IALAS Summer Newsletter

August 2022

If you haven't registered yet to be a member here is the link. Please share with others so they can be part of our IALAS familia.
Big picture

Follow IALAS on Twitter @IllinoisALAS or Linkedin @Illinois Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents

Use the QR Code to join your familia on Linkedin

Dr. Elizabeth Álvarez-President Message

Dear IALAS Familia,

It is August and back to school is around the corner. Many of us are having our back to school events, greeting families and our children, and others planning open houses. Whatever the upcoming event, let's make it one where our children, families and community feel welcomed, and excited for the school year.

Some items to consider as you open schools again:

  • Make sure your welcome back messages truly exhibit how much you missed staff, families, and children before you get down to business.

  • Prepare buildings for all-keeping in mind all the various geniuses/talents everyone brings to make our remarkable schools.

  • Stock your libraries and classrooms with print rich languages not just English and culturally responsive and inclusive books.

  • Plan how you will set a culture and climate that is all giving, productive and joyful for the school year so that rigor becomes where you spend most of your time addressing, adjusting and focused on for the year.

As educators, we know families are concerned about safety and security. School safety and security is top of mind for all educators. Although we have always prepared for emergencies and as we have seen at the Highland Park tragedy our children were the ones that knew what to do and guided the adults to safety. This was an example of how schools prepare for the worse. Families will be asking how we are prepared and in actuality the question should be how those we voted in are protecting us as well as those in roles to protect us. How are they preparing? That is why it is important partnerships are developed with local law enforcement. Have children and staff get to know them. The drills will continue to occur but I also ask that you invite law enforcement to come into your buildings without children to see the layout of the buildings. This is our reality and we need to be proactive. Prepare your staff before students arrive. Stress the importance of wearing their IDs for safety. Inform the staff at the front desk and entrance doors on how to greet and let or not let visitors into our buildings. We are doing our part. I know our schools know what to do and this is the message we need to continue to tell our families. Our schools are the safest and most prepared for the unfortunate.

Now as we prepare for social and emotional needs. Remember that all middle schoolers and high schoolers must have student IDs to support attendance, identification, safety and wellbeing. On their IDs each student must have the following:

Dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line

Contact Safe2Help Illinois: Dial 844-4-SAFEIL, Text SAFE2 (72332), email HELP@Safe2HelpIL.com

We hope these tips get our IALAS familia feeling ready to start the school year.

Dan Swartz and I had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC for the Small School District Symposium where we spoke to Dr. Lane, Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education at the Department of Education. We shared concerns regarding Plyler vs. Doe. This case is in reference to a 5-4 decision issued on June 15, 1982, where the court held that withholding state funds for local school districts that educated children residing in the country without legal permission was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This is now being questioned by the Supreme Court. We discussed assessments and how these are being weaponized towards black and brown students and requested more support regarding school safety. We discussed ESSER funds and the deadline of Sept. 30 2024. They were also able to share that teachers that have loans need to apply for the public service loan forgiveness before the October 31, 2022 deadline.

Mark your calendars for our Winter Educational Conclave on January 21, 2023 and Spring Annual Statewide Conference on April 22, 2023. We also have time to have fun with networking and social events. Our Fall mixer is planned for October 22, 2022. We will keep you updated via our website and monthly president messages for all other events. We truly want to see everyone as we are stronger together.

Huge congratulations to Maria Burgos and Rocio del Castillo (IALAS Board Members) who were selected as cohort XII of SLA (Superintendent Leadership Academy) of ALAS. We are super proud of you.

As always, thank you for all you do. Continue to spread your IALAS wings as anti-racist, equitable, educational leaders. Let’s make this a wonderful year! We look forward to seeing you virtually at our August 15, 2022 IALAS Board meeting at 4:30 p.m. and many of you in-person at the ALAS Conference in October, 2022.


Elizabeth Álvarez, Ph.D.

IALAS President

Follow Me On Twitter @EAlvarezD91

IALAS Signup To Register As A Member

Keep those registrations coming! We are so excited to start the new school year with our IALAS Familia.

To keep up with the excitement, we are launching a new feature in our membership and the best part, it doesn’t cost you anything!

From now until the end of September, any one who signs up as an IALAS member (including those who have already registered since July 1) will also receive membership to our parent organization, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. This is a pilot program conceptualized by our Executive Board, in partnership with Kristina Davis (Region 5 Director of ALAS), and Maria Armstrong (ALAS Executive Director).

If you are a member, thank you! If you are thinking about joining, now is the time!

If you are joining as an individual, please follow this link: tinyurl.com/IALAS-IND-Member

If you are joining as an group of administrators from the same District or CPS Network, please follow this link: tinyurl.com/IALAS-INST-Membership

NOTE: When signing up using the institutional membership, you will sign up two members initially. You will later receive a coupon code via email to give to other members in your organization which will allow them to sign up as part of your group.

As with anything new, there will be a learning curve with our new membership system. If you have any questions, please reach out to me (dswartz@ialas.org) or our members-at-large board member, Beatriz Lappay (blappay@ialas.org).

Enjoy the rest of your Summer, have wonderful first days of school, hope to see you in Puerto Rico for the ALAS National Conference, and of course, we look forward to being together at one of our events this year.

IALAS New Board Member

We will be voting on our 7th member to join the IALAS Board as Secretary II at our August 15, 2022 4:30 p.m. IALAS Board Meeting.

