Hilbert Morales / EL OBSERVADOR
During the morning session of The Latino Education Summit: Silicon Valley held on April 30, 2016 at the Santa Clara University campus, M.C. Esau Herrera surprised the audience by introducing Actor Edward James Olmos. Olmos immediately established rapport with his audience by speaking in both English and Spanish. He described a very interesting and timely development made by the Hispanic Youth Institute during its research regarding how best to enable Latino English Language Learners (ELL’s) to meaningfully integrate with the established K-12 education process.
A very successful and effective process has been developed and is being implemented locally at select schools of the Alum Rock Union School District. This Hispanic Youth Institute procedure was described eloquently by Olmos as follows:
“This program and its processes are not for ‘after school hours’ nor for ‘early morning pre-school schedules’. School Districts must agree to having it implemented during the school’s day. We have learned to work with 4th graders in their classrooms. Six students per table are asked by a mentor to verbally tell their personal life’s story. Then each student is asked to write his/her personal life story down. They are told that no effort nor time will be spent grading their spelling, punctuation or grammar. The main idea is to write down and communicate your personal story.”
“Then the class chooses one story which is to be converted into a documentary video movie. The class devotes effort converting the story into a ‘script’ which will become the basis for the video. A cast is chosen as well as a producer, camera-person; grip; stagehands, etc. This process ends up teaching each student to write, read, communicate verbally, and collaborate with each other as they produce the film.
Film editing, revisions, and relating to historical events happens. The finished product is then displayed to the school’s Third Grade classes who are told that if they want to be part of the ‘video team’ in their 4th grade, they must learn to read, write, and communicate (i.e., develop a vocabulary). From start to finish the students become engaged, involved and committed. Their enthusiasm level rises to levels not previously experienced by teachers, school staff, and parents. And their Academic Performance Index (API) rises to levels not previously thought possible in a very short time span.”
Edward James Olmos concluded his description of this HYI process by describing the reaction of a teacher who hung onto a ladder. She hovered over each student when necessary providing instruction, guidance, and discipline. There she was in her classroom with 35 students all at work doing their assignments without being pushed into that effort. The students had become self-motivated and self-directed.” And Olmos concluded that ‘we have really done it this time.”
In the Alum Rock Union School District, the HYI process is being implemented with the expected outcomes this school year. LES-SV’s Co-Chairs were Dr. David Lopez (TFHE) and Esau Ruiz Herrera, Esq who presided over 23 established Latino educators during the 9 months it took to plan, obtain the resources & fiscal support, and then to implement the LES-SV which was so successful in that it provided the latest factual and useful information which will enable us all to ensure that our millennial youth have the critical thinking and academic skills, coupled with our community values which will enable them to successfully compete in the global employment environment which we are already experiencing. The American domestic economy will benefit from the factual, evidence based information made available to all attendees during this Latino Education Summit: Silicon Valley.
On Friday, April 29th, Esau Ruiz Herrera and his wife Angelina, hosted an evening with Edward James Olmos in their home. A select group of Latino community ‘movers & shakers’ was present (Invitation only). EO was informed by Esau Herrera that “all present were inspired by the words of Edward James Olmos as he described the youth film project that will be coming to the Alum Rock Union School District. Olmos’ passion for increasing Latino student academic achievement was evident.”
The local Latino community may show its appreciation by making tax deductible supportive contributions to THE FOUNDATION FOR HISPANIC EDUCATION by visiting their website at <tfhe.org>.