Welcome to the Con Ganas We Can Blog
Con Ganas We Can is a blog dedicated to amplifying the Latino voice in the education sector. The purpose of this blog is to bring attention to the work of Latino leaders at forefront of education issues.
We know Latino leaders are making significant contributions across the education sector, yet their voices are not always included in dialogue about education. Con Ganas We Can is a collection of insights and stories that spotlights a diverse group of Latino leaders working in schools, districts and other education organizations. This blog includes viewpoints on Latino leadership in education and highlights the work of Latino leaders collectively pursuing a more equitable education for students across the country. By following this blog, you can expect to learn more about inpiring leaders in the Latinos for Education network and how their backgrounds and experiences inform their leadership and amplify their impact.
Our blog is titled Con Ganas We Can – the expression “con ganas” means to act with passion and conviction. This phrase fuels our work at Latinos for Education because we believe that Latino students and families deserve advocates who work wholeheartedly alongside them. Working “con ganas” is an organizational value at Latinos for Education – underscoring all our efforts.
READ OUR LATEST POSTS
By: Carla Rivera-Cruz | May 3, 2022
Teachers are some of the most important people we encounter in our lifetimes.
By: Dr. Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon and Dr. Travis J. Bristol | April 28, 2022
A recent study starts to shed light on the ways in which matching Latino educators with Latino students impacts disciplinary outcomes.
By: Betsy Castro | April 13, 2022
We cannot standby and allow the education system to continue undeserving Latino students because our nation’s future is at stake.
By: Samantha Ader | March 9, 2022
Our team is growing so there is no better time to highlight why our people love working at Latinos for Education.
By: Andy Canales | February 25, 2022
With two new members joining the Houston ISD School Board this year, we welcome the opportunity to continue co-designing family driven solutions that can help students thrive.
By: Dr. Armando X. Orduña and Dr. Jessica Huizenga | February 03, 2022
The 22 fellows that are participating in the Latino Board Fellowship have the power to shape how education organizations prioritize and serve Latino students.
By: Sandra Rodriguez | January 19, 2022
It hasn’t even been four months since our group of mothers from Familias Latinas Por La Educación presented their vision for change to Houston Superintendent Millard House, but their advocacy is already making a difference.
By: Amanda Fernandez | December 27, 2021
While 2021 had its ups and downs, I hope you each found ways to take care of yourselves and find the inspiration you needed to keep fighting for educational equity.
Supporting Latinos to Become Authentic and Fulfilled Leaders
By: Carla Rivera-Cruz | December 14, 2021
As Latinos, we are too familiar with the uphill battle we face when it comes to having a seat at the table, or stepping into leadership roles.
An Investment in Latinx Students is an Investment in our Shared Future and Prosperity
By: Adriana Solis-López | November 22, 2021
Less than two percent of all philanthropic giving goes towards Latino-led organizations and causes.
Regrounding the Classroom: Planting Seeds that Honor the Histories and Humanity of the Students We Serve
By: Mayra Valle | November 16, 2021
If art has the power to connect and inspire a mother and daughter across decades, critical dialogue has the power to motivate reflection from educators and co-create much-needed spaces of belonging for our young people.
Once in a Lifetime Funding Should be Spent on Transformative Solutions
By: Manny Cruz | November 10, 2021
$3.82 billion. Thanks in part to the federal funds coming to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this is the amount of money that the Massachusetts legislature is considering to help rebuild much of what was lost and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This once in a lifetime opportunity should be met with bold investments and guided by equity.
How Can We Reclaim Educational Equity in Texas? Latino Educators Came Together to Find Out.
By: Andy Canales and Sandra Rodriguez | November 2, 2021
Last month, Latinos for Education convened nearly 200 educators, state legislators, and community members from across Texas at our State of Latino Education Summit. With an increase of over 800,000 Latino students since 2005 in the Lone Star state, we came together with the belief that Latino students will shape the future of Texas, and the collective goal to work together to reclaim educational equity for Latino students and their families.
