Volunteer Training Program

All course descriptions, instructor bios, and course outlines are listed in chronological order. Please scroll down to review the materials. All modules are currently in development and may be subject to change. 

Volunteer Training Course ScheduleOverall Training Program

Introduction to Volunteerism

Updated Course!
Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM To join training, Click Here
Course Description

Learn details about working with youth within our schools through a variety of facilitators. Teach students how to build their self-efficacy, learn how childhood trauma affects brain development and learn best practices on working with student behaviors.
To view course outline, Click Here

Instructor Biographies

 Photo of Brad Strong Brad Strong began his career as a teacher, college instructor, and trainer while living and working in remote communities in the Arctic, Micronesia, and Africa. With a passion for social and emotional learning, Brad transitioned to the nonprofit sector and found a place to hang his idealistic hat. Through his work in education and international development, Brad led capacity-building initiatives that supported nonprofits and ministries of education in over 20 countries. Brad also led an instructional design process to create and facilitate trainings in holistic child development, health education, conflict resolution, mentoring, and leadership development. More recently, Brad was the Executive Director for a mentoring agency and the founding Executive Director for MENTOR Colorado, the statewide mentoring partnership before starting his newest venture, the Wheelhouse for Nonprofits.
Photo of Craig Pierce

Dr. Craig Pierce is a fellow of the American Psychotherapy Association, a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a board certified PTSD Clinician by the American Psychotherapy Association, a leading expert in trauma-informed treatment, and author of multiple books on effective parenting with over 30 years of experience as a clinical counselor and family therapist. Dr. Pierce is recognized as an expert in the areas of child trauma, substance abuse, childhood/adolescent development, and emotional disorders. In 2016, he was presented the Precious Gems Award for his extensive efforts for the prevention and elimination of child abuse in New Mexico.

Photo of Patty Weigand   Dr. Patty Weigand is a Licensed Behavior Analyst for general education at Santa Fe Public Schools. She is also the Director of the Five-day Autism Training. Dr. Patty is also an Advance Applied Project/Advance Research Project Instructor for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Patty has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2000. She has worked in the field of behavior change processes since 1989, serving a variety of individuals with exceptionalities in numerous environments, including home and school. Patty has been teaching for online graduate-level programs in Applied Behavior Analysis since 2009 and has authored several online courses in the field, including Ethics for the Applied Behavior Analyst, Basic Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Change Techniques in Applied Behavior Analysis, and Clinical Behavior Analysis. Patty is currently preparing several manuscripts for publication on food selectivity and the ethics of invasive ABA treatment procedures as well as the use of learners as problem-based scenario developers in the use of Problem-based Learning as an instructional strategy for professional development in special education. Patty provides online supervision for individuals seeking BCBA certification. She is also developing online training for the certification as a Registered Behavior Technician as well as online CEUs for individuals who possess the BCaBA, BCBA, or the RBT certifications. Patty also provides ABA teletherapy services in functional assessment and behavior intervention planning and training to remote families of children with an exceptionality who live in New Mexico..


Working with English Learners (EL)

This training session will review strategies that can be used by SFPS classroom volunteers to support students who are English learners (EL). 

Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM To join training, Click Here
Course Description

English Learners (ELs), or emergent bilingual students make up 30% of the SFPS student population. As a volunteer with SFPS it is important to think about academic strategies that support multilingual students. In this training session we will provide an overview of language acquisition and how the state of New Mexico and SFPS support emergent bilingual students. We will explore tools to use when working with English Learners and how to scaffold lessons to make them more comprehensible to students. The tips and tools presented are for English learners, but really, they work to support all students! 
To view course outline, Click Here

Photo of Maeghan McComick

Maeghan McCormick is the EL Coach for the SFPS Language and Culture Department. She supports schools in identifying and serving emergent bilingual students and assessing students for English language proficiency. She also serves as an instructional coach for teachers in applying targeted language practices for English Learners in classrooms. Before joining the team at Santa Fe Public Schools she worked as a middle and high school English/ELD and Spanish teacher. She has experience working in traditional school models as well as bilingual and expeditionary learning schools in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. She has a B.A. in Spanish Language and M.A. in Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico.

