Posts By Cristina Pacione-Zayas

Sawyer Elementary StudentsEducation policy is best understood from the classroom, not an office. That’s why the Latino Policy Forum seeks opportunities to visit local schools and education centers to observe first-hand how our advocacy efforts support Latino students and our mission to ameliorate Latino achievement gaps. That’s also why we jumped at the opportunity to join the Chicago Education Foundation  in a visit to Ms. Carmina Aguirre’s first grade bilingual classroom at Sawyer Elementary inGagePark.

Gage Park is one of the largest and fastest growing Latino community areas in Chicago, with large concentrations of English Language Learners (ELLs). The visit would offer an opportunity for... Continue Reading

Posted In: Educators

The line for the early train toSpringfieldwas decidedly Latino on May 7, Latino Unity Day at the state capitol. With 2013 marking its second year, Latino Unity Day is a relatively new but vital opportunity for leaders from Latino-led, Latino-serving organizations, as well as the community at large, to send a collective, coordinated message to legislators:  The state’s investment in Latinos must keep pace with the community’s growth—and its economic, cultural, and civic contributions.

The coordinated events planned for the day would be a clear demonstration of collaboration between co-conveners, including: Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Association,Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees, Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE), Illinois Latino Family Commission, Latino Policy Forum,... Continue Reading

Posted In: Leadership, Strengthening Leadership, Representation in Government, State Investment

The Executive Director of Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE), Amy Sheren, recently invited the Latino Policy Forum to join her in a visit to a sixth-grade classroom at Kanoon Elementary in Little Village.  The teacher, Mr. Greg Fairbank, had received a CFE grant to enhance literacy through a peer-to-peer book club targeting English Language Learners (ELLs) not reading at grade level.  I jumped at the chance to see how the education policy the Latino Policy Forum helps shape plays out in local classrooms—especially an ELL classroom, given that ELLs now represent nine percent of students in Illinois schools.  While the percentage may appear small, it has grown by nearly 25 percent since 2004 and does not account for the many students... Continue Reading

Posted In: K-3
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