The Camino Nuevo Way | April 2018
'I Didn't Know If I Would Succeed or Fail'
Six years ago, Kevin Ventura was a sixth grader at the Camino Nuevo Sandra Cisneros Campus, uncertain that college was in his future. He had just arrived from El Salvador, didn’t know English, and had never taken a science class. “I didn’t know if I would succeed or fail,” says Kevin, who is now a senior at Dalzell Lance High School. Today, on the eve of National College Decision Day, Kevin is poised to become the first in his family to go to college, after receiving acceptances from five colleges. He is not the only one. At both of our high schools, seniors are making final college decisions this week, and we could not be more proud of them and their achievements. Kevin is one of our many talented students who has excelled with support from our teachers and partners. By tenth grade, he had made the transition from English learner and was taking college level classes. Last year, he advanced to the final round of an engineering competition sponsored by NASA. “It has taken a lot of effort for me to get here,” says Kevin, who is considering a career in engineering and deciding between Connecticut College and Kalamazoo College. “I want to go to college so I can go further and be an example to others that you can succeed.”
Empowering Students Through Ethnic Studies
As California lawmakers consider a bill that would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement, a team of Camino Nuevo teachers is one step closer to bringing ethnic studies to all of our students. Last Friday, the teachers who are part of the Ethnic Studies for All Initiative presented model units and lesson plans and discussed how an ethnic studies curriculum could be implemented across grades and disciplines. Extending an invitation for more teachers to join the initiative, Camino Nuevo CEO Ana Ponce said, “This is a gift that will stay with all of our kids... It matters that we teach our students how beautiful and wonderful their backgrounds and their stories are so that they know who they are.” Through the initiative, teachers receive additional training and support to create and teach empowering ethnic studies lessons. Alma Osuna, who teaches kindergarten, said ethnic studies allowed her to connect learning to her students’ identities, which increased student investment. Haidi Quintanilla, who teaches fifth grade, said her lessons taught her students to think more critically about what they read. In her ethnic studies unit, “Rethinking Dr. Seuss,” students learned that “racism can hide anywhere, even in a kid’s book,” after analyzing the author's popular works and finding harmful stereotypes about black and Asian people in them. Visit our website to learn more about the Ethnic Studies for All Initiative and how you can get involved.
A Kindness March for Dreamers
Hundreds of students recently spread the message that kindness matters as they marched throughout the Sandra Cisneros Campus holding signs and chanting, “What do we want?” “Kindness!” “When do we want it?” “Now!” This is the second year that Cisneros students organize and lead a march to promote kindness. This year's march was dedicated to Dreamers, immigrant youth who could loose their protections and face deportation if a federal judge decides to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The march hits close to home for some students who have experienced trauma from family members who have been detained or deported. During the march, students carried posters and made speeches offering messages of hope and compassion. They later went into classrooms to discuss how showing kindness for each other can lead to positive change in their lives and communities.
The Making of an Orchestra
About 150 Camino Nuevo Kayne Siart second and third graders recently celebrated a pivotal moment in their journey toward becoming musicians in an orchestra. After a year learning the fundamentals of playing in an orchestra with paper violins, they traded those in for real instruments during a graduation ceremony. "Our musicians are now receiving music classes three days a week and are engaged in a new way of learning," said music teacher Cynthia Romo as a crowd of parents and students cheered on the young musicians who had earned their real instruments. We're grateful to the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel's program, Youth Orchestra LA, for mentoring our scholars and providing the violins. Stay tuned for more updates on our emerging youth orchestra program.
'I Do This Work for Women Like My Mother'
Camino Nuevo CEO Ana Ponce talks about the lessons she has learned as an education leader in an interview with the Line, a new publication edited by former Los Angeles Unified superintendent John Deasy. Dr. Ponce discusses how our schools are focused on getting all students to achieve and protecting the rights and hope of immigrant children. She also discusses what keeps her motivated in the struggle for educational equity and social justice. Read the full interview here .
'Can Spanish Avoid America's Language Graveyard?'
A reporter from The Economist magazine visits Camino Nuevo Charter Academy to learn how our bilingual program is keeping Spanish alive and giving our students an edge. "In reaction to the idea that Spanish may succumb to the same pattern that saw German, Polish and Italian largely disappear from America, today there is a growing movement to encourage bilingualism," the Economist writes. Read the whole story here .
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Camino Nuevo Charter Academy | 3435 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 

Phone: (213) 417-3400 | Fax: (323) 663-3132 |