OKC Public School supporters celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our Hispanic neighbors and friends who are truly part of the fabric of Oklahoma City.
The month-long tribute runs from September 15 to October 15 and dates back to 1968, when Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras recognize the anniversary of their independence and Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate also their independence during this period.
Oklahoma City public schools also have a lot to celebrate, with a student population of 56% Hispanic. Our students embrace all the beauty and richness of their home or ancestral countries and add so much to our schools and our community.
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As the district continues to intentionally focus on hiring a diverse staff, a gap persists in the numbers of bilingual teachers and teachers of color. One area where OKCPS has been successful is the hiring of nearly 350 bilingual and / or colored paraprofessionals / teaching assistants.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation’s bilingual and diversity teacher pipeline programs are already proving that long-term recruiting solutions are available in our own backyard. These paraprofessionals play a vital role in the classroom and providing a way for them to become certified teachers is beneficial for our students and for them.
In a book titled “Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom”, authors Seth Gershenson, Michael Hanson, and Constance A. Lindsay studied and did their own research on the assumption that teachers are the most important factor. most important. in a student’s academic success.
The data shows improvements that match a diverse teaching workforce, including increased confidence, better communication, stronger relationships, and higher expectations, not to mention significant improvements for English learners. These measures in turn translate into better test scores, fewer absences and suspensions, as well as higher college graduation and enrollment rates.
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Teacher Pipeline programs are only possible with community partners who share the vision and are ready to support it. Some, like OGE Energy Corp. Foundation and Inasmuch Foundation, have supported the program since the program began in 2017. Others, such as Bank of America, the Potts Family Foundation and Devon have arrived more recently, but are providing critical support as the program grows. ‘is developed. 61 participants.
As we celebrate our Hispanic friends and neighbors for the many ways they contribute to Oklahoma City, continuing to work in partnership on ways to help all students succeed must remain a priority. It is important for our children and it is important for our city.