Saturday, December 03, 2016

Principal's Meeting with Nuestro Grupo, School Board Member Paul Saldaña, and ELL Director David Kauffman

So fortunate to have had a great meeting today with our city and district partners, including our participating principals, Nicole Anderson (Zavala El), Azucena Garcia (Sanchez El), and Ellen Diaz-Camarillo (Houston El), together with ELL Bilingual Education director David Kauffman, School Board Member Paul Saldaña, and the rest of us in Nuestro Grupo that work collectively in partnership on Academia Cuauhtli, our Saturday academy at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center in Austin, Texas. We offer a co-constructed, researched-based curriculum in Tejano history, local history, cultural arts, immigration, and indigenous heritage. 

We'll expand soon to la mujer Tejana/Chicana/Latina, a couple of units on Islamophobia/Critical Islamic Studies, and LGBTQ studies instruction for the 4th graders that receive our curriculum. Our goal is for 100% of our curriculum to be available district-wide (only around 45% of it is currently available) in both English and Spanish. Another goal is to grow our own teachers so that they can grow up to be the critically-conscious, culturally relevant, community-anchored, social justice teachers that we so desperately need.

Many thanks to both the National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP) and the Tejano Monument Curriculum Initiative for giving us an actionable framework and curriculum, respectively, as well as to our participating teachers, and so many other individuals and community and district leaders, faculty, undergraduate and graduated students, Rosa Tupina y los danzantes that have gifted us with ceremony, a way of knowing and being in the world that sets a very high bar.  

We don't just want for our children to just do good on tests ("score high")—at some arbitrary level of "proficiency" based on a cutoff score that is itself not a scientific, but rather political, decision.  Our deepest hope is that our young people get the opportunity to experience the abundant life of the community if for no other reason than the hope that it inspires—particularly important in an age of cynicism.

Thanks to all for nurturing a powerful and abundant sense of hope and possibility for a brighter tomorrow. This is a labor of love ❤️ that we hope becomes a model for the nation.

Sí se puede!  Yes we can! 

Angela Valenzuela

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