To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, RISE has been highlighting inspirational, trail blazing Latinos on our social media. Latino leaders such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Federico Pena have held positions and led movements leading to the empowerment and advancement of other Latinos and our nation as a whole. It is important for our children to see themselves reflected in the heroes we celebrate and in the leadership of our schools, communities, and nation. These incredible Latino leaders paved the way for so many and they all centered around the belief that education is key to our communities' success. We are humbled to stand on the shoulders of these giants as we educate, engage, and empower low-income families and families of color to rise as change agents for educational equity.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from these prolific leaders:
RISE Colorado is founded on the belief that families have the right to know the state of academic achievement in their schools and school district in order to best support their children in their education. We have developed a workshop titled Parent Opportunity Gap - POG for short- where families gain vital information about the statistics surrounding public education in Aurora and how they can help their children overcome these statistics and make it to and through college. Families take time during this workshop to think about their roles as parents in their children's education and what they envision for their children's futures. In September, the RISE Team began our workshop series with POG workshops for the Nepali and Latino communities and also in our partner school, Jamaica CDC.
The first Nepali Community workshop of the 2016-2017 school year kicked off in September. Nepali families gathered for POG- Parent Opportunity Gap- and learned about the opportunity gap, discussed their visions and dreams for their children's future, and received learning resources to take home. The more families know, the more involved they can be in their children's education!
Spanish speaking families gathered at the RISE office to learn about the state of academic achievement in Aurora and the opportunity gap. RISE knows the importance of engaging families in their native language. We met so many fantastic parents and students at this event! Families spoke passionately about their children's education and immediately said, "What can we do?!" Families are ready to lead the movement for educational equity!
The first school-wide workshop of the school year was a success! We saw many familiar faces and also met many new families at the Parent Opportunity Gap event at Jamaica Child Development Center. Turn out was fantastic on a beautiful fall day and working with the Jamaica Team was an honor as always. This year we launched an updated POG presentation created with teachers and staff which evoked powerful responses from families. So many families expressed increased motivation to be involved in their children's education and to their journey to and through college a success during the POG presentation. Seeing the power of families in workshops like POG is an incredible experience for educators and community partners. What an inspiring evening!
Spencer Garrett Park
Spencer Garrett Park is a community hub in Northwest Aurora. They have a community garden, beautiful play area, and lots of grassy space for groups to play sports. The RISE Team headed out to the park to meet families and pass out books from our Molina Foundation book grant. It was a great way to start the new school year with reading resources for students and families!
Celebration Dinner for ECE Coalition
To celebrate the success of the Early Childhood Education Coalition on their Homework Campaign, the team took coalition members out to dinner at Taz Indian Restaurant. The ECE Coalition recently finished their preschool homework campaign. They began by advocating for preschool homework over the Summer, next year-round homework, and, finally, the addition of the preschool homework policy in the APS Teacher and Parent Handbook. Families chose this campaign because preschool students are only in class for about 11.5 hours per week and families want to be able to provide additional learning opportunities at home. With this policy, families can ensure their children are provided with age appropriate resources to use at home. Congratulations to the ECE Coalition on a fantastic and successful campaign!
RISE Professional Development
During our weekly meetings, the RISE Team has been taking the time to grow and learn through a professional development series led by different team members each week. Below are a few of the topics we have covered this month.
Power, Privilege, and Inter-Sectional Identities
The RISE team engaged in a workshop on power, privilege, and inter-sectional identities. We practiced empathy by reading the powerful stories shared through the Growing Up Project. We closed by reflecting and sharing moments from our lives around race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class, religion, dis/ability and other identities such as "our relationships to the natural world." Thanks to our Diversity and Equity Fellow, Wisdom, for leading this awesome professional development session.
The History of Education Reform and Movement Building
During this workshop, the RISE team learned about the history of the education reform movement in the United States and the building blocks of social change movements. There were many "ah-ha" moments as we looked through the United State's history on education policy. We also examined many social change movements and the tools they used to fuel their success. Thanks to RISE team members, Anne and Vida, for leading this thought-provoking session over the course of two weeks!
An Introduction to Burmese and Nepali Culture
Team members, Hari and Lah Gay Moo, shared the history of refugee crises and what it means to be a refugee. They also shared their personal stories with our team and how their communities' culture manifests in their second home, the United States. It is so important for our team to have cultural competency and awareness to appropriately work alongside communities with cultures different than our own. We are so grateful that Lah Gay Moo and Hari shared so much important information with our team!
RISE is excited to announce that CEO, Veronica Palmer, will be speaking at the Education Pioneers 2016 National Conference in November. She will participating in a session titled True Partnership: Empowered and Engaged Communities. Veronica and others will be discussing: "Transforming the lives of students in a sustainable and scalable way requires that communities are part of the equation. We must not only engage communities as stakeholders, we must collaborate with and trust them as partners who can offer valuable insights and perspectives and make meaningful contributions to our collective work. Leaders will share approaches, lessons and benefits of deep connection to community."