Latino Studies & Supports Updates

LSS Week of January 31, 2022


Hi, my name is Alexci Reyes. I am the Latino Studies & Supports Coach with the Department of Multilingual Education. I would like to share some background to what we do in Latino Studies & Supports. Latino Studies is comprehensive coverage of cultural competency, language proficiency, academic achievement, and awareness of Latino experiences and contributions in K-12 education. The mission of Latino Studies in RCSD is to provide the infrastructure for the creation and implementation of quality curriculum in K-12 classes, covering relevant issues concerning Latino populations in the state, nation, and globally. We serve as a resource for teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders.

Four High Leverage Strategies for a Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Teaching District-Wide Implementation

The CR-S framework helps educators create student-centered learning environments that affirm racial, linguistic and cultural identities; prepare students for rigor and independent learning, develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference; elevate historically marginalized voices; and empower students as agents of social change.

Celebrating the New York State Seal of Biliteracy in RCSD Schools

The NYSSB recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and one or more world languages. The intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages, to identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, to provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and placement, to prepare students with twenty-first century skills, to recognize the value of language instruction, and to affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society. Successful candidates will earn three points in English and three points in each world language from a points matrix, which includes course grades, national and state exams, transcripts, and culminating projects. The NYSSB takes the form of a Seal on the student's diploma and a medallion worn at graduation (NYSED).

Find out more about the New York State Seal of Biliteracy program and how to further support your students in our schools at RCSD. Below you will be able to view a news feature from last year highlighting one of our schools, Monroe, East, School of the Arts, Franklin (Formerly Integrated Arts). Since then, there are more schools offering the Seal. Follow the link below to learn more about RCSD schools participating in the NYSSB.

Seal of Biliteracy New York opens opportunities for Rochester high school students
Californians Together Presents: The Seal of Biliteracy -- Celebrating Students of the 21st Century

Connecticut Public Act: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Black & Latino Studies in Public School Education

In June 2019, CT PA 19-12 was passed to develop an African American/Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Course of Studies at the high school level. Legislation identified the State Education Resource Center (SERC) as the coordinating entity to develop the curriculum as the first, integrated and model statewide curriculum of its kind. In collaboration with partners from the CT State Department of Education (CSDE), work swiftly began with the design of a comprehensive work plan and website, and the convening of a 150-member Advisory Group (you can view this in Appendix for full listing) representative of educators, students and advocates, historians, scholars, and community members by November 2019. This could provide other states with a map and or review of how to incorporate such content in context to NYS and United States history.

Opportunity for ELL Families

Action for a Better Community is currently creating programming, English Language classes, workforce assistance and referrals to the Office for new Americans (ONA) hotline. These upcoming free courses will run quarterly, providing 75 hours of ESOL instruction to each participant per quarter. 50 hours are dedicated to teacher-led instruction and 10 workforce topics per year. The program is now seeking 30-60 participants for each quarter. The first class began February 7th, 2022. For further information on upcoming quarterly classes, please contact Jason Barber, ESOL/ONA Coordinator at 585-837-1827, Email:

The Pond (La Charca) by Manuel Zeno Gandía (1855-1930)

Before the turn of the century, while the rich in Madrid, Paris and Rome capped their sumptuous dinners with sips of Puerto Rico’s exquisite black café, the anemic men, women and children who harvested the precious crop lived in squalid huts and rarely had enough to eat for themselves. During this time, Zeno Gandía's novel is written in different historical-cultural circumstances than other Hispanic-American countries. For Puerto Rico, independence had not arrived; it remained subordinate to the Spanish administration. It is, on the other hand, a testimonial exploration of rural underdevelopment. In addition, the author applies new descriptive procedures and narrates situations of naturalistic intensification. The date of publication of La Charca in 1894 actually means a considerable delay in the evolution of the novel of naturalistic orientation in Hispano-America that began about fourteen years earlier, toward 1880.

Manuel Zeno Gandía skillfully narrates the conflicts and challenges that arose. Manuel Zeno Gandía is the most significant Puerto Rican author for the extent and quality of his work. His life and cultural formation coincide with the most dramatic stage in the history of Puerto Rican history. Born in Arecibo, a city on the north coast of the island, in 1855, he will witness, at times active, the situations of Spanish rule, the independence effervescence, and the Hispanic-American war. Consider learning more about the themes of this novel (death, love, machismo, avarice, concealment, sickness, self-interest, and more ).

This would be a great opportunity for teachers to delve into a novel that reveals the socio-economic, political, and cultural context of the time. "The Pond" was published in 1894 and although it is almost 130 years old, it is rooted in insights regarding the experience, development and contemporary topics relevant to Puerto Ricans today. SLA and ELA teachers can consider learning more about the themes, history and parallels of this novel that could help students be reflective about the past, identity, raise important questions and solutions to contemporary issues. The novel is available in English and Spanish.

Big picture
Big picture

Alexci Reyes

Latino Studies & Supports Coach

Department of Multilingual Education

HHM-Historical Resources

Latino Studies & Supports

RCSD Seal of Biliteracy


Expanding my Library

Big picture