Empowering Educators to Support Latino Youth

 A Review of the 2016 Escalera Training

By Cindy Zavala, Education Programs Associate, NCLR

The 2016 Escalera training at NCLR’s Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Last month, the Escalera program brought 31 educators to NCLR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters for a three-day training on how to best prepare students for college and beyond. The Escalera educators are part of the NCLR Affiliate Network, which includes schools and community-based organizations that are grantees of the Escalera, Early Escalera, and Escalera STEM programs. The goal of the training was to provide Escalera teachers with better resources to implement the Escalera curricula in their schools and communities.

2At the Escalera training, Affiliates discussed their current work, explored the college-going process, and provided feedback on how to improve the program. For Early Escalera instructors, this was their first opportunity to meet and discuss the new curriculum. It was also a great opportunity for them to meet with other educators, such as the Escalera STEM team, who have been implementing their program for over two years.

“This is my first time attending a training like this and I am excited to bring back the Early Escalera teachings I have received, here at NCLR, back to my school,” said Marcelo Olmos, Development Director at Academia Avance Charter School.

The training was organized by NCLR’s Lucerito Ortiz, Escalera Manager; Juliana Ospina Cano, STEM Manager; Maria Moser, Senior Director of Teaching and Learning; and Cindy Zavala, Education Programs Associate. The team provided educators with an opportunity to build strategies and increase capacity in the areas of recruitment, retention, internship development, cultural competence, curriculum implementation, and program management.

Lucerito Ortiz, Escalera Manager, discusing the college application process, and the NCLR team provided further information about financial aid for prospective students.

Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, stopped by the training to thank the Escalera instructors for their work. “I recognize that our Affiliates are on the ground doing incredible work. The work you do as teachers is important to NCLR and I want to thank you all for supporting our Latino youth,” she said.

Connecting the Dots

 Visiting our headquarters, located three blocks from the White House, was also a great opportunity for the educators to learn more about the organization’s work on a national level. Brenda Calderon, Education Policy Analyst, shared information about new regulations for schools that are under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She also discussed how ESSA has made significant improvements for the education of Latinos and English learners.

Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR, welcoming Escalera educators to Washington, DC.

Janet Hernandez, NCLR’s Senior Civic Engagement Project Manager, spoke to the educators about the High School Democracy Project. This six-lesson curriculum helps teachers ensure eligible students are registered to vote and can become active citizens.

Brenda Calderon, Education Policy Analyst for NCLR, sharing new data on English Learners.

The educators left the training sessions energized and eager to start the new school year. “We look forward to supporting our Escalera instructors throughout the school year as they do this very important work, and we are excited to see the continued impact they have on the lives and opportunities of the students we serve,” Ortiz said.

Delmy Roquel and Marcelo Olmos, educators at Academia Avance Charter School, looking at their student’s survey responses.

The NCLR Escalera training was made possible thanks to the generous support of Statefarm, UPS, and Shell. For more information on NCLR’s Education programs for youth, please visit http://www.nclr.org/issues/youth/.

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