Credit: Maria Unda, Academia Cuauhtli volunteer and NLERAP Fellow
I am happy to share our 2019 recruitment video for Academia Cuauhtli in Austin, Texas. Academia Cuauhtli is a Saturday School physically located at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center (ESB-MACC) in Austin, Texas. “Cuauhtli” means “eagle” in Nahuatl [a Uto-Aztecan language] so our name means “Eagle Academy.” Founded during the 2013-14 school year, we are now entering our sixth year of operation. We are not a charter school; we are a formal-legal partnership, involving the Austin Independent School District (AISD), the City of Austin's ESB-MACC, and our community-based organization (CBO) named Nuestro Grupo. We serve fourth-grade children from five East Austin schools, namely, Sanchez, Metz, Zavala, Houston, and Perez Elementary.*
Additional core partners are the Austin Area Association for Bilingual Education and the Indigenous Cultures Institute in San Marcos, Texas.
An amazing detail is that this work has resulted in pathways for undergraduates to graduate school, and from masters students to the doctoral program Since we began our work in the community—where we hold weekly meetings at the ESB-MACC—we have created pathways for at least 13 students into the masters and doctoral programs at UT in Educational Leadership and Policy, as well as into the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Hence, in addition to providing an enrichment opportunity for children, we are growing our own critically conscious, community-based, social justice-oriented, masters and doctoral students.
To the best of our knowledge, we are the only Ethnic Studies program at the elementary grade level in the state of Texas and one of only a few nationwide. The number gets smaller when taking into account that we also offer a curriculum in Spanish. We see ourselves as a culture and language revitalization project where we nurture a Spanish-speaking, Indigenous identity, and civil rights consciousness. Our curriculum is further place-based, social justice oriented, community-centered, and parent-engaged.
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCuauhtli/
-Angela Valenzuela, Co-Founder and Convener
*Parts of this piece draw from a Tuesday, September 17, 2019 interview with me conducted by Kevin Welner and Holly Yettick of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) in a piece titled, "The Saturday School Where Mexican American Children Learn About their Heritage: A Q & A with NEPC Fellow Angela Valenzuela." also posted to this blog.