Transformative Educational Journey: New Mexico Leaders Explore Success Stories at Anaheim Union High School District

New Mexico is blessed with many brilliant and community driven educational leaders!

UWNCNM had the great privilege to convene a subset of these leaders from orgs like ABC Community Schools Partnerships, Albuquerque Public School Board, Future Focused Education, Kellogg Foundation, National Education Association New Mexico (NEANM), and Southwest Institute for Transformational Community Schools (SWIFT) with partners on site at Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) in Anaheim, California.

Through the collaboration of AUHSD superintendent, Michael Matsuda, and then mayor, the Honorable Tom Tait, AUHSD students, who are comprised of similar demographics and backgrounds as New Mexico students, began outperforming more affluent Californian districts in K-12 & higher education, experienced improved college preparedness and student persistence, completed high school at higher rates and with jobs waiting after graduation. The community saw advances in population indicators such as increased workforce participation amongst youth and more graduates from AUHSD working within the school district.

During the visit, New Mexico educators were exposed to presentations which described the journey of AUHSD, demonstrations from several of their career pathways (which include healthcare, cybersecurity, iLab makerspace, culinary arts). They heard directly from students in panels, during classrooms instruction, and witnessed the unveiling of critical AI technology & tools which help lighten teacher workload.

Throughout the time together, AUHSD shared details of their journey on how they achieved improved student testing results through increased community engagement and student work-based learning experiences.  New Mexico educators on the trip learned about the student-led advocacy that ignited the systems change they now experience. Nine years later, work-based learning in AUHSD looks like giving students school time to spend with employers to learn more about career potential, widespread student mentorship and internship programs, and increased relationship building between teachers and local employers.  

Special thanks are owed to the students, staff, and faculty representing AUHSD, the AIME team, in addition to the Honorable Tom Tait, the Honorable RJ Berry, Tim Nguyen and eKadence, the City of Anaheim, Orange County United Way, North Orange County ROP, Danette Townsend, Danielle Gonzales, Tony Monfiletto, Lawren McConnell, Andrew Montoya, Angelo Gonzales, and the UWNCNM team.  


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