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Celebrating College Admissions May 28, 2015

Posted by latinoschoolleaders in College Readiness.
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By Crystal Gallegos, High School Principal at Chavez/Huerta K-12 Preparatory Academy

NILSL_blogpic1When you think about high school and the significant events that take place over those four years, it brings up a rollercoaster of emotions that students, parents, and school faculty go through. As an early college preparatory high school in Pueblo, Colo. our focus at Chavez/Huerta is to push students to succeed and be college- and career-ready. So much in fact, that beginning in kindergarten and going through senior year of high school, every grade level visits a college campus and is exposed to two-year and four-year public and private institutions of higher learning.

It’s not until a student’s senior year in high school that they apply to the list of schools they are interested in attending. Excitement begins to build through the application process and is complete when the final acceptance letter is received. It is at that moment that all of their hard work has paid off.

I want to introduce you to Miss Alyssa Rizo. She is a graduating senior that aspires to be a physical therapist. During her senior year she applied to her dream college, the University of Hawaii. Alyssa recalls receiving her acceptance letter, “As I received a huge envelope with “Congratulations” on the front, it sent a chill of excitement through me and the thought “I am going to Hawaii for college!” Alyssa never imagined she would be in this position. “Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would be going to this college, but this is it, my future and in four months I will be living it,” she said.

Applying to colleges can be intimidating when reviewing all the requirements, but knowing that support is there is essential for success. Making the grade or ACT or SAT number for admissions can be daunting for some students. No matter what, students must know that college is within reach if they desire to further their education to achieve their career goal.

Miss Marisa Beltran has done just this.

“I was a bit discouraged about applying to colleges because of my ACT score, but I did it anyway,” said another student, Marissa Beltran. Marisa applied to seven different universities and was accepted to six, but she had her sights set on Grand Canyon University. She recalls when she received a package from GCU, “I opened it and confetti flew everywhere. When I read “Congrats” my heart stopped.” Getting into the college she had her heart set on helped her believe that a score would not determine her future.

Every year thousands of students go through the college admissions process. This is an exciting time in their lives as they prepare to set the pathway for their future career. They will be the next generation of nurses, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, and to them I say “Congratulations!”

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Preparing Our Students for 21st Century and College and Career Readiness Standards April 1, 2014

Posted by latinoschoolleaders in College Readiness.
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By Janet Alvarez, Principal, Para Los Ninos Middle School

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was recently asked what I think the most important aspect is to prepare our Latino students for the rigor of 21st Century Learning and College and Career Readiness Standards.  As I thought about it, it isn’t the arts, literacy, science, technology, or math that we integrate into every content area. Rather, it is the inquiry and curiosity that we nurture, demonstrate and practice through our approach.

Our students are curious about the world around them, hungry for more information about why things work the way they do and how to make them work even better.  This curiosity is what ignites a thirst for learning in our students and energizes them to be innovative thinkers.

Typically, 21st Century and College and Career Readiness Skills, are referred to as; critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. These skills are extremely important, and the structure and tools to practice them in school are crucial.

I would like to add two more “C’s” to that list: curiosity and confidence.

Curiosity is a student’s fundamental motivation for learning.  Without it, students would never wonder, never question, and never try again after failing.  Our students need to see curiosity in action through demonstration. They need the time, structure, and devices to guide their curiosity into inquiry, exploration and learning. They also need meaningful ways to reveal their innovations, challenges and thoughts along the way.

Building confidence in our students is one of the most powerful “C’s” of all.  Acknowledging student accomplishments privately, and in front of a group boosts their belief in their capabilities. Further, allowing students the opportunity to self-select their own activities will help them build their self-worth.

Encourage students, when they are performing a task or getting involved in an activity, to do better than they did before, NOT better than someone else!  And finally, express a positive attitude toward our students so they see that they are worth your time and attention.

How about you?  How are you encouraging 21st Century skills for our students?