Advocating for Diversity Across BPS
To address our growing population, the Greater Boston Latino Network (GBLN) has been advocating for programs and services that help Latino and English Language Learning students, including afterschool and summer programming. These programs help BPS Latino and ELL students stay invested in school, improve their school achievement, and prepare for college and careers.
In 2016, GBLN participated in the first-ever Televised Latino Town Hall with Superintendent Dr. Tommy Chang, providing feedback and asking questions about how our new Superintendent’s policies would impact Latinos. It was a highly successful event that brought Latino voices front-and-center, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with the Superintendent into 2017.
Also in 2016, Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed GBLN’s own Alexandra Oliver-Dávila to the Boston School Committee, marking the first time the Committee has had two Latinos in its ranks. While BPS faced difficult budget cuts and issues of racial divisions at Boston Latin School, having Latino voices like Alexandra’s at the decision table helped ensure that Latino students were well represented.
GBLN will continue to push BPS for more outreach to Latino parents in 2017. For example, GBLN will be working to increase awareness about the Boston Latin School entrance exam and free test preparation options so that the number of Latino students at BLS more closely mirrors numbers at other BPS schools.
Though currently only ten percent of teachers are Latino, GBLN is pressing for proactive measures and efforts to ensure that BPS teachers better reflect the diversity of their students. While recruitment and retention of diverse teachers has historically been a weak spot for BPS, GBLN has been working with our schools to launch numerous programs to improve community outreach and recruitment practices for new teachers.
Together, we can build a public school system that reflects Boston’s changing communities and which Latinos can be proud of in 2017 and beyond.