The Camino Nuevo Way | September 2017

I invite you to read our first newsletter of the 2017-18 school year. We've had an action-packed start to the year and are excited to share with you highlights. I am encouraged to see that in these troubled and polarizing times our community, along with our partners and friends, have responded with extraordinary kindness and courage and that our commitment to our students and families is stronger than ever. As we honor the legacy of Latinos this month and work with greater urgency to fulfill our promise to give every child a quality education, I am inspired by what the civil rights leader Dolores Huerta once said: "Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world." Let's continue to change the world together.

Dr. Ana Ponce
Chief Executive Officer 
Ready to Learn
This past month we welcomed 3,600 new and returning scholars and two of our partners gave some of them an extra warm welcome. At one campus, 25 children selected by lottery received backpacks filled with supplies. The backpacks – a gift from Prudential – helped these students start the year ready to learn. “We walked into the school to simply deliver 25 backpacks but it turned into an experience that I think few of us will ever forget,” said one Prudential employee. “Everyone was so excited for the first day of school.”

This week, the national education nonprofit PowerMyLearning delivered 140 new laptops to our Eisner campus as part of an exciting new project to strengthen learning relationships among students, teachers, and families. The goal is to personalize instruction for students with diverse needs and to empower parents to support their children's learning at home through ongoing training at the school. Through this partnership, students will also take ownership of their learning.

We are grateful for partnerships with organizations like Prudential and PowerMyLearning. Their contributions and impact on our children and families extend far beyond the school day.
Ethnic Studies for All
Ron Espiritu says he never read a book by a person of color until he took a Black studies course in college. “Ethnic studies changed my life,” says Espiritu, who grew up in San Antonio and graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts. “That’s when I became an intellectual.” Espiritu, who now teaches ethnic studies at Camino Nuevo Miramar High School, and other Camino Nuevo educators are behind an ambitious new initiative to bring ethnic studies to all our students within five years. The group is currently recruiting more teachers and developing a curriculum that would integrate ethnic studies across all disciplines and grade levels. “I don’t know of any other district or charter network that is doing this right now,” says Espiritu, who in 2014 was invited to give a TEDx Talk on the subject at Amherst. Citing research, Espiritu says ethnic studies not only boosts attendance, grades, and graduation rates but also develops critical thinking skills and self-esteem that can help students navigate challenges and make sense of the world today. Watch the video here to learn more about why ethnic studies matters. 
Speaking Out for Dreamers
Camino Nuevo is proud to stand with immigrant families and to speak out against policies that divide and hurt communities. That is why our organization opposes the decision by President Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program allows 800,000 “Dreamers” to attend school, work, or serve in the military without fear of deportation. Congress now has five months to act on a permanent solution for Dreamers. In the meantime, we are offering staff, students, and alumni the support they need to ensure they can graduate from college and work. Damien Sutton, a special education teacher at Camino Nuevo Dalzell Lance High School, is one of many educators taking action. He and his colleagues joined thousands of people at a recent rally in support of Dreamers. “As an educator who works at Camino Nuevo, I feel it is important to give voice to those who have been historically marginalized,” he says. “All people deserve the respect and dignity enshrined in our Constitution.” If you too want to voice your support, we invite you to contact members of Congress here and tell them to act now.
Helping Families Recover from Disaster
Staff members and families across our schools found myriad ways to help the people affected by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico. At the Kayne Siart campus, Cristina Gonzalez, student and family services coordinator, helped organized a Zumba fundraiser for earthquake victims after hearing that some families had lost friends or relatives. The dance classes raised $800 -- all of which will go to those affected. The school also collected donations, filling up six large boxes and eight large bags with clothing, canned food, and cleaning supplies. Elsewhere, staff members and families directly donated to groups providing relief to those affected by recent disasters. Thank you families for banding together in support of our fellow Americans and neighbors to the south. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones or are still trying to reach relatives and friends. 
Lessons from the Great Outdoors
It is an annual tradition for our 10th-grade students to go on an overnight camping trip. This year, about 80 sophomores and chaperones from Dalzell Lance High School traveled to Big Bear for two full days of outdoor exploration and team building activities. They learned to trust each other as they tackled obstacle courses and night hikes. Earlier in the school year, another group of Camino Nuevo students completed a 10-day backpacking and rock climbing expedition in the high Sierras through our partnership with Outward Bound. The group learned to climb and rappel mountains and journaled about their experiences under the stars. "I learned how to be a better leader," one student wrote."I also became a better observer of nature." Both of these transformative experiences were possible because of philanthropic support. Thank you Camino Nuevo friends and champions, and congratulations to our young outdoors men and women. To more adventures ahead!
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Camino Nuevo Charter Academy | 3435 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 

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