Local charter school selected as quarter finalist in national competition

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A local school is getting national recognition for its work with nontraditional learners. 

“I just said you know, let me give it a shot and see how it goes,” Beth Dorado said about entering her school for a chance to win a million dollars.

Beth Dorado is the director at the Gordon Bernell Charter School in Albuquerque.

“We still have a campus inside the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center. So we serve incarcerated adult students out of the county jail. And then we’ve had a variety of community campuses over the years with the intention that we meet individuals while they’re incarcerated, and then transition with them back into the community,” she said.

So what about that million dollars?

“The Yass Prize is an annual opportunity to earn money out of the Center for Education Reform. And that’s a nonprofit who helps support schools that are doing something different, ” said Dorado.

Over 2,000 schools applied from across the country, and 64 were chosen for the quarterfinals, including Gordon Bernell.

Just for being quarter-finalists, the school won $100,000.

For Ingrid Montoya, just helping students every day is a reward enough.

“Here I am helping the students that I was once one of them, you know, struggling to, to get my life situated. And I met many people on the way. I have a lot of faith in this school,” she said.

The school has about 400 adult and high school students, some of them in jail.

With the $100,000, Dorado said they hope to grow their programs.

“We’re looking at career development programs. We’re looking at increasing our behavioral and social supports, and long term, we would love to be attached to transitional housing for our students,” said Dorado.