Why We Celebrated Latinx Educators in New England to set the Stage for Greater Diversity in Schools
By: Lorena Lopera and Manny Cruz | October 28, 2021
This Hispanic Heritage Month, we came together with educators, state legislators, and Latinos leaders from all across the nation at the first annual State of Latino Education. We discussed the critical role that educators of color play in New England, and the potential we have as a community to set a national example of what it truly means to prioritize and invest in teachers and students of color.
Enrolling My Son in the COVID-19 Clinical Trials: Para Nuestra Familia y Comunidad
By: Dr. Ruth M. Lopez | October 15, 2021
I was worried of course, given that all research carries a risk, but seeing the high rates of COVID-19 in my community and across the country assured me that signing my children up for the trials was a good idea. Ultimately, the decision came down to an ethic of care my familia and I believe in–yes, my children would have greater protection, but beyond them, their participation could help ensure all children will have access to the vaccine sooner rather than later.
Reclaiming the Promise of Educational Equity at the State of Latino Education
By: Amanda Fernandez | September 23, 2021
The State of Latino Education serves as our moment to reclaim the future of our children through education policy and practice change, which is necessary for us to see a true shift. We hope to spur commitment, energy and action as advocates for Latino educational equity.
Connected for the Future: How Massachusetts Broadband Equity Commission Can Close Digital Gaps
By: Amanda Fernandez | September 21, 2021
We must acknowledge the fact that digital technology is a permanent feature of our students’ education. We need to create policies and structures that formalize and institutionalize new practices that are responsive to the needs of the Latino community and contribute to an equitable education system.
It’s Time to Think BIGGER to Create a More Equitable System for Latino Children
By: Jessica Huizenga | July 28, 2021
The work of diversification of our Educator Pipeline has never been more important than NOW! This is why I have joined Latinos for Education specifically to help the organization continue to diversify the educator workforce at every step of the pipeline to ensure Latino students get the basic access to high quality teachers and leaders of color they deserve.
Standing with Gavin Grimm and All LGBTQIA+ Students
By: Dr. Daniel Velasco | July 6, 2021
If we seek to provide educational environments where trans identities can be seen and celebrated, we will create schools where children of all other historically marginalized or “othered” classes can learn and even thrive.
Not Who We Are: The Cracked Mirror Facing Texas Teachers and Students
By: Armando Orduña, Ed.D. | June 24, 2021
We stand at a telling moment in our own history. Future generations of Texans will look to this bill’s passage and judge us by our complicity or our silence.
Putting Latinos at the Core of National Education Policy
By Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon, Ed.D. | June 11, 2021
I’m excited to join the incredible team at Latinos for Education as the organization’s first Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer to tackle pressing challenges. In this role, I will help drive the organization’s national policy principles into a Latino education agenda by advancing policies that put Latinos at the core and finally help our students achieve education equity.
Many teachers try to bring diverse voices into their classrooms, but a dash of diversity here and there for heritage celebrations and history months is far from enough. Moreover, the burden should not solely be on the teacher to try to make changes to curricula that are designed to meet the standards of statewide testing. Ideally, Black, Native American, Latinx and Asian American history would be infused into U.S. history courses; Europe would not be the center of world history; and English classes would teach as many, if not more, texts by BIPOC authors.
I Will be Leading Our Advocacy in Greater Houston: Here’s My hope for Latino Students and Families
By: Sandra Rodriguez | May 18, 2021
As a Houston native, I’ve spent 20 years working to support and uplift the Latino community in a number of different capacities, both in my work life and in my life outside of the office. I’m thrilled to begin the next chapter in my life’s work as the Advocacy Director for Greater Houston at Latinos for Education.
Latinos Make Up the Majority of HISD’s Student Body; the New Superintendent Must Represent Their Needs
By: Andy Canales | May 10, 2021
When we heard that the school district was moving forward with choosing the next superintendent, we knew we had to make sure parent voices were heard. At Latinos for Education we train Latino leaders to enter and thrive in the education sector, and experience has taught us that incorporating the voice of parents is essential to this work.
