April 2021 Ignited Minds News

Greetings to our Ignited Minds friends and supporters!

Ignited Minds is winding down online tutoring at Escalante Middle & High School in Los Ojos, New Mexico. From January to the end of April, our tutors delivered 318 hours of FREE tutoring to school and student clients valued at $20,215.00. We made a huge impact on students’ grades according to our student survey. Thank you to the volunteer tutors for making our program such a success!

  • 85% of students completed more assignments after receiving tutoring.
  • 88.9% of students learned at least one concept during each tutoring session.
  • Students felt more confident with their academic subject after being tutored.
  • 29.8% students received Ds and Fs before tutoring. Students received no Fs and only 3.8% received Ds after receiving tutoring.
  • 55.5% of students earned As and Bs before receiving tutoring. 77.7% of students receive As and Bs after receiving tutoring.
  • 77.8% of students stated tutoring helped them to make up 1-5 missing assignments and they stayed current with assignments while being tutored.
  • 25.9% of students stated Algebra 1 is their hardest class. 51.9% of students received tutoring for their hardest class.
  • 29.6% of students do not have someone at home to help them with homework.
  • 77.8% of student said they would use a drop-in tutoring center at their school site.
  • 96.3% of students would refer a friend to Ignited Minds tutoring.

Student comments:

“What I liked the most about Ignited Minds is the tutors. They tutors were so helpful and nice to me.”

“Tutoring with Ignited Minds gave me a way to work with my peers.”

“Tutoring helps me get a better understanding of the subject I’m studying.”

“The tutors are kind and understanding.”

“The tutors help with every question.”

“I like that when I don’t understand an assignment, I can ask for help and the tutors explain to me how to do it.”

“I like the way they help us no matter the subject or how difficult it is to work with us kids. I have learned many things while being tutored that have really helped me in English class.”

“I like how clearly tutors explain everything.”

“I like connecting with other people, learning more, and being able to understand math better.”

Summer Programming

Ignited Minds is expanding its programming at Amy Biehl High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Amy Biehl is a year-round school. Online Math tutoring will begin at this school June 2021. English Language Arts tutors will tutor at the school site next academic year.

We will continue to tutor private clients over the summer with SAT preparation.

Our foster care students take a break for the summer. After meeting the CEO of Child’s Haven, Inc.-the foster care shelter in Farmington, we will resume foster care shelter tutoring next academic year.

Tutoring Business Model

There is a shortage of math tutors and resources throughout New Mexico, including a math teacher shortage. The schools I have been in communication with all indicate that math skills are in critical need of additional support. Because of this shortage, tutors are recruited from all over the country. Although I get interest from international tutors, their services cannot be used because criminal background checks cannot be performed on them. Therefore, our current business model is that math tutors will remain online unless we have a school partner in proximity to the tutors’ homes; tutors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering any client facility; and the tutor expresses interest in tutoring at such school sites. I continue to work with our Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) Los Alamos Partnership to address these issues from a policy and teacher professional development perspective. We have 25 volunteer tutors. Our goal is to grow to 100 volunteers by end of year 2021.

Monitors Needed

Security of our students and tutors is the highest priority for Ignited Minds. We need more monitors to support tutors and students with online learning. If you know someone who has a full computer set up, and they want to volunteer, please refer them to me at ignitedminds505@gmail.com. They do NOT have to be a New Mexico resident.

Meet our Board of Directors

Ignited Minds has fully installed its first board of directors. We are a self-governing nonprofit. Therefore, our directors are charged with holding our executive director accountable for reaching our organization’s over-arching goals and championing fundraising from private and corporate donors. Grant writing will remain on the operations side of the organization. The board will continue to recruit directors to develop a diverse board.

Seeking Grant Writing Assistance

Because we are a start-up, it has been difficult to win grants. We have been fortunate to have received a small grant from Los Alamos Foundation. Our grant boiler plate templates and budget summaries have been completed and are robust. However, we need someone who has grant writing experience to review our grants and give us constructive feedback to increase our chance of awards. To learn more about our directors, click here.


