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Chicano courses at BHS
I am writing to the BHS community to post not only my complaint but my continued dismay of disregard and undervalued actions of the principal at BHS for Chicano/Latino students. As the end of the year approaches and when students are leaving and parents are thankful the year is finally over, the decision to cut the Chicano/Latino history course and other courses is announced to students and the one Chicana Teacher at BHS! Latino students continually get not only no support from administration in hiring practices of more Chicano/Latino teachers, but no resources for classes and least of all respect.
I distinctly remember Ms. Saunders standing before the Latino families at St. Joseph the worker to promise her support for the Latino students and families at BHS. Well since day go, I have heard no support, seen and experienced a true disregard and disrespect for anything called community or support. Latinos continue to be the least educated minority group in the United States and still schools like BHS that have the potential to motivate, provide resource and support to Chicano/Latino students turns its back the students and closes the door to learning about what at the very least may inspire students to stay in school - learning about the value of their language and culture (finally!)
I hope the school board takes action and reinstates the Chicano/Latino classes at BHS and that Ms. Saunders opens herself up to the dialogue with Chicano/Latino parents and students to hear the where she stands with the community since she has come to Berkeley. I am very disappointed with the lack of support, understanding of Latino students at BHS and I know I am not alone in this.
At next week's school board meeting, Latinos will be present to voice our protest against Ms. Teresa Saunders decision. We will not be silent nor go away silently.
This is not a question of whether your Chicano/Latino or not? it has to do with the few peanuts handed to a community of students to feel part of the mass of students and community at BHS...now those few important life lines to learning are being taken away from students. Show your support for the students and for a large community of families in Berkeley that do not have access to the technology to be informed via the teens newsletter...write to the board and post your support for the Chicano/Latino classes at BHS. Gracias!
parent of a senior and 4th grader
I think its a great idea to go to the Board and bring this up. If the program is saved, be sure to bring it up often in the future, as an example of what IS working, or an example of what's not working and needs more attention before it gets to budget cutting time. You may also want to contact our Lieutenant Governor, Cruz Bustamante- he should be made aware of this, and he should press for more money for ethnic studies in all schools. I think it is really important for all kids and adults to learn to be more culturally sensitive and aware.
Ms. Saunders, please consider not only for these students themselves the importance and neccesity of continuing the Latino/a studies department, but also for the health of the school. I was horrified to see the Star test results in the spring showing how poorly this school, and school district, addresses the needs of ALL of its students. Thank you for your consideration to go back to making Berkeley High a model for the rest of the country to celebrate the diversity of this area by offering a variety of courses to address the needs of many different students, not leaving out anyone by only offering "mainstream"classes.
July 2000 In response to Lisa's comments in the July 16, 2000 Parents of Teens Newsletter: You will receive in your summer mailing the following list of courses which were not on the original MASTER SCHEDULE SHEET that was sent out with the orange 2000-2001 Schedule Form. History Elective Courses: Chicano/Latinos in Film Fall and Spring Period 3 Introduction to C/L History Fall Period 4 Contemporary C/L History (P) Spring Period 4 English Course: Chicano/Latino Literature (P) Fall and Spring Period 7 Other: C/L Academic Orientation Fall and Spring Period 8 The courses with a (P) next to them currently fulfill the requirements for the University system. All may be used to fulfill Berkeley High School graduation requirements. Students will be able to add these courses to their schedule via their counselor in August. Flora Russ -- Berkeley High School
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