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Mexican American Studies for Texas Schools Implementation Packet
I just attended the truly wonderful 50th Anniversary Conference Mexican American School Board Association in San Antonio, Texas. Congratulations to President Jayme Mathias and his team for a great job pulling it all together.
As expected, many are specifically interested in implementing Mexican American Studies (MAS) in their school districts. This website has been a collective effort involving members of the NACCS Tejas-Foco of which I am a member. UT Rio Grande Valley Professor Dr. Christopher Carmona, in particular, has dedicated his time and resources to this website over the years.
No need to start from scratch, my friends. Moreover, it's always good and advisable to connect to a credible source.
It's so exciting to see our board members equally excited.
MAS is the acronym for Mexican American Studies. Mexican American Studies, also known as Chicano Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and more recently, Chicanx Studies in some institutions, is a multidisciplinary academic field of study that examines the Mexican American/Chicanx people in all of its many facets, including their history, language, literature, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and the fine and performing arts (visual arts, music, dance, drama and performance art). Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Chicano/Mexican American Studies programs and courses have been offered primarily at colleges and universities across the nation. Within the last five years, there has been a more intensive effort to implement MAS courses in Texas and the nation from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.
WHY MAS FOR TEXAS SCHOOLS?
Because studies (Cabrera in Tucson, Arizona and Dee/Penner at Stanford, see links below) show and prove that these MAS courses help our students to succeed in school. Students who took MAS courses, regardless of ethnicity, scored higher on standardized tests, graduated at higher rates, increased their attendance, and were more academically engaged and did better in their other courses as well.
* The Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 60s-70s and the creation of Chicano Studies and Bilingual Education programs across the nation.
* First Chicano/Mexican American Studies courses and programs in Texas: UT Austin & Texas A&I.
* National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS)/Tejas Foco.
* Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approves Mexican American Studies (MAS) as a Field of Study in 2003 which allows community colleges across the state to offer courses and an Associate of Arts degree in MAS.
* NACCS Tejas Foco fight for MAS with the Texas State Board of Education:
– Request for a MAS History course for high school students in 2013-2014
– Proclamation 2016 and a call for textbooks for Mexican American, Native American, African American and Asian American Studies.
– The racist Mexican American Heritage textbook fight in 2016.
– Historic approval of a MAS History course, a pathway for the development of other Ethnic Studies courses, and the name change battle.
– Final approval of an Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies History course in 2018.
– Four Statewide Summits on Mexican American Studies for
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE AND RESOURCES ON HOW TO IMPLEMENT MAS COURSES AND PROGRAMS IN YOUR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY:
THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL ETHNIC STUDIES: MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES HISTORY ELECTIVE COURSE APPROVED BY THE TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO BEGIN IN JULY, 2019
The Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) code for Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies is 03380084. Course Abbreviation is ESMAS.
Texas Education Agency link to TEKS standards for Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies: file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/19_04_113-50%20(1).pdf
1) Find a teacher who wants to teach the course: the teacher should have the minimum certification of either a Social Studies Composite or a History 8-12 certification.
2) Teacher should then compile a list of students who are interested in taking the class (different districts have different class minimums, but 15 should be a safe number).
3) Approach the principal with the list (so that the principal can see that there is student interest) and explain the benefits of taking MAS for students: higher test scores, higher graduation rates, etc. (see above links to Cabrera and Dee studies).
4) The most important part after you have approval is to go to the head counselors with the list, they are the ones that register students for classes and they will make or break the class. Make sure you keep communication with them to ensure that students get placed in the course.
The high school MAS Dual Credit and Early College Program (see below) are offered in conjunction with local community colleges and universities. Students who take these courses get credits towards their high school graduation, as well as getting credit for college level courses. These college Dual Credit and Early College courses are free for those high school students, usually juniors and seniors, who qualify.
1) Interested teachers or administrators should contact your high school and local nearest community college or university Dual Credit Program Coordinators, and ask them if they offer MAS courses for Dual Credit? These courses can include Mexican American History, Mexican American Fine Arts Appreciation, Mexican American Literature, or Introduction to Mexican American Studies. If the local colleges/universities don’t offer these MAS courses or degrees (Associate of Arts or Bachelor of Arts), you might try another college or university in your area to see if they do). If not, then you won’t be able to implement a MAS Dual Credit program or course in your school. See list of colleges/universities with MAS programs at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xby6fmxfdzvf1gp/List%20of%20MAS%20College%20University%20Programs%20in%20Texas.docx?dl=0
2) If your local college/university does offer degrees and courses in MAS, ask their Dual Credit Coordinator if they offer these MAS courses as part of their Dual Credit Program? If they do, tell them that you would like to begin a MAS Dual Credit Program or course in your school. They should help you to work with your high school, or district, Dual Credit Coordinator to begin this program. If your local colleges/universities offer MAS courses and programs, but don’t offer MAS as part of their Dual Credit Program, ask them if it is possible to offer a MAS course through their Dual Credit Program? They will let you know if this is possible and the steps that will be required to make this happen.