Mari Lynch, Santa Fe Tutor (ELA) 

Thank you to Maria for managing our tutoring platform and monitoring during my absence May 3rd & 4th when my husband and I traveled throughout the state to meet with Ignited Minds business partners and clients in person. We traveled to Chama, Durango, Farmington, and Albuquerque. 

Dr. Jenna Viscaya, Albuquerque Tutor (ELA) 

Thank you to Jenna for accompanying me to the Amy Biehl meeting to negotiate the terms of our continued partnership.

David Maestas, Santa Fe (Legal Advisor, Donor, my husband) 

Thank you for supporting Ignited Minds. David drove me not only drove me throughout the state, but he also participated in meetings with our partners advising me along the way. 

Ft. Lewis College Tutors-Durango, CO 

We were fortunate to partner with this college to utilize four of their student teachers as tutors to satisfy 30 hours for their practicum. These four tutors were reliable and hard working. They related well to the students. They were competent to teach their subject matters. I was impressed with their work ethic. I am happy to say they all satisfied their 30 hours and successfully completed their junior year of college. A couple of them have stayed on with Ignited Minds and will continue tutoring. I am proud to have had the privilege to work with these aspiring teachers. Two of these student teachers plan to return to their Nave American Nation and dedicate their teaching careers to the students of their Nation. This type of pay it forward service is much needed in this area because there is a high turn-over rate of non-Native American teachers serving the Native American students. The Ft. Lewis students tutored for various educational entities while working part-me jobs and attending classes. They managed to also earn esteemed academic awards with their rigorous schedules. I had the great fortune to meet them last week in person in Durango for dinner. Click here to learn more about our tutors.

Ft. Lewis College (Durango, Colorado) student teachers tutoring for Ignited Minds

Katja Klosterman, Santa Fe Tutor (math, chemistry) 

Congratulations to Katja for receiving a Fullbright Scholarship. Katja will perform her research in the Czech Republic. Katja has generously offered to continue to tutor for Ignited Minds while abroad. She will be mentoring and tutoring a student from Albuquerque she has built a rapport. Katja will prepare for the MCAT and apply for medical school while abroad. 

Ronnie Varchetto, Wisconsin Tutor (math) 

Congratulations to Ronnie who has been working hard to prepare for the GRE and has just taken it in preparation for applying to Physician’s Assistant programs. Ronnie currently works at a hospital. 

Monica Gonzales-Cejo, Virginia Tutor (Spanish) 

Congratulations to Monica who has already been accepted to a Physician’s Assistant program in North Carolina and is in the process of relocating. 

William “Bill” Glasser, Santa Fe Tutor (math)

I played tennis with Bill recently and learned he was a tutor at the Santa Fe Penitentiary before the COVID pandemic. He shared his experience and how inspiring it is to work with this population and how eager they are to learn. Due to COVID the tutoring program was suspended. Bill is excited to return to this program when the penitentiary reopens and it is safe to reenter with the abatement of COVID. 

Thank you to our volunteer tutors for their generous donation of time and talent. I am proud of all our accomplishments we have made in a short period of me. I am also proud to call each tutor my “friend”, and a friend of Ignited Minds.

Thank you to all of you, our supporters and friends who care as deeply about elevating learning for our New Mexican students.

Choose happy and be well. 

Liv Turner, JD

Executive Director



1 thought on “April 2021 Ignited Minds News”

  1. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Ignited Minds, liv Turner and my child’s tutor, Katja Klosterman. This program and the dedication of both Katja and Liv have helped by student regain her confidence by encouraging her and teaching her in a way that allows her to grasp all pertinent concepts. I appreciate this program so very much! Katja has continued to work with her throughout the summer by prepping her for the SAT. I can’t thank you both enough!!!

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