El Trabajo Sigue: Latinos for Education Programs Adapt to Changing Times
By: Dr. Rick Rodriguez | April 30, 2021
In response to the changing education landscape of this past year, our team responded quickly to adapt program delivery and content. In 2021, we will deliver the Aspiring Latino Leaders Fellowship and Latinx Teachers Fellowship as national cohorts with fully virtual modality. Fellows will also focus on building a familia of Latinx educators across regions sharing best practices, collaborating in identifying solutions, and exploring how we as a Latinx educators elevate our leadership and voices. This is our professional family.
Guest Blog: A New Workforce Development Strategy Supporting Parents and Educators With Distance Learning
By: Stephanie Parra | April 21, 2021
In response to the pandemic, ALL In Education, in partnership with The New Teacher Project and Chicanos Por La Causa, developed the Parent Educator Academy (PEA), a new and innovative workforce development strategy to support parents and educators with distance learning.
Counselors Matter: Why Latinx Counselors are Crucial to Student Attainment
By: Wil De Pilar | March 30, 2021
Only 11% of school counselors nationally are Latino compared to 27% of students in K-12 schools. Given the impact that same-race counselors can have on Latinx students, it is time to think about how we can increase the pipeline of Latino counselors in schools.
Representation in Schools Matters: How Teacher Diversity is Key to Moving Forward from the Pandemic
By: Manny Cruz | March 18, 2021
Educators of color are best equipped to break down systems of oppression that are holding students of color back. When we invest in the success of these educators, we’re committing to the students they serve as well.
Representation in Schools Matters: How Teacher Diversity is Key to Moving Forward from the Pandemic
By: Lorena Lopera | February 17, 2021
If we’re to move forward from this pandemic, then one key piece to solving some of our greatest challenges is having Latino representation and leadership at all levels of education.
Putting Wokeness to Work: Practicing Inclusivity in Our Everyday Lives
By: Dr. Daniel Velasco | January 19, 2021
Being anti-racist isn’t just about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s about undoing centuries-old ideals rooted in colonialism and white supremacy.
Latino Resilience In the Time of COVID – Looking Back to Move Forward
By: Amanda Fernandez | December 29, 2020
Our COVID-related work will continue in 2021, but not because we want to go back to a pre-covid education system – like I said, that system was not working for Latino students to begin with – but because we want to find immediate solutions for our families while we work to build a new education system for our students post-covid.
The Next Secretary of Education cannot Ignore the Latino Community
By: Amanda Fernandez | December 21, 2020
We need a Secretary who understands the promise our Latino children hold and can bring out the best in them. When Latino students succeed, America succeeds.
Using Tech To Address Student Mental Health During COVID-19
By: Lorena Lopera | December 4, 2020
Historically, Latinos are hesitant to share mental health needs, so if 43 percent are saying this is important, we, as leaders, educators and parents must listen and put mental health first. Luckily, we can prioritize well-being using some of the same tools we use for virtual learning: technology and broadband.
Implementing Restorative Practices
By: Dr. Hector Corona | November 25, 2020
With Covid-19 disrupting social skills, relationships and academic teaching, I am afraid more students will require a larger array of intensive restorative justice practices when schools fully reopen.
The Path Forward: Elevating Latino Education Under a Biden Administration
By: Amanda Fernandez | November 10, 2020
Latinos played a pivotal role in the presidential election and we represent the future of our country. That future depends on how we invest in education.
Three Ways To Keep More Low-Income and First-Generation Students in College
By: Tina Fernandez | September 1, 2020
Despite the impacts of the pandemic, schools and direct service organizations can deploy interventions to help low-income and first-generation students achieve college success.
National Education Principles: Tackling the Teacher-Student Diversity Gap — What Happens When We Only Provide Windows
By: Jessica Camacho | August 25, 2020
The teacher-student diversity gap is a point of analysis for us to explore further and begs us to ask, if we only provide windows for our students, what vision are we denying?
An Educator’s Guide to Cultivating a Digital Presence with Purpose
By: Dr. Vanessa Monterosa | August 4, 2020
Having a digital presence with purpose is critical to our development as 21st-century education leaders and includes contribution, community, and connection.