3) If your local college/university does offer MAS for Dual Credit, set up a process with your high school, or district, Dual Credit Coordinator to begin plans to implement a MAS Dual Credit course in your school. Things to consider: a) You will need a qualified teacher at your school (with at least 18 hours towards a Master’s degree in a MAS related field of history, bicultural studies, humanities, art, literature, etc.), to teach this course. If there is not a qualified high school teacher that is willing to teach this course at your school, then sometimes the college/university can provide a professor to teach this course at your school. Sometimes high school students can take these courses at the colleges or universities, or online options might be available. b) The high schools will usually need to provide classroom space for this course, as well as the textbooks for this college courses for the students, and other tech needs.
Here are two programs in Texas that offer MAS courses as Dual Credit:
– South Texas College in McAllen with Donna High School/Mexican American History course.
– Palo Alto College in San Antonio with Southwest High School/Mexican American Fine Arts Appreciation course. Contact Magdalena Yznaga: firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Diane Gunnoe: email@example.com
HIGH SCHOOL MAS EARLY COLLEGE PROGRAM
1) Seek out the Early College High School Counselor at the particular Early College High School and ask them about adding MAS into their students’ degree plans.
2) Seek out the Early College High School Coordinator at your particular college/university. Discuss with them the possibility of integrating the Intro to MAS, Mexican American History or Mexican American Fine Arts Appreciation courses into their student’s degree plans.
3) Work with the particular MAS program/department at the colleges/universities to be able to designate a class for those Early College High School students.
Other MAS courses, such as the two listed below, are implemented by individual teachers through existing English and Social Studies programs, with the approval of the school principal.
Mexican American Literature course at Stevens High School in San Antonio, Texas
1) Before students pick classes in the spring for the upcoming year, coordinate with department coordinator, counselors, and administration regarding including a Mexican American Literature class as a Literary Genres or Humanities elective on the course selection cards. Determine whether the course will be a semester or year-long course.
2) Develop a course description that is student-friendly. Build interest for (and understanding of) the course by visiting English classrooms. Develop flyers and posters to share at elective fairs. Collect names of interested students. These steps will help ensure that enough students enroll and that the class makes.
3) If the class makes, develop a plan for resources. Many useful resources can be found online, but also consider using crowd-sourcing to purchase books.
Mexican American History course at Bonham Academy Middle School in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Independent School District MAS Summer Leadership Institute 2019 at Bonham Academy for Middle and High School Students
A first-of-its-kind two-week camp for middle and high school students that will engage them in unique experiences where they will explore Mexican American culture through a hands-on study of the arts, food, history, language, math and science. Experiences will include field trips, guest speakers, and student-led projects that will be showcased in a culminating family and community celebration.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MAS CURRICULUM, LESSON PLANS, BOOKS, FILMS, MUSIC AND ARTS RESOURCES THAT CAN BE INTEGRATED INTO THE PRE-K-5TH GRADES, SPECIFICALLY IN SOCIAL STUDIES, LANGUAGE ARTS AND BILINGUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND CLASSES
Mexican American Literature Circle at Henry B. Gonzales Elementary in San Antonio, Texas
1) Get 2-3 teacher sponsors. Decide the purpose of the club or program, and when, where, and what time you will meet. For example, every week, or once a month. Plan 6 months in advance what you will do before approaching administration for permission.
2) Meet with principal to present the ideas and plan, and hopefully the principal will approve and offer support and ideas.
3) Invite students to participate and have permission slips ready for them and their parents.
TWO MODEL PROGRAMS FOR IMPLEMENTING MAS IN TEXAS SCHOOLS
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s (UTRGV) Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) hosted a Mesa Comunitaria, May 2019, in which representatives from 13 different school districts attended to hear from parents, students and community organizations on the need for MAS and how to implement MAS in their schools. Districts left with plans of action that they co-constructed with participants on how to implement MAS in their school district.
UTRGV CMAS is a partner with UTRGV Center for Bilingual Studies that has been awarded an almost $100,000 NEH grant to hold 2 teacher institutes with select dual language teachers from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD & Harlingen ISD to create MAS curriculum in both Spanish and English. One of the principals on this grant is NACCS Tejas Foco Member & MAS K-12 Committee Member; Stephanie Alvarez, PhD
The UTRGV B3 Institute was awarded a $2 million dollar grant to work with over 70 teachers from Edinburg ISD and Brownsville ISD to create place-based and culturally relevant bilingual MAS curriculum over the next three years. One of the principals on this grant is NACCS Tejas Foco Member & MAS K-12 Committee Member, Maritza De La Trinidad.
All curriculum developed from these two grants will be bilingual and be made available online.
The mission of the growing statewide Texas Ethnic Studies Network is to strengthen collaborations between Native American/Indigenous, African American and Africana, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Mexican American/Chicanx/Latinx, and other intersectional studies, including Gender and Sexuality Studies, for the purpose of promoting Ethnic Studies as a culturally and socially relevant curriculum through grades Pre-K-12 in the state of Texas. While still in its early stages, the Texas Ethnic Studies network aims to bring together district leaders, university and community college educators, community leaders, parents and students to transform Texas curriculum so that it more accurately reflects the social, cultural, and intellectual identities of PK-12 students.