Reading Quest Tutor Preparation: Part B

Wednesday, October 13, 2021                 

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

To join training, Click here

Course Description

This training will provide concrete support for reading tutors working with children who are reading at a K-3rd grade reading level. This workshop includes; growth mindset, reading rules, phonics and multi-sensory strategies for teaching reading, in addition to providing reading resources, creative strategies and games for teaching reading.
To view the course outline, Click Here

Instructor Biography
Photo of Rayna Dineen Rayna Dineen loves teaching and learning, and has worked in education for 38 years. She received a master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, in addition to doing doctoral work at Colorado State University. She co-directed the Santa Fe Public School based Cariño Community Children’s Program and has worked as an education consultant for EL Education in America, India and Australia. Rayna founded the Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences here in Santa Fe in 2000 and served as their teaching principal for 13 years. She is the founder and executive director of Reading Quest, a non-profit organization which provides year-round, high quality reading tutoring for students who are one or more years behind grade level in reading.

Basic Math Tutor Preparation

Foundational Concepts in Math for third through fifth grade math Tutors-Helping Students to Succeed Through Understanding Math Basics, Patterns and Relationships, Such as Number Sense, Place Value, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division.


Date: Monday, October 25, 2021 Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM To join training, Click Here
Course Description This training will provide Math Tutors with the understanding and tools to help students build confidence and knowledge of fundamental Math concepts. This training can be helpful to all grade levels of students who struggle with basic mathematical operations.
Tutors will learn to determine answers and solutions independently (or working with pairs) by employing various strategies, including Math manipulatives, with coaching and guidance from their tutors. Tutors will be able to identify and direct students through various approaches to mastering of basic math facts and their relationships to each other. Handouts will include practice sheets for understanding Place Value, Number Sense, Fact Families, and also what students are expected to learn during each grade through Common Core information.
To view course outline, Click Here

 Instructor Biography

Cynthia Torcasso Photo

Cynthia Torcasso is a former Dallas ISD elementary school Math teacher. After a decades-long career in Advertising and Marketing Sales and Management, Cynthia went through the 2-year Dallas ISD Alternative Certification Program, beginning in April 2009.  Upon moving permanently to Santa Fe in August 2012, Cynthia began tutoring at Salazar Elementary, joining Santa Fe For Students that became an affiliate of Communities in Schools (CIS). In October 2013, she became the CIS Volunteer Coordinator until August 2017.  Cynthia was a part of the New Mexico Children’s Well-Being Study Group that provided research for Michelle Lujan Grisham’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign manager and policy director. Cynthia then worked as one of two NM Legislature House Education Committee Analysts in the 2019 session. Currently she is a volunteer tutor at Aspen Community School, since 2013, and also is a member of two Santa Fe Public Schools task forces, working with Sabra Romero to improve student academic outcomes through successful relationships with the District’s volunteers.  

Teaching Writing Tutor Preparation

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM To join training, Click Here

Course Description

Teaching Writing- Tools for Success
This seminar will focus on the reasons that students struggle with writing tasks and present concrete strategies for helping students structure their writing and become more confident, successful writers.
To view the course outline, Click Here

 Instructor Biography
 Amy Miller  Amy Miller is founder and Executive Director of May Center for Learning, a school
and outreach center for students with learning differences in Santa Fe, NM.  She
earned her BA in Literature and Education from American University, her MA from
St. John’s College, and her MFA in Writing from Arizona State University. Amy is a
nationally Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) and a certified trainer
for the SEE Multi-Sensory Language Teaching Program. She is a frequent
professional development provider for school districts, schools, and non-profit
organizations, focusing on best practices for students with learning differences,
the science of teaching structured reading and writing, and the importance of
structuring the learning environment to improve executive functioning skills. Amy is
also Chair of Outreach on the board of the Southwest chapter of the International
Dyslexia Association (SWIDA), and she co-chairs The Reading Group, a literacy
initiative focused on improving reading outcomes for students in Santa Fe in
collaboration with the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Public Schools and Opportunity
Santa Fe. Last year, she founded the Dyslexia Justice League, a community that
connects students with dyslexia with adult mentors through superhero stories and
artistic expression as a vehicle for learning about self-advocacy and their own
personal strengths. Where I Come From, a book that Amy co-authored with May
Center students, won the 2014 New Mexico/Arizona Young Adult Book of the

Culturally Relevant Volunteering

Understand the history, culture, and environment of our students. Work with students to facilitate relationship building and overcome barriers.

