By: Maria Vasquez, Program Director
ACT was pleased to welcome the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) to the Superintendent Leadership Academy (SLA) to our Iowa City campus last week.
ALAS’s mission is to provide leadership at a national level that assures every school effectively serves the educational needs of Hispanic youth by building capacity, advancing research, promoting best practices, and transforming learning organizations across the country.
The SLA develops, harnesses, and enhances leadership to improve the quality of education for Latino students – along with all students to ensure their success in the global economy. The program has 15 participating superintendents, who are serving students in school districts across the U.S. through this year-long leadership program. The SLA is the first of its kind in the U.S. to focus on preparing the next generation of school system leaders with the skills necessary to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. The program trains school system leaders to become superintendents of school districts with an emphasis on Hispanic Serving School Districts (HSSD) whose Latino population is 25 percent or higher. The primary goal is to increase the number of Latino superintendents, helping districts to facilitate partnerships with families and better outcomes for children.
The 2016-2017 SLA cohort hailed from a number of states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas and represented 528,200 students from diverse school districts. ACT CEO Marten Roorda and Center for Equity in Learning’s Chief Officer Jim Larimore welcomed the cohort and discussed the importance of diversity in schools and the need to make a difference in the lives of all children. Alina von Davier, vice president of ACTNext, shared her ideas on education and achievement and innovations in education. Juan Garcia, senior director, CEL, discussed the outcomes of The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015 for Hispanic Students. Other discussion and presentations featured ACT Aspire and the PreACT test and how to use data to support students. Finally, Alex Casillas, principal research psychologist, discussed ACT’s Holistic Framework: A Better Approach to College and Career Readiness. The cohort reflected on the discussions and information and were eager to participate with ACTNext pilot programs. They also discussed sharing information with their district about the Holistic Framework and ACT Aspire, and were interested to learn more about ACT.
According to ALAS, its members want to be a voice for Latinos, “Addressing the needs of the fastest growing minority in the United States – the Latino community is vital to the national interest. This ever growing country is uniquely enriched by large numbers of Latino subgroups, i.e. Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and Latin Americans.” The SLA event was a great success, and ACT is looking forward to continuing to support ALAS leaders and share their future successes as they return to their districts and communities armed with more information about closing gaps in equity in education and excited to help all students achieve success in the classroom and beyond.