Virtual School Meanderings

October 16, 2021

Elevating Hope through Latinx Stories

An item from a US-based K-12 blended learning organization.

Read the new blog post from Stephanie Garcia

 

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In This Week’s Issue

  • Elevating Hope through Latinx Stories: new blog post from Highlander Institute Partner Stephanie Garcia
  • New Report from Aurora Institute on Habits of Success

Elevating Hope through Latinx Stories

As an educator, I draw incredible inspiration from my niece. Her picture sits on my desk and she is the reason I push through challenging times with grit and persistence. She was born in 2011 when I was a teenager. She grew up amidst multiple family traumas, which became a trigger for her behavioral issues at school. She was in my custody when she started Pre-K. As a student who absolutely loved school, I eagerly anticipated sharing this joy with her. What I faced instead was encounter after encounter with her white teacher telling me everything that was wrong with my Latinx niece. These ongoing judgments escalated to the teacher’s conclusion that she ‘could not function in a classroom setting’. I felt powerless and confused, questioning how the education field I cherished so much could turn so ugly.

I began my research and ultimately got my niece the special education services she needed. This was no easy feat, as it was done with little support from her relatives because of the cultural differences and misconceptions about special education that persist within some Latinx communities. Families require intentional knowledge building, responsive communication, and culturally relevant messaging to counter stigmatizing narratives. Without my ongoing involvement, my niece may have not received necessary services due to communication gaps between my family, community, and the school.

Fast forward to today: my niece is a rising young artist who knows how to advocate for her needs. The individualized support she receives gives her the opportunity to work toward accomplishing her academic goals and become an increasingly independent learner. Fueled by my personal experience as my niece’s advocate, I aspired to become a knowledgeable teacher who could play a proactive, impactful role in children’s lives by truly knowing them, their needs, their strengths, and their stories.

From Other Organizations

New Report from Aurora Institute on Habits of Success

This report offers guidance for K-12 districts and schools by synthesizing the latest research and knowledge on emerging practices for: 1) developing local habits of success frameworks, 2) addressing equity and cultural considerations in implementing habits of success and lifelong learning skills, and 3) promoting and assessing habits of success. The report also provides recommendations and next steps to support all students in building strong habits of success.

Success in most professional and personal pursuits requires an additional set of skills and dispositions, in addition to academic knowledge, that can be learned in school and anytime/anywhere. These “habits of success” include self-direction, collaboration, communication, self-awareness, social awareness, and others. The extensive practice examples and research findings synthesized in this report will help practitioners implement frameworks to support students in developing essential skills for learning, work, and life.

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