 Friday, November 19, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Course Description

Beyond Blue and Pink - Beyond Blue and Pink: An introduction to terms, best practices, and the creative navigation of binary systems for Trans/Gender Nonconforming/Non-Binary communities. More Trans/GNC/NB people are coming out than ever before. This progression in Trans visibility means that families, peers, and community organizations are quickly needing guidance on how to best support Trans/GNC/NB people in a system not built for their needs. Jess Clark, the Education and Prevention Manager at Solace Crisis Treatment Center will lead an interactive discussion on basic terminology while re-framing common myths and exploring ways to move in solidarity with Transgender/Gender Nonconforming/Non-Binary communities.   
To view the course outline, Click Here

Anti-Bias and Working with Native American Students -Creating a safe and empowering environment for youth in our schools and communities requires thoughtful attention and inquiry. This training will create a common foundation for understanding the roots of bias and oppression, the intentional and unintentional ways we participate in systems that cause harm, and lay the groundwork in order to create better practices and interrupt harm when we witness it.
To view the course outline, Click Here

Instructor Biographies

 Photo of Jenn Jevertson Jenn Jevertson, M.S., is the Prevention Coordinator for the Office of Student Wellness of the Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS), and oversees the District’s wellness and prevention efforts. Additionally, she oversees the SFPS Safe Zones Program and the Gender Support Plan process for transgender and gender nonconforming students, as well as serving on SFPS’s Diversity and Equity Council. Jenn has over eighteen years experience utilizing experiential education and therapeutic adventure methodologies with children, youth, adults, schools, and organizations. Her expertise includes the content areas of experiential education, bullying, suicide, substance use, anti-bias, anti-oppression, gender/sexuality, and youth-driven work, and is an experienced trainer and facilitator.
Photo of Jess Clark

Jess Clark is the Education and Prevention Manager for Solace Crisis Treatment Center in Santa Fe, NM. His work over the last decade has focused on increasing youth capacity to interrogate systems of oppression, exploring queer/trans masculinities as a site of violence prevention, and supporting organizations in better serving transgender communities through policies, best practices, and learning to be like his grandma. Jess is Vice Board Chair for Girls Inc. of Santa Fe and serves on the Santa Fe Public School District’s Diversity and Equity Council.

 Photo of Alana Schaim Alena Schaim is the Executive Director and Instructor at Resolve, a violence prevention organization based in Santa Fe. She has been working to prevent violence and support survivors for almost 20 years. Her work centers around helping people shift beliefs that shape norms and speak up for themselves & others. She enjoys the balance of supporting school districts and organizations in implementing policies that promote inclusiveness and working directly with staff and students to ensure that community members have the skills to navigate situations that arise. Alena has presented at regional and national conferences on topics including Empowerment Self-Defense, sexual and domestic violence, and preventing violence for specific communities.
 Photo of Karen Dugas Karen Dugas (she/her) is a health educator, parent, daughter, sister, auntie, and youth advisor who is committed to supporting our community to build upon its inherent resiliency. She serves as the NM Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network and Adventure OUT! Program Manager at The Mountain Center in Tesuque, NM. Karen is a seasoned trainer and facilitator on a variety of topics of expertise, including anti-oppression. She earned a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan, and specializes in social determinants of health and behavioral health. She is the treasurer of HEAL+NM, a member of the NM Public Health Association, and an alumna of the NM Women of Color Leadership Initiative. Karen is a Queer Latina of multiracial descent originally from greater Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan and moved to NM in 2013.


Literacy Support for Young Readers

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM

Course Description

Learn effective and practical strategies for supporting young readers. To view the course outline, Click Here

Photo of Kristy Horsting Kristy Horsting (@horsting_kristy) Born in the midwest, transplanted to Brooklyn, and currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kristy is a holistic educator committed to inner peace for outer change. She holds a M. Ed. in Clinical Psychology and Education with a speciality in Spirituality, Mind, & Body from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. Ed. in Elementary Education from Illinois State University. Her experience teaching elementary school in Chicago and New York City as well as her nationwide literacy coaching experience with schools has inspired her use of curiosity and creativity to enable individuals and communities to flourish. Currently, she is the Early Literacy Specialist on the Comprehensive State Literacy Development (CLSD) Team in Santa Fe Public Schools. Kristy loves reading over cups of coffee, full body laughter, and savoring moments of awe in nature.

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