IALAS Admin Spotlight

Raul Gaston, Principal of Jefferson Middle School in Dupage School District 45 is our spotlight administrator!! We are super proud of Raul as he is the first Latino to be selected as president of IPA (Illinois Principals Association). We look forward to him serving in this role as he is truly an inspiration to all. He was also invited to represent Illinois at the Educational Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in February for NAESP and NASSP. He participated in various educational policy forums and visits to the offices of members in congress. He has also served in ISBE committees particularly during the beginning of pandemic. He is one of the authors in providing all Illinois educators and administrators with guidance through the publication of “Remote Learning Recommendations (2020), “Recommendations for Closing 2019-20” and the “Priority Standards 2020-2021”

Mentorship by VP Mary Kassir

If you are looking into leadership or perhaps a change of position within leadership, we’d love to support you! Our affiliate is full of incredible leaders in their craft willing to support you on your next steps. If you are interested in individual mentorship, please complete this form, and we will get you in touch with a highly capable mentor from within our organization. Alternatively, if you are currently serving in a leadership capacity and wish to mentor a new leader or a leader new in their position, please complete this form.

IALAS also partners with the Latino Leadership Pipeline (LLP). LLP began several years ago with one goal: to develop the next level of Latino Leaders ready to take on leadership roles in schools, districts, and across the state. Our cohort model is built around monthly Saturday morning workshops that explore the intersection of Latino identity, commitment to education, and a call to leadership.

LLP is forming their SY23 cohort now, and they are extending a special invitation to IALAS members. To start the process, or simply learn more, please complete this short interest form by August 31st.

Career Opportunities by Secretary I Maria Burgos

Feel free to reach out to IALAS if you have administrative employment opportunities in your district! We will post them on our IALAS website and will pass the word along to our membership. Please send all submissions to mburgos@ialas.org and include information regarding the vacancy along with all other pertinent information you would like shared. Thank you in advance for your support as we work together to strengthen the Latino administration pipeline. Click here to view employment opportunities listed on our website and don’t forget that IALAS members are eligible to submit job postings for free!

Professional Book by Treasurer Dan Swartz

Recently, our district (Skokie School District 73.5) had the opportunity to partner with author, Aimee Papola-Ellis studying her new book, Inclusive Texts in Elementary Classrooms: Developing Literacies, Identities, and Understandings. For three sessions, our teachers had the opportunity to learn about selecting authentic materials, discuss children’s literature, and laugh a lot! It was good for the soul coming off the year we had in 21-22.

In the book, Dr. Papola-Ellis and her co-author Amy J. Heineke offer an Inclusive Texts Framework to support teachers and leaders in choosing and the use of texts in the classroom setting. They write:

“We use the term inclusive texts to encapsulate those texts that reflect and include the multifaceted identities of children in schools and societies, with intersecting lenses on race, ethnicity, culture, language, ability, class, gender, family, and community.”

Different from other texts on the subject, the use of the word inclusive seeks to encapsulate the ever expansive identities that join us for learning each day in our classrooms.

The framework (shown below) begins with students and their stories and leverages the uniquenesses of the curriculum in your classroom. As they write, the goal of their work is to create classrooms “where every child feels seen, heard, and included.”

I encourage you to check out the book on Amazon or on Teachers College Press.  You can also connect with the authors on their website: https://inclusivetexts.weebly.com/.
I encourage you to check out the book on Amazon or on Teachers College Press. You can also connect with the authors on their website: https://inclusivetexts.weebly.com/.

We are planning a future book talk. Our first book will be led by the presidents of ALAS state affiliates. This year’s book led by state affiliate presidents is You Talk Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julia Arce. Make sure to purchase your copy so you can join us on upcoming book talks.

Advocacy by Historian Rocio Del Castillo

New teachers need more support. Here's an easy way to help


In U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s vision to elevate the teaching profession, he highlights three priorities: improving teacher pipelines, supporting teacher growth, and investing in teacher retention.

Students' view: 3 ways Congress can support students with disabilities — now

The 74

With the appropriate support, accommodations, and allies, our invisible disabilities — including ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and processing disorders — are our strengths. Unfortunately, by isolating, ignoring, and reprimanding students who don’t fit the neurotypical mold, the U.S. education system fails the one in five students across this country who learn differently.

Inflation is putting the squeeze on schools. How are they coping?

Education Week

With fixed budgets complicated by local, state, and federal funding that rolls out on different schedules, school districts often struggle to adjust to unexpected costs. Some can shift funds around or tap into savings without much issue, but others find themselves experiencing a deficit, laying off staff, or canceling vital investments in teaching and learning to stay afloat.

Want to support English-learners? Prioritize SEL, new study finds

Education Week

When students test out of an English-learner program, or are reclassified as proficient in English, they report a higher sense of self and a greater belief in their ability to complete challenging academic tasks, a new study finds.

July 2022 IALAS Golf Outing by Member at Large Beatriz Lappay

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to come to our Golf outing in July at the White Deer Run Golf Club at Vernon Hills. We had a great time and the weather was perfect. This years picturesque Golf Outing event was sponsored by Caresolace, Curriculum Associates and Otus. They provided guests with golf supplies, a delicious dinner and gave away several amazing prizes. Thank you to all of our partner representatives for creating a fun and interactive atmosphere to network as well as spruce up on our golf swings. Special thank you to Brian Peters for making the golf outing a reality for the past two years. Be on the look out for future events we would love to see you there!
Big picture