Categories
Community Submitted Post News Press & Media

LEC partners for Impact Academy

The Latinx Education Collaborative was selected by Guadalupe Centers High School students as a client for a design thinking project program, part of the school’s new Impact Academy. Students have community organizations pose a problem that they work to solve over on trimester. 3 students chose this problem as their project: How might we gather & validate data about why Latino students are not choosing education programs?  


The mission of Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is to retain and increase the representation of Latinx education professionals in K-12. In Kansas City, the representation of teachers of color is not close to matching the percentage of students of color in our schools.  The LEC has asked GCHS students to help gather data about why students are not choosing to be educators, identify trends in this data, and make recommendations that can improve education programming so education careers are more desirable.

Categories
Community Submitted Post News Press & Media

Building a Thriving Community of Latinx Educators in a City with Fewer than 1% of Them

New Schools Venture Fund, Published July 26, 2021

In Kansas City, Missouri, like in much of the country, the teaching profession is not as diverse as it should be. For every 200 Latinx students in the Kansas City area, there is only 1 Latinx teacher. 

Edgar Palacios founded Latinx Education Collaborative on the belief that representation matters. Teachers of color can enhance academic outcomes for young people, especially students of color. Since 2018, with funding and support from NewSchools, his organization has been working to recruit Latinx prospects to credentialing programs in the local region, connect certified educators to open positions, and retain current teachers through culturally responsive professional development. 

We talked with Palacios to find out what made him take the leap into social entrepreneurship and what his organization is doing to build a thriving community of Latinx educators and influential system leaders. The interview has been edited for clarity and concision. 

How did you become aware of the lack of diversity in the teaching profession? 

In my previous role, I had the opportunity to travel and visit different schools. Once, I walked into a school with 99.9% Latinx students and not one teacher of color. It’s something I noticed time and time again that was starting to eat away at me.

Why were there no educators of color at these schools?

One principal told me that it was hard to find educators of color in a competitive environment. But I thought that the real problem was with what the principal said next: ‘We can teach anybody to teach, but they have to be a good culture fit.’ I thought, ‘If you can teach anybody to teach, then why aren’t you teaching more Black and Brown folks to become teachers?’ And when someone says ‘You have to be a good culture fit to teach,’ whose culture are we talking about?

What were Latinx teachers telling you?

I found it interesting that for many Latinx teachers, isolation is a main reason they don’t feel sustained in the work. I expected the reason to be their pay. But it’s because often they are the only Latinx teachers at their schools. They become the ‘Chief Latino Officer’ or the ‘Chief Translator.’ Everything that’s related to the Latino community they have to handle. I could really empathize with that feeling of isolation and not belonging based on my own journey growing up.

What experiences made you feel like you didn’t belong? 

Growing up in Miami, I never felt like an outsider. I never felt othered. Miami was a place where I could speak Spanish at school and nobody would bat an eye. That all changed when my family moved to Spokane, Washington. I remember my first day in sixth grade sitting next to a girl who told the teacher, “I don’t want to sit next to a dirty Mexican.” I was confused: I’m not Mexican. My parents are actually from Nicaragua. They came to this country as immigrants fleeing the civil war. I also took a shower that day. So there was no reason to call me any names. But at the time I didn’t understand these things and the teacher didn’t address it. It was one of many such incidents that happened to me along the way. 

Is this what sparked the idea for Latinx Education Collaborative?

What I’ve learned is that there are a lot of little Edgars in places like the Midwest where they don’t see themselves in their teachers. They don’t see themselves reflected in important leadership roles. This is not a problem that’s going to magically solve itself.

I had this idea that there had to be a space where Latinx teachers could come together, commiserate, share resources, and build community because that’s crucial for the work. 

How are you supporting Latinx teachers to remain in the field longer?  

Our retention work is a mixture of coaching and convening. We use Clifton Strengths as a tool to get educators to know their strengths and as a framework for how they can survive and thrive in schools. We’re also bringing people together around topics of interest and the needs they have and we try to fill those gaps with professional development tailored to them. We’re also focused on providing recruitment support to local schools. We help them build cultures that will attract and retain Latinx educators. 

You are focused on developing pathways to teaching as well. How are you doing that? 

We love talking to middle school students about becoming teachers one day. Teaching was never an option I considered when I was growing up. My options were to be an attorney, a doctor, or an engineer — someone who makes money. Now we are starting to change that narrative within our own community and we’re getting students excited about becoming teachers. We’re working to scale this program to the high schools to start building bridges between those transitional years and so we can keep reminding students that they should consider teaching as a career. 

What difference have you seen since you launched Latinx Education Collaborative? 

We’ve been able to reach people beyond Kansas City; educators from small towns across the Midwest who now engage with us on a regular basis because they’re missing resources in their neck of the woods. We’re thinking about how we can encourage them to start their own local initiatives. We also released a report that started a conversation about the fact that only 1% of teachers in the Kansas City metro area are Latinx. We’ll use this baseline data to measure our impact and refine our strategies moving forward. 

What support has been critical for your organization to become sustainable? 

