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AISD Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Austin ISD joins the rest of the country to observe National Hispanic Heritage Month—a celebration of the diverse cultures and riveting histories of the people in this country with ancestral roots in Spain, Mexico, Central and South America. This month, celebrating our rich cultural Latin traditions is especially meaningful in AISD, where more than 60 percent of students identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

Schools from across the district have been finding their own ways to celebrate and educate students about the important role the Latino and Hispanic populations have had in shaping our nation’s history.

  • At Becker Elementary School, campus leaders have turned their attention to celebrating Latin arts and literature. Music by Mariachi Toros de Austin has been ringing through the hallways and parent volunteers have been reading Spanish literature to students.
  • Pease Elementary School hosted Hispanic Heritage Night where visitors were able to learn about different Latin American countries through food, dance, arts and crafts.
  • Third and fourth grade students from Reilly Elementary School entertained more than 150 parents during a Hispanic heritage musical assembly.
  • Ridgetop Elementary School will celebrate Hispanic Heritage on October 10th from 5:30pm-7:00pm with music, food, ballet folklorico, student presentations of famous Hispanics.

“It’s important to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month so we can honor that we are Americans but also not forget our origins and our roots,” said Alejandra Polcik, a native of Mexico and AISD’s multicultural outreach coordinator. “Celebrating also lets others understand the influence that our participation in this country has had on the American culture.”

Of course, AISD’s effort to honor and connect with families and staff members with Hispanic origins doesn’t begin and end with its observation of the national celebration. Throughout each school year, leaders in AISD make great strides to engage with our Hispanic and Latino constituents.

One recent example is Educa Austin, AISD’s weekly hour-long radio show aimed at engaging Spanish-dominant families. The show first aired during the summer of 2012 and for more than a year has empowered Spanish-speaking families, helping them to navigate Austin’s public education system.

"Increased parental engagement is a key part of the district's strategic plan," Meria Carstarphen, AISD Superintendent, said of the radio program. "This is an incredible opportunity to rethink how we communicate and engage all of our communities in an authentic and relevant way."

In addition to finding meaningful ways to inform and engage its Hispanic and Latino families, AISD also honors its outstanding Latino students during a celebration known as the Latino Academic Achievement Awards. The annual awards assembly acknowledges more than 100 Latino students in sixth through 12th grade who have served as exceptional leaders in their school and community.

While observing National Hispanic Heritage Month provides AISD with a unique opportunity to educate our families and staff members on the rich histories and traditions that have shaped our nation, we’re mindful not to forget the impact our Hispanic and Latino populations have on our day-to-day work and will continue to provide an inclusive educational experience for each of our populations—every day, every month, every year.

¡Feliz mes de la Hispanidad!

 

Learn About AISD's Hispanic Leaders
Paul Cruz
Chief Schools Officer
Pauline Dow
Chief Academic Officer
Maria Hohenstein
Associate Superintendent
Eric Mendez
Chief of Police
Edmund Oropez
Associate Superintendent
of High Schools
Alex Sánchez
Executive Director of Communications
and Community Engagement