Parent Engagement: In the Schoolhouse and Beyond

Guest blog post by Maritza Solano, Director of Education, CASA

Carla* (*names have been changed for confidentially) was nervous about being a panelist during the National PTA Legislative Conference in Washington, DC in early March. Carla, along with two other mothers from Prince George’s County in Maryland, were invited by UnidosUS’s (formerly NCLR) education team to the Conference to share her perspective on how to better engage underserved communities—specifically immigrant parents like herself.

Carla’s perspective was critical, as the audience present at the Conference had the potential to impact national policy conversations being debated on Capitol Hill. She was bombarded with questions from participants intrigued by how an undocumented mother of four with limited English skills had become such a fearless leader of her children’s school and community, despite the political rhetoric that was targeting families like her own. Carla’s response was straightforward: “I am no longer afraid and know that my voice is powerful and needed”.

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The 2017 CASA National Institute Gets Underway in Los Angeles

By Cindy Zavala, Education Programs Associate, UnidosUS

UnidosUS service-learning program—Cultura, Aprendizaje, Servicio, and Acción (CASA)—works to develop culturally aware youth leaders who serve as agents of change to address issues that impact their communities. Through active engagement, students develop complex critical thinking and reflective skills while gaining high levels of academic learning.

The CASA National Institute took place on September 7 and 8 in Los Angeles with 22 instructors from 10 Affiliates, who will be implementing the CASA program during this school year. CASA will launch across four states (California, Tennessee, Illinois, and Texas) through these 10 Affiliate organizations. All 10 will launch cohorts of a minimum of 30 middle school students and will be implementing the CASA program from fall 2017 through spring 2018.

At the CASA National Institute, each Affiliate received two Samsung Galaxy tablets with the new after-school and in-school curricula as an online file for instructors. Instructors were divided into two tracks, after-school and in-school, where they received more in-depth training for the implementation of CASA at their organization.

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Mi CASA Es Su CASA: Cultivating Agents of Change to Serve the Latino Community

By Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon, Ed.D., Senior Director, Education Leadership Development

Earlier this month, the country mourned the loss of “The Greatest,” boxer Muhammad Ali. News outlets and social media platforms were inundated with some of Ali’s most memorable quotes, including “the service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” It is this spirit of service and giving back to the community that drives many of the middle school students participating in NCLR’s youth leadership program, CASA-Cultura, Aprendizaje, Servicio, Acción (Culture, Learning, Service, Action). The goal of this service-learning program is to equip students with the necessary skills to identify genuine needs in the Latino community and address them through a two-pronged approach of academic learning and service actions.

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