for adults from the community to read and discuss books with insightful and enthusiastic students who are striving to become "citizens of the literary world".
$2500 Angel Fund
The Angel Fund provides low-income seniors money for college application fees and college trips. We believe access to education is a right for all students. The Angel Fund allows all students to experience a college campus before graduation and expands their ability to attend out of state colleges.