Las Cruces Education

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Las Cruces Public Schools is the state's second largest school district and the third-largest employer in Dona Ana County. Specialized programs include a Bilingual Education Program geared to English proficiency and academic and ultimately career success. There is also a preschool program for toddlers younger than kindergarten age, an in-school program for pregnant teens, and a drug abuse prevention program. A new "Drop Back In" Mentorship program matches at-risk student with adult mentors. There are also special vocational/technical programs featuring nontraditional, nonacademic training for fields such as construction. Programs for special education students and for the gifted or talented are strong.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Las Cruces Public School District as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total Enrollment: 23,100

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 22

middle schools: 7

high schools: 4

Student/teacher ratio: 16:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $32,120

maximum: $54,587

Funding per pupil: $6,414

Public Schools Information: Las Cruces Public Schools, 505 S. Main, Suite 249, Las Cruces, NM 88001; telephone (505)527-5800

Colleges and Universities

New Mexico State University (NMSU), with 16,428 students, is home to six colleges: Agriculture and Home Economics, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Health and Social Service. NMSU offers 77 baccalaureate, 50 masters, and 20 doctoral programs, plus a specialist in education in four study areas. With 780 faculty members, the student teacher ratio is about 19 to one; about 81 percent of the faculty has earned doctoral degrees. NMSU offers Ph.D. degrees in engineering, business, agricultural science, and arts and sciences. NMSU is regarded among the top ten colleges and universities in the United States in research and development.

Dona Ana Branch Community College (DABCC), actually a branch of new Mexico State University and located on NMSU's campus, was instituted in 1973 to meet the needs of students who wish to achieve one year certificates and two year associates degrees in medical, technical, and business fields. The college's Adult Basic Education Outreach Program and Community Education Program have been noted by the U.S. Department of Education for promoting literacy and preparing individuals for high school equivalency exams. DABCC also has programs for high school students in Dona Ana County. Enrollment is around 5,000 and is expected to reach 7,000 by 2010.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Las Cruces public library, called Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, has more than 165,000 items which include audio, video, and microform media as well as print items. The library provides free internet access seven days a week, a Bookmobile, a Spanish Collection, almost 500 subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals, and a genealogy collection. The New Mexico State University Library holds over a million volumes housed in two buildings on the Las Cruces main campus. The Branson Library houses items pertaining to the Arts, Humanities, and Social Services, while the Zuhl Library contains government documents, special collections, and categories of Sciences, Engineering, and Business

Major research centers at New Mexico State University include the Engineering Research Center, which coordinates research functions in many engineering disciplines; the Physical Science Laboratory, which performs research, development, testing, and evaluation for NASA; The Rio Grande Corrido, which includes the NMSU computing research laboratory, focusing on artificial intelligence and genetic engineering; and Arrowhead Research Park and Genesis Center, specializing in research and development and providing affordable incubator space for small technology based start-up companies. The Carnegie Foundation ranked New Mexico State as a Level One research facility; it receives more than $300 million in total research contracts. Waste Management Education and Research Consortium helps develop environmental management resources; New Mexico Water Resource Research Institute explores water issues; New Mexico Border Research Institute plays an integral role in promoting international trade and cultural exchange; and the Advanced Manufacturing Center has a mission to enhance education, research, and business in the manufacturing industry. There are also the Arts and Sciences Research Center and an agricultural experiment station, and the university interacts with outside military and industrial research facilities in the area.

Public Library Information: Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho, Las Cruces, NM 88001; telephone (505)528-4000