The Role of Familia in Digital Citizenship and Navigating Remote Learning
By: Dr. Vanessa Monterosa | July 23, 2020
School districts put policies in place to support the development of media and digitally literate students, but what is the family’s role in supporting this work?
A Virtual New Deal: Put Americans to Work Now by Preparing our Education Infrastructure for the Second Wave of COVID-19
By: Andy Canales | July 14, 2020
Today, we don’t need physical infrastructure – we need virtual infrastructure for our schools and socio-emotional infrastructure for our students.
Latinx: The Expendables of the COVID-19 Crisis
By: Amanda Fernandez | July 7, 2020
To stop the exacerbation of learning gaps, we must prioritize our most vulnerable children during planning for school re-entry in the fall.
The Supreme Court’s Ruling To Protect DACA Helps Strengthen and Diversify the Fabric of America
By: Andy Canales | June 30, 2020
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the rescission of DACA means the fabric of our country stays intact for a while longer.
¡Presente! Reflections of a Latina State Board Member
By: Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon | June 23, 2020
When Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon became a board member, she felt the pressure to magnify the needs of her community while giving voice and visibility to the issues that can only be tangible when they form part of your lived experiences.
What I’ve Learned as a White-Presenting Latina and a Call to Non-Black Latinx to Engage in the Fight for Racial Equity
By: Lorena Lopera | June 17, 2020
Just as I call on my white allies, I am asking all non-Black Latinos to engage in the struggle for justice for our Black and Afro-Latinx brothers and sisters.
It Begins at Home: Difficult Conversations with Latino Family and Friends Surrounding Racism and #BlackLivesMatter
By: Dr. Daniel Velasco | June 9, 2020
Our stories are and will continue to be interrelated with those of the Black community in America so I’m sharing questions to facilitate conversation with family and friends.
Stand with the AAPI Community to Combat Covid-19 Hate
By: Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez | May 26, 2020
Our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) brothers and sisters are a target, blamed for bringing to the U.S. COVID-19 and as educators, we can and must disrupt hate.
Latinos for Education Launches a Virtual Summer Leadership Collaborative in Response to COVID-19
By: Daniel Velasco | May 19, 2020
Designed as a premiere leadership fellowship for Latinx educators in their first few years of teaching, the Virtual Summer Leadership Collaborative will provide a national cohort of 20-30 Latinx elementary school teachers serving large ELL populations with the networks, problem-solving tools for re-entry, and identity-based career coaching to reinvest participants in the teaching profession.
Giving Tuesday Now: Support Latinx Educators in Times of Hardship
By: Amanda Fernandez | May 5, 2020
As COVID-19 takes its toll on our Latino students and families across the country, we need to support leaders on the front lines of providing educational and emotional support to Latino students.
COVID-19 Presents an Opportunity for Higher Education Student Equity: Test-Optional Policies for all Colleges
By: Daniel Lopez | April 22, 2020
Many students already face barriers to higher education, including college admissions testing. Is COVID-19 an opportunity to remove this barrier?
Best Practices for Educating Latinx Students During the COVID-19 Crisis from School Districts Across the U.S.
By: Samantha Ader | April 14, 2020
As we aim to help English Language Learners access resources during COVID-19, school districts across the country are finding ways to meet their needs.
VIDEO: Apoyando La Educación En Casa
By: Arlene Sanchez y Elysa Severinghaus | April 7, 2020
La conversación toca varios temas incluyendo prácticas sencillas para apoyar la educación en casa y recomendaciones para colaborar o comunicarse con las escuelas y maestros.
Will the Education System Pivot Fast Enough for Post COVID-19 Learning?
By: Daniel Velasco | March 31, 2020
Research shows students already lose one month of learning each summer but with a pandemic sweeping the nation, how will the education sector respond and will it be fast enough? Read this blog en Español.
In Teaching And Leadership, It Is About More Than Vision. It’s About Philosophy
By: Daniel Lopez | February 7, 2020
After his first year teaching, Daniel realized he needed more than a vision for his students, he needed a philosophy to anchor his decision-making approach.
