By Eddi Ortiz, Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator, Para Los Niños Charter Schools, NCLR Affiliate
After traveling to San Antonio for the Padres Comprometidos (PC) con CHISPA training, I walked into the venue and discovered a room full of educators much like myself. Most of us were meeting each other for the first time, but all of us were at the training for the same purpose: to learn from each other and discuss how to best engage parents and families in STEM through the PC con CHISPA program. Now in our third year, PC con CHISPA introduces Latino parents around the country to the STEM concepts their children are learning at school. As a parent facilitator at the training, I had an opportunity to network, share ideas, and work in groups to improve my skills.
I discovered at the training that other parent facilitators face similar challenges in engaging parents. Para Los Niños Charter Schools, located in Los Angeles, works with our city’s most at-risk children, and provides a comprehensive approach to education. We not only focus on academic achievement, but also work to meet each student’s emotional, social, and psychological needs. The PC con CHISPA training allowed me to share best practices and ideas that are working for us at my school.
By Eric DeJesus, Assistant Program Director at Cypress Hills
I left the Padres Comprometidos (PC) con CHISPA training in San Antonio feeling reenergized.
I had the opportunity to meet dedicated and highly motivated educators from NCLR’s Affiliate Network. As an Assistant Program Director at Cypress Hills Afterschool Learning Center, and a resident of the community I serve in Brooklyn, I greatly understand the value parent involvement can have in a school’s development.
By Irma Lopez, Program Manager, New Economics for Women
I can’t believe it has been almost four years since we started CHISPA at New Economics for Women (NEW) Learning Centers. Coming to Washington, DC, for the CHISPA National Institute was a great opportunity to connect with other Affiliates who carry out the same work we do at NEW. At NEW, we want to inspire our community’s children to achieve their dreams of becoming a scientist, engineer, or astronaut!
Listening to Dr. Anita Krishnamurthi, Vice President of STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance and a CHISPA Advisor, opened our eyes to the high demand there is for afterschool programs throughout the United States. It was extremely powerful to hear that for every child in an afterschool program, there are two who are waiting to get in—a staggering figure when one considers that there are currently 10.2 million children enrolled in an afterschool program. Additionally, it is important to note that parents also want to see more STEM activities in their children’s afterschool programs.
How NCLR STEM Is Creating Innovative Spaces for Latino Youth
By Cindy Zavala, NCLR Education Programs Associate
The Innovation Lab student groups at the 2016 NCLR Líderes Summit Bienvenida
Last month in Orlando, NCLR STEM held the Innovation Lab Showcase during this year’s NCLR Líderes Summit. The NCLR Innovation Lab is a program that inspires social entrepreneurship by encouraging students to tackle some of the most pressing needs in their communities. Finalists presented their innovation and product they designed to meet a need in their community. The student finalists were from four NCLR Affiliates: Conexión Américas, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Gads Hill Center, and Sociedad Latina.
The new cohort of CHISPA 2.0 educators.
Last month, NCLR welcomed its new cohort of CHISPA 2.0 educators to Fort Worth, Texas, for three days of STEM engagement.
The CHISPA (Children Investigating Science with Parents and Afterschool) program works to increase STEM learning among Latino youth, and encourages parental involvement in their children’s education. Through CHISPA, students and parents have an opportunity to foster a greater understanding of the STEM disciplines, and learn new strategies for navigating the education system.
NCLR STEM manager Juliana Ospina Cano, along with two educators from previous CHISPA cohorts, Irma Lopez from New Economics for Women and Rico Harris from the Latin American Montessori Bilingual School (LAMB), led this year’s session. The presenters discussed ways to implement CHISPA’s After-School Program Exploring Science (APEX) curriculum, as well as our parent engagement program Padres Comprometidos con CHISPA.