Obviously, the funding is great, but what is even more valuable are the additional layers of support from NewSchools. I have received technical assistance. I have been able to build relationships with other venture leaders. And I have a relationship manager who provides coaching support. 

Did you ever see yourself as the leader of an organization doing this work? 

I remember thinking, ‘One day I will have my own organization, maybe one day that’s a possibility.’ But it seemed so far away from my reality early on in my career. A year later, the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity came up. When I saw it, I was like, ‘That one is for me. That’s my opportunity right there.’

Read the full article here >>

Categories
Community Submitted Post News Press & Media

Latinx Education Collaborative announces 2020 Latinx Educator Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kansas City, MO – The Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is pleased to announce the award winners of the 2020 Latinx Educator Awards:


Aspiring Educator of the Year | Dallanary Castor-Lara,
Student, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools


Future Educator of the Year | Angel Salinas-Villa,
Student, University of Kansas


School Volunteer of the Year | Angelique Rodriguez-Gunion, Parent Volunteer,
Shawnee Mission School District


Administrator of the Year | Melissa Funaro, Assistant Director of Early Learning and Inclusion
UICS Metro Child & Family Development Center


Educator of the Year | Evonne Medrano, 4th Grade Online Academy Teacher,
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Community Partner of the Year | The Learning Club


Chair’s Award | Randy Lopez, Board President,
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools


“The LEC congratulates this year’s award winners! It is important that we recognize and highlight the impact that these current and future educators make in our community,” states Edgar José Palacios, President & CEO. “I look forward to seeing them continue to thrive in the field of education and change the lives of our students for the better for years to come.”

#

About Latinx Education Collaborative
The Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization based in Kansas City, MO. The LEC works on increasing Latinx education professionals’ representation in K-12 through its three
strategic objectives: retention, pathway exposure, and recruitment support.

Contact:
Edgar José Palacios
Latinx Education Collaborative
2819 E. 10th St.
Kansas City, MO 64127
Office: (305) 906-0644
edgar@latinxedco.org
www.latinxedco.org


Copyright © 2020 Latinx Education Collaborative All Rights Reserved.

Categories
Community Submitted Post

Hispanic Development Fund Family College Prep Materials

The HDF Programs Team has created the attached Family College Prep resources to share with students, families, educators, and the larger community to ensure our community has access to high quality college prep materials and the tools they need to reach their post-secondary goals. These bilingual tools are critical due to the learning disruptions caused by COVID-19.

These resources are a cornerstone of the new HDF Family College Prep Program (FCPP). The FCPP was designed and developed to build upon the success of the HDF Scholarship Program with the objective to close the 17-point college degree attainment gap that exists for Kansas City Hispanic adults. In partnership with high schools on both sides of the state line, along with local college partners, the FCPP serves Hispanic and ALL students and families attending our partner high schools by providing high quality ACT Test Prep, one-on-one college advising, family college prep events, scholarship workshops, and family college campus tours.

HDF is incredibly grateful to the H&R Block Foundation and our 12 FCPP college partners (listed on page 28 of the Playbook) for their support in making this program possible. For additional information on the FCPP, email info@hdfkc.org.

We encourage you to share the attached FCPP resources with any students, families, or educators who might benefit from these tools. Additionally, please reach out to the HDF Programs Team with any college-related questions. Please direct questions in Spanish to Alejandra Perez at perez@hdfkc.org or 816-589-0442. For questions in English, students and families can reach out to Alejandra or myself. These resources can also be downloaded directly at https://hdfkc.org/resources.

HDF College Playbook

  • Bilingual, all-in-one resource that is designed to help Kansas City Hispanic students and families maximize their financial aid opportunities, successfully navigate the college-going process, and ultimately identify and attend the “right fit” college.
  • The Playbook is designed to be used as an online resource, as it contains live links to FAFSA, private scholarship opportunities, and college scholarship pages.

HDF Financial Aid Presentation (English)
HDF Financial Aid Presentation (Spanish)

  • English and Spanish Financial Aid Presentation that walks students and families through the financial aid process.

HDF Financial Aid Worksheet (English & Spanish)

  • English and Spanish Financial Aid Worksheet to be used to analyze college financial aid awards.

Resource for DACA & Undocumented Students

  • HDF recommended colleges, universities, and scholarship organizations who provide the best financial aid opportunities and support for DACA & Undocumented students.
Categories
Community Submitted Post

TNTP Fellow Nominations are Open

Help us find the next generation of great teachers.

Applications just opened for TNTP’s Teaching Fellows programs, which help talented people become exceptional teachers. Our Fellows come from all walks of life and learn to teach critical subjects like math and special education through immersive, practice-based training and coaching.

We’re looking for accomplished professionals, recent college graduates, and graduating seniors who want to earn their teaching certification next summer and begin teaching next fall in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and New Orleans.

Know someone who’d be a good fit? Take 30 seconds to nominate them, and we’ll encourage them to apply.

P.S.: For every one of your nominees who begins training as a Teaching Fellow, you’ll earn an automatic entry in a raffle to win $1,000. 

Thanks for encouraging extraordinary people to bring their talents to the classroom!