Latinx Leaders Change Their Communities Through Edupreneurship
By: Johana Muriel Grajales | November 7, 2019
More than $75,000 in cash and in-kind rewards were awarded to ten finalists at the Latinx Edupreneurs Pitch Competition, hosted by Latinos for Education.
The Untapped Potential of Latino Students in Texas
By: Andy Canales | November 1, 2019
Throughout the data, we see numerous shining examples of students and schools outperforming even in difficult circumstances. The data shows our kids can succeed – and they are succeeding.
How I Expanded My Role As An Educator To Become An Advocate For Latino Communities
By: Maritere Mix | October 17, 2019
While I am grateful the Latino Board Fellowship exposed me to opportunities to continue supporting students, it also taught me the proverbial table at which I must take a seat is much larger than the one in the boardroom.
Activating Rising Latinx Leaders Into The Changemakers We Need Right Now
By: Amanda Fernandez and Dr. Daniel Velasco | September 16, 2019
To be effective Latinx education leaders, we must confront our own stories. What we’ve found is Latinx leaders rarely get to invest time in unpacking the thread of our experiences and how it shaped who we are and who we want to become.
From Undocumented to Community Advocate
By: Lorena Lopera | August 29, 2019
I am an immigrant and valuable contributor to our country and we, the Latinx community, are an important segment to ensuring this country stands tall for generations to come.
Language for Some: The Hypocrisy in Language Acquisition Policy
By: David Mendez | July 31, 2019
There is much hypocrisy around language acquisition in the U.S. Many agree learning multiple languages is an asset in the 21st century but who benefits?
The Unseen Faces and Unheard Voices in the Ed Reform Movement
By: Arlene Sanchez | July 18, 2019
The opportunity gap has manifested into the lack of representation of Latinx educators and the silencing of our voice in decision-making for our community.
Measured by a Different Standard: A Latinx in the US
By: Paulette Piñero | May 17, 2019
As Latinx employees, we struggle to bring ourselves fully to the workplace, we lack champions, and executive leadership does not represent the reality of our community.
Learning the Language of Higher Education
By: Sebastian Gomez | April 18, 2019
As a first-generation immigrant, I grew up speaking multiple languages but the language of higher education was not one of them.
Our Students Deserve Ethnic Studies Now
By: Natalia Cuadra-Saez | April 9, 2019
Students who identify positively with their ethnic origin have a better chance of academic success.
Working Alongside Parents To Support A Child’s Education
By: Gabriela González del Real | March 20, 2019
In order for our students to be successful, they need to be supported by their community as a whole including teachers, school staff, and their families.
The Struggle of Representation: Reflecting on our Latinidad through the Walls of Acculturation and Self-Esteem
By: Antonelli Mejia | March 13, 2019
The lack of access to opportunities during high school and college and the low representation of leaders in our community are some of the disadvantages that make our education process more difficult.
Shifting Mindsets for our Latino ELs
By: Crystal Gonzales | October 30, 2018
By changing our mindset to focus on the assets of English language learners (ELs), we can better educate 4.8 million students.
Christina’s Story: Teacher Shares Power of Latino Leadership in Schools
By: R.D. Leyva | October 19, 2018
Christina Jusino shares her story as a Latina teacher who recognizes the impact of culture and shared understanding as a lever for students’ success.
Natalie’s Story: Projecting the Latino Voice from Classrooms to Boardrooms and Beyond
By: R.D. Leyva | October 15, 2018
Natalie Velasquez leads a successful career in finance, yet her experiences in public education motivated her to join the board of a school in Boston.
Naila’s Story: Partner Reflects on the Value of Collaboration and How Building Latino Leadership Helps Children Unleash Their Full Potential
By: R.D. Leyva | October 4, 2018
Naila Bolus, CEO of Jumpstart, shares about the value of Latino leaders at the board level and why we must bridge across cultures to remove barriers for Latino educational success.
