About the Project

The goal of The Expanding Opportunities Project is to recruit and retain school-based mental health (SBMH) providers to serve the needs of students across the state, with a focus on rural and frontier communities that have a high percentage of at-risk and vulnerable student populations.

Local Education Agencies (LEAs)

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is collaborating with selected local education agencies (LEAs) to coordinate program activities that support SBMH provider recruitment and retention. Most LEAs across the state are included in the project, with criteria based on demographics, geographic location, lack of access to SBMH resources, poverty, and other identifiable factors that align with project goals.

Due to the urban makeup of the locations, the LEAs of Albuquerque, Farmington, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe are excluded from the project.

Universities

To help channel school-based mental health provider trainees toward selected LEAs, to foster rural SBMH provider communities, and to support the overarching goals of the program, NMPED is partnering with the following five largest universities in the state:

  • Eastern New Mexico University
  • New Mexico Highlands University
  • New Mexico State University
  • University of New Mexico
  • Western New Mexico University

Native American Communities

The Expanding Opportunities project collaborates with many Native American communities in the state to support their students and schools.

Other State Agencies

NMPED is also investing in the already strong and ongoing partnerships with other state agencies, with special focus given to the Office of School and Adolescent Health in the Public Health Division of the New Mexico Department of Health.

Professional Learning

As part of the collaboration between NMPED and participants, we will be designing regional professional learning communities to develop social connections and to discuss readings, current events, and other relevant topics. We will schedule these learning opportunities regularly and will provide materials as needed.