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Schools where our kids can thrive

Dear Friend,
If we commit to going “All In” on a stronger foundation for our kids, we can build a New Mexico that they will be proud to call home. That starts with welcoming and healthier school environments, where they can learn important skills, make new friends, and build their confidence.
Last week, I visited the Wildcats Blooms Community Garden at Wilson Middle School in Albuquerque. Students there are learning to grow and harvest healthy fruits and vegetables and the plants that support pollinators.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich visits the Wildcats Blooms Community Garden at Wilson Middle School in Albuquerque, May 19, 2023.
I know from my own experience as a father and an outdoor educator that getting outside can make a huge difference for kids. It grounds them with a sense of place. It helps put their daily experiences in perspective. And it gives them the activity they crave and need to be healthy.
All New Mexico’s schools should have the support and funding to transform their schoolyards into thriving outdoor learning spaces like the gardens at Wilson Middle School. That’s what the Living Schoolyards Act that I just introduced in the Senate will do. My bill would establish a new grant program to help more schools create outdoor learning environments.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich visits with cafeteria staff at Wilson Middle School in Albuquerque, May 19, 2023.
While we were at Wilson, we also visited with the cafeteria staff who help feed students every single school day. No child in New Mexico should go hungry. Thanks to a new law that passed this year in the Legislature, our state will now provide free and universal school meals for all of our kids. I want to take this effort to the national level.
That’s why I am partnering with Senators Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand to pass the Universal School Meals Program Act in the Senate. Our legislation provides a permanent solution to end child hunger in schools by offering free breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack to all students—preschool through high school— regardless of income.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich visits the Pueblo of Isleta Head Start & Child Care Center, May 19, 2023.
During the same day, I visited children and teachers at the Pueblo of Isleta’s Head Start and Child Care Center. The Pueblo is giving children a strong foundation by providing culturally responsive early childhood education. At Isleta Head Start and Child Care Center students have the opportunity to learn and strengthen their Tiwa language in the most critical years of language development.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich attends ceremony where the Special Olympics and ESPN recognized Rio Rancho Elementary School as a National Unified School, May 19, 2023.
I also joined ESPN and Special Olympics New Mexico at a ceremony recognizing Rio Rancho Elementary School for becoming a National Unified Champion School. Rio Rancho Elementary is one of only five schools in the entire country—and the only elementary school—to meet all the national standards set by the Special Olympics for building a unified and inclusive community for all of its students.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift from surviving to thriving – as school communities and as a state. I am excited to make this vision a reality for our children, their schools, and our communities.
United States Senator