Community Schools

Our Mission

The Southwest Institute For Transformational (SWIFT) Community Schools works to build and improve systems of support that enable community schools to realize their full potential as a school transformation strategy. 


SWIFT Community Schools was founded in February 2023 with funding from a Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS) award secured by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Both SWIFT Community Schools and the CDS award originated as a collaborative effort by the ABC Community School Partnership, National Education Association - New Mexico, and Communities In Schools of New Mexico.


How We Work


Through our Center of Excellence for Community Schools, we provide direct technical assistance and capacity building support to practitioners and their community partners in new, emerging, and mature community schools.


We advocate for needed policies at all levels of government to grow the number of community schools, while ensuring that supportive conditions are in place to enable and accelerate community school transformation.


We advocate for increased funding for community schools at all levels of government, and we provide guidance to community schools in how to effectively braid and blend multiple funding streams to carry out local priorities.


We engage students, families, community members, and educators at the local level to ensure that their interests and priorities drive our work; we serve as a clearinghouse of information for community schools and their local communities; and we create networking opportunities for community school practitioners and their community partners to communicate, collaborate, and build trusting relationships.

Community School Strategy

A community school is a locally driven school transformation strategy that
promotes child well-being. Community schools leverage and coordinate the
resources of the whole community to build a thriving school for students,
families, school staff (including educators), and community partners.


Integrated Systems of Support


Expanded, Enriched Learning Opportunities


Powerful Student and Family Engagement


Collaborative Leadership, Shared Power and Voice


Community-Connected Classroom Instruction


Culture of Belonging, Safety and Care

Center of Excellence for Community Schools

SWIFT Community Schools operates the Center of Excellence for Community Schools, which provides training and support for robust implementation of the community school strategy statewide.

The Center will develop a network of technical assistance, resources, training, and professional learning opportunities for use by community school principals, coordinators, site-based leadership team members, and other practitioners in New Mexico, with eventual expansion to the southwestern United States.

2023-2024 Priorities


Community Schools Fellowship Program

Starting in August 2023, we will launch the Community School Fellowship program, a series of two 10-week interactive courses on collaborative leadership for up to 50 principals, plus two community learning exchanges for the participating principals and two additional team members from their schools. Stipends will be provided to all participants.



Community Engagement

SWIFT Community Schools will engage with students, families, community members, educators, and school staff in community schools throughout New Mexico to learn more about how the community school strategy is being implemented and to identify opportunities for support. To date, we have conducted community conversations in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, with more planned in communities statewide.



Targeted Capacity Building Support

SWIFT Community Schools will develop and curate key practices, tools, resources, and training for schools to improve community school implementation, with an eye toward long-term sustainability. Working through a network of consultants, SWIFT will provide technical assistance and other support to community schools at different stages of their transformation journey.



Supportive Infrastructure

SWIFT Community Schools will develop and advocate for state-level policy recommendations to expand and sustain community schools beyond the existing Community Schools Act grant program (which only provides funding for four years of implementation) and to ensure that community schools have access to supportive infrastructure, such as technical assistance and training, to maximize their impact.

CIS children 2019
dh121115g/a-sec-metro/12112015---Liliana Montes (CQ) left, gets help from Rosita Hernandez (CQ) while trying on their CNM graduation gowns, photographed on Friday December 11, 2015. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
Ortiz Student b