Hilbert Morales / EL OBSERVADOR
Santa Clara University was the venue for first LATINO ECUCATION SUMMIT: SILICON VALLEY on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The local Chicano-Latino-Hispanic community needs to know about this ‘first time ever’ event which took nine months to plan and implement. Implementation was done by Ed Alvarez, J.D., President, The Foundation for Hispanic Educations (which now operates the Sobrato facilities formerly known as NHU (National Hispanic University) and Co-Chairs Dr. David Lopez, and Esau Ruiz Herrera, Esq., Governing Board member, Alum Rock Union School District. The Organizing Committee members numbered 23 professional educators whose past experiences were dealing with the challenges of teaching Latino children. All need to be thanked for their comprehensive planning efforts.
This festive day began with registration and breakfast while attendees listened to the enthusiastic and talented sounds of award-winning Youth Mariachi group and award winning Jazz Band, both from Alum Rock Union School District.
The Mayer Theatre was filled to capacity when M.C. Esau Herrera welcomed all and then introduced Bishop Joseph McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose who gave the opening invocation prayer asking God to bless all those involved and present.
Dr. Lorenzo Gamboa invited all parents who were Spanish language speakers to go with him to a nearby room where the entire program would be addressed in Spanish.
Then a panel composed of Dr. Lopez (TFHE), Dr. Guadalupe Valdez (Stanford University) and Dr. Eugene Garcia (Arizona State University) discussed the challenges of teaching Latino students. Three research evidence based points were made: 1) When a parent is involved and engaged, the child learns presented reading content very well; 2) Pre-K training of 4 year old children was recommended to prepare Latino children for K-12 grade educations process; and 3) When the student experiences having a teacher with whom he/she identifies with, the learning effectiveness goes up 15%.
“These respected and well established scholars described regional and national solutions which have been proven to place children of working poor families, particularly English Language Learners (ELL’s), on a successful educational and career pathway.”
At this point, a presentation describing the Hispanic Youth Institute education process presented by Actor Edward James Olmos is presented as a separate article labeled “Hispanic Youth Institute”.
“Although Latino children have experienced intergenerational advancement within K-12 grade education, recent data studies suggest that not enough progress has been made to produce the desired and vitally needed advancement for Latino students.”
“In order to properly cultivate a sufficient number of high schools and colleges/universities to be prepared for the very competitive global economic and employment climate that awaits them, this Summit’s speakers discussed how we must continue to focus and improve existing public educational pipelines.”
Presentation and Discussion Sessions dealt with 1) Alleviating the Teacher Shortage. More Latinos need to consider becoming credentialed teachers because the Latino residents of CA are already the largest ethnic group whose children attend public schools.
2) INTEGRATIING ENGLISH LANGUARGE LEARNERS IN GENERAL EDUCATION:
For some ELL’s , additional support is needed to develop the language and literacy skills required to gain access to grade level content instruction. While little research (information) is available about instructional strategies that may scaffold ELL’s experience across content areas, there are some research finding that show promise. These strategies include: 1) Leverage ELL’s native language; 2) Build necessary background and knowledge; 3) Comprehensible input; 4) Teach academic English explicitly; and 5) Build content area vocabulary. These ‘scaffolds (ladders) were discussed and offered as a way to integrate Latino ELL’s into content area instruction more smoothly.
Additional topics covered were: A) Latino Educators redefine Leadership; B) Full STEAM Ahead which dealt with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Culture and Mathematics: C) Early Childhood Education (which promoted pre-K learning for 4 year olds; and D) Parent Empowerment.
This Latino Education Summit was closed by a ‘CALL TO ACTION’ session led by Dr. David Lopez and Esau Ruiz Herrera, Esq., Co-Chairs. It featured school board members and school district administrators from throughout the County of Santa Clara, who placed their signatures on a resolution and pledged to double the percentage of credentialed teachers of color within the next 10 years. This is unique and explicitly important accord which defines a goal to be achieved by becoming a work in process ‘for measurable progress’ .
This Latino Education Summit provided all attendees much current and useful information which was based upon the most current research information available. What was unique about this LES was its planning, scheduling, and implementation which was executed by our own community’s education professionals. All presentations were made in a linguistic and culturally sensitive & effective manner which demonstrated the esteem and respect the Latino community merits.
Ed Alvarez, J.D., President, TFHE, said, “The Foundation for Hispanic Education acknowledges the significant partnership contribution made by Santa Clara University enabling the success of this LES-SV Summit. SCU officials opened their campus and made available their resources to our community. TFHE looks forward to expanding this collaborative partnership relation with SCU, especially in developing future improvements in the K-12 education pipeline which serves our students.”
EO recommends that the San Jose East Side Community show its appreciation by making tax deductible supportive contributions to THE HISPANIC FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONS by visiting their website at <tfhe.org>.