June 11 Admission:

By donation
open to all

 June 12 Admission:

See price list below
An Annual Meeting & Conference
open to all

You may register for one or both of these events in advance or pay onsite. 
Register Now! 

Walk ups welcome!

The Film

A Place to Stand

A Place to Stand is the story of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from a functionally illiterate convict to an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter.

Told through extensive interviews with Jimmy, his family, friends and peers, A Place to Stand follows Jimmy’s path from Estancia, New Mexico – where he lived with his indigenous grandparents – through childhood abandonment, adolescent drug dealing and a subsequent 5-year narcotics sentence at Arizona State Prison in Florence, one of the most violent prisons in the country.

Brutalized by the inhumanity of his incarceration, Jimmy survived by exploring deep within, discovering poetry at his soul’s core. Through the life changing capacity of poetry, writing and arts, he stepped away from the violence and negativity around him, healing the wounds of his childhood and opening him to a new future.

Jimmy’s extraordinary life is both inspiring and haunting, simultaneously an indictment of our current criminal justice system and a model of the potential for human transformation.

June 11

3:00 - 4:30

A Place to Stand

4:30 - 6:00

Poetry Reading, Jimmy Santiago Baca & Jason Yurcic

Meet & Greet, Jimmy Santiago Baca & Local Authors (books & t-shirts for sale!)

Reception (w/heavy hors d'oeuvres)

The Conference


June 12

8:00 - 9:00

Check-in & On-site Registration

9:00 - 10:00

Welcome & Keynote Speaker, Jimmy Santiago Baca

10:00 - 10:15

NMCL Annual Meeting

10:15 - 10:45

Break & Exhibits

10:45 - 12:15



12:15 - 1:00


1:00 - 1:45


1:45 - 2:15

Break & Exhibits

2:15 - 3:45


3:45 - 4:00

Raffle & Farewell

Keynote Address

How Reading and Writing Enabled Me to Achieve My Dream


Jimmy Santiago Baca

Born in New Mexico of Indio-Mexican descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was raised first by his grandmother and later sent to an orphanage. A runaway at age 13, it was after Baca was sentenced to five years in a maximum security prison that he began to turn his life around: he learned to read and write and unearthed a voracious passion for poetry. During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.  Instead of becoming a hardened criminal, he emerged from prison a writer. Baca sent three of his poems to Denise Levertov, the poetry editor of Mother Jones. The poems were published and became part of Immigrants in Our Own Land, published in 1979, the year he was released from prison. He earned his GED later that same year. He is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award and for his memoir "A Place to Stand" the prestigious International Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award. Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship. His themes include American Southwest barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond. He has conducted hundreds of writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country. In 2005 he created Cedar Tree Inc., a nonprofit foundation that works to give people of all walks of life the opportunity to become educated and improve their lives. He is also producing a two hour documentary about the power of literature and how it can change lives.


10:45 - 12:15

Donna Audette, Principal & Owner
Coaching with Care 

Best Practices of Highly Functioning Boards
This workshop will review best practices in nonprofit governance including roles and responsibilities of Board Chairs, Board Members, and Executive Directors. Participants are encouraged to share best practices from their own corporations.

Diane Ross, Basic Literacy Trainer & Training Coordinator
New Mexico Coalition for Literacy 

Finding a Place to Stand
Tutors will learn, through excerpts from Jimmy Santiago Baca’s biographical film, another way to present critical thinking frameworks to their students. The workshop topics include the following: Eureka Moment - What was the defining moment?Identity - How do we define ourselves, through nature, nurture and/or choice? What is the fable of your life? What is your symbolic prison? What are the internal and external obstacles we need to overcome? Although the curriculum is geared to groups, the questions and activities can be applied to individual learners. The modules have been adapted to many experiences, with emphasis on uncovering our passion and purpose. Participants will practice with worksheets.   

Karen Taylor de Caballero, Director
English Language Training Solutions

Supporting Literacy with the Color Vowel™ Chart, Part I
Learning to read in English is complicated by the fact that English orthography is “deep”– that is, even though English is an alphabetic language, many words are not spelled phonetically. Most spelling ‘rules’ are accompanied by numerous exceptions, such that encouraging learners to “sound it out” only sets them up for failure. There is a better way! Karen Taylor will demonstrate the use of the Color Vowel™ Chart, a visual-kinesthetic tool developed over the past fifteen years and now used world-wide.   The assignment of a unique color to each vowel sound allows both student and teacher to easily talk about vowel sounds, all without the use of phonetic symbols. Participants will learn how to use inquiry-based activities that empower students to use the Color Vowel Chart as a powerful graphic organizer so that they can read and spell the words and phrases that matter most to them.

Emily Pawlowski, Research Associate
American Institutes for Research 

A Profile of Low-Skilled Adults in the U.S.: Results from the Program for the
onal Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
What are the cognitive skills of the low-skilled adults in the U.S.?  What are the contributing factors to skill acquisition and skill decline among adults including the impact of socio-economic background, education and training, work experiences, and skill use at work and home? This workshop will provide the most current detailed data on U.S. adults who are low-skilled in literacy, numeracy, and digital problem-solving, using results from the 2012 Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). This workshop will also include a discussion of how to use PIAAC data in your grants and marketing materials and provide an introduction to PIAAC data tools and resources including Education & Skills Online, designed to assess individuals’ skills based on PIAAC measures.

2:15 - 3:45

Marty Finsterbusch, Executive Director

How to Advocate for What You Need and Want
Getting what you want need will vastly improve programs, life and community. This workshop will consist of identifying the difference between “advocating”, “lobbying” and answering the key questions for an advocacy plan. Come to learn what advocacy is and how it can help you! 

Joy Poole, Deputy State Librarian
New Mexico State Library

Brainfuse:  A  Web-based Educational Program for Tutors and Students
The NM State Library offers an electronic database for New Mexicans. This program features interactive tools for the three R’s plus U.S. Citizenship and English as a Second Language for Grades 3 – college. Come view a demonstration of this online homework help tool and learn the potential instructional opportunities and learning opportunities for you and your adult students.

Karen Taylor de Caballero, Director
English Language Training Solutions 

Supporting Literacy with the Color Vowel™ Chart, Part II
Our conventional use of “long” and “short” to describe vowel sounds is inaccurate and prejudicial, favoring already-successful readers while punishing vulnerable learners. Discover how The Color Vowel™ Chart provides tutors and learners with a simple, accurate alternative to ‘long’ and ‘short’ while opening up new avenues for progress in spelling and reading.

Curtis Mearns, Senior Researcher & Evaluator
Apex Education

Preliminary Findings from a Recent Study of the Literacy System in New Mexico
This presentation will provide preliminary findings of a system level evaluation of adult literacy programs in New Mexico. It is aimed at quantifying outcomes and determining areas where systemic improvement could save local literacy programs staff time, such as through data collection and reporting efficiencies. Perhaps more importantly, developing a sound program description will help future planners understand which elements of the system are flexible and others that are inflexible.


First Unitarian Church 
3701 Carlisle Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Driving Directions 


June 11

By donation


 June 12


General Admission, $40
Student, Tutor, or Local Program Boards, $10 


General Admission, $50
Student Tutor, or Local Program Boards, $15

NMCL Award Recipients or NMCL Trainers, FREE! 

Hotel Info.

La Quinta Inn & Suites 
2011 Menaul Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Driving Directions