Sabrina’s Story: Latina Student Reflects on the Value of Shared Cultural Identity
By: R.D. Leyva | September 20, 2018
Sabrina is a Latina student from Lawrence, MA and in this video blog she shares reflections about the first time she had a Latina teacher.
#FirstGenerationChat Shares Resources for One Third of College Students
By: R.D. Leyva | August 24, 2018
One third of college students are the first in their family to attend college, and these students face unique challenges in navigating their experience.
Diversity in Action: Program Increases Latino Representation on Boston Education Boards
By: Amanda Fernandez and Carrie Irvin | July 12, 2018
Latinos for Education and Charter Board Partners are partnering around our shared belief that education nonprofit organizations must have diverse and inclusive boards to achieve their missions and effectively serve students and families of color.
Latino Leaders Convene for Education Summit
By: R.D. Leyva | May 31, 2018
For the past two years, we partnered with the NewSchools Venture Fund to ensure Latino leaders are gaining access to meaningful professional development and building a thriving community along the way.
Latino Leaders Share Reflections from ASU+GSV Summit
By: R.D. Leyva | April 26, 2018
Members of our Latinos for Education attended the ASU+GSV Summit last week and shared their reflections about the event.
Puerto Rico’s College Admissions System
By: Roberto Jiménez Rivera | March 20, 2018
Roberto Jiménez Rivera provides a historical perspective of the Puerto Rico college admissions process and explains why only 3% of Puerto Rican students attend universities on the mainland.
#LatinoTeachers Share Their Voice on Twitter
By: R.D. Leyva | February 20, 2018
The Education Trust released a new report highlighting perceptions of Latino teachers and held a twitter chat to share the report.
The Case for Latinx Entrepreneurship
By: Kimberly Diaz | January 19, 2018
Kimberly Diaz describes why the hustle of being a Latina leader is the same “entrepreneurial spirit” that led her to co-found an education nonprofit.
Showing Latino Students That Educators Are Community Helpers
By: Velia Soto | November 17, 2017
Velia Soto shares her experience as an educator and principal in Chicago and discusses the value in exposing Latino students to careers in education.
Taking A Seat At The Table
By: Maritere Mix | October 23, 2017
Maritere Mix discusses her experience as an inaugural fellow of the Latino Board Fellows cohort and how the program prepared her to navigate the nonprofit board room.
The Street Is Not the Only Place for a Raised Fist: Part V of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | October 13, 2017
Ricardo Jara is the Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Equity and Innovation at Madison Metropolitan School District. In our final installment for Hispanic Heritage Month, Ricardo discusses why we should make more room at the table for more Latinos and the value of advocating from the classroom to the boardroom.
A Dreamer Reminds Us Our Kids Will Write Our History: Part IV of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | October 6, 2017
Marissa Molina is a DACAmented educator and serves as the Manager of Community Engagement at Rocky Mountain Prep in Denver. In the fourth installment of the 5-part series for Hispanic Heritage Month, she discuss her identities as a Latina and Dreamer and reminds us that our kids will write our future.
Connecting Social Justice to Our Economic Future: Part III of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 29,2017
Hispanic Heritage Month continues with the third of five installments discussing what it means to be Latino in education today. Omar Yanar is the Founder and CEO of El Paso Leadership Academy and he shares why Latino educational success is an economic imperative.
Teaching About Our History Can Create a More Equitable Future: Part II of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 22, 2017
The second interview in our 5-part Hispanic Heritage Month series is with Antonio Plascencia, Jr who serves as the Director of Civic Engagement for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He discusses the value in teaching our students about their histories as Latinos so we can create a new future.
What It Means to be Latino and Working in Education Today: Part I
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 15, 2017
We are beginning Hispanic Heritage Month with a 5-part series about being Latino and working in education in 2017. This interview was conducted with Dr. Nancy Gutierrez, Chief Strategy Officer at the New York City Leadership Academy.
Our Collective Responsibility to a Generation of Latinos
By: Amanda Fernandez | July 25, 2017
Today, NewSchools Venture Fund released a report entitled “Unrealized Impact”, a groundbreaking study on diversity, equity and inclusion in the education sector.