So very proud of my UT Cultural Studies in Education doctoral student, Macario Hernandez, for this extraordinary achievement. Mr. Hernandez is principal of Dallas ISD's Trini Garza Early College High School.His early college campus was just recognized by the Texas Education Agency as "one of the nation’s top schools for low-income students." As you can read for yourself below, he was one of two schools statewide that received this recognition.
Aside from being a Title I principal extraordinaire and a "hidden gem" himself in DISD, Macario is also researching "homegrown teachers." These are educators that are from the community that have worked in their communities—sometimes for decades—as teachers. He himself is both a homegrown teacher and principal and is a testament to the power of this model of which I myself am an advocate [Keyword "GYO," "GYO Teachers," and "NLERAP" on this blog for prior references to this national agenda for change.]
"G-Y-O works! It save lives," he expressed, as a featured speaker at a national Grow Your Own Educator Summit held here in late January in Austin, Texas. As mentioned in this Dallas Morning News article that correctly notes his and the school's philosophical underpinnings in caring relationships, people can indeed work together in unison and improve their children's lives while enhancing the quality of relationships in the larger community, as a whole. Relationship-building, respect, and caring have to reside at the core of one's intention and practice. Keeping schools small also helps.
Felicidades, Macario! Congratulations! You are the embodiment of the very GYO dispositions that all of our leaders and teachers need to have if we are to be positively oriented in a culturally relevant and attuned manner to the wishes, hopes, and desires of our communities.
You have at Trini Garza what every kid on the planet wants. To be cared for, valued, and loved in a culturally relevant, genuine, in-it-for-the-long-haul, way. It's additive, not subtractive. It's about extending students' resources and potentialities rather than about subtracting them, turning on its head the demonstrably wrong-headed project of assimilating youth in a culturally and linguistically eviscerating way.
We are all so incredibly proud and happy for you and the many lives that you generously andgraciously touch!