Education column: Civic center hosts combined celebratory event

The Clovis Civic Center was home to a combined celebratory event this past week, the culmination of a great deal of work on the part of Clovis Municipal Schools’ staff and students. The first part of the evening was the CMS Family Leadership Institute’s awards presentations. The second part of the evening was the announcement and acknowledgment of the Clovis High School students receiving the Bilingual Seal this year.

The Family Leadership Institute continues to grow within our district and has served as a model to the surrounding communities of Portales and Roswell. Brainchild of Retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch the Family Leadership Institute  was integrated into the CMS federal programs about 10 years ago by then Federal Programs Director David Briseno.

The programs have continued to flourish and expand under current CMS Federal Programs Director Eva Garcia. The FLI program “crosses all ethnic and cultural boundaries and provides the knowledge, tools, and inspiration for strengthening families through building leadership skills and educational support for children as a key to a better future.”

Participating families commit to a series of 10 learning modules as well as spending a designated number of hours volunteering in their child’s classroom. The modules cover such topics as leadership in the home; the importance of education; relationships and partnering with the schools; goal setting; dealing with challenges, and more. The weekly sessions are facilitated by Sylvia Montano, CMS Family Services Specialist/Eastern ENLACE Regional Director and Joe Moreno of the Clovis schools, in both English and Spanish. The FLI program has been on-going for approximately ten years and has “graduated” almost a thousand parents.

The second part of the evening was the celebration of the Bilingual Seal recipients, soon-to-be graduates of Clovis High School. The Bilingual Seal is awarded to graduating seniors who have met all the requirements of the program. These include the overall application process; passing the reading and writing portions of the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment; passing the Language Assessment Scale Reading Assessment in Spanish, and complying with the same LAS standards for writing assessment accuracy. Students must also undergo interviews and screenings in English and Spanish in front of a committee to assess both speaking and listening skills. Being awarded the Bilingual Seal is no small task, and this year’s recipients totaled 12.

The evening at the Civic Center was truly inspiring, between the keynote speech, delivered by David Briseno, and the testimonials movingly presented by four of the parents who were FLI graduates.

It was gratifying to experience the benefits of programs such as these and the efforts of the individuals who facilitate them; programs that go beyond the classroom to enhance education in supporting families and students.

Musician Jordan Blake Michiels noted: “It is important to note that in leadership, it’s not always simply about control or power, but responsibility. Both spouses have the responsibility to own the relationship and the environment they create for themselves and their family.”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at