Santa Clara Unified School District
Santa Clara, California
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Santa Clara Student
Having seen students come to school with every kind of risk factor imaginable—life circumstances so severe that it would cause some to lose their ability to breathe—and watching those students develop a sense of their own intellect, power, and self-worth has been the single greatest transformative moment in my involvement with this initiative.

Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work

For me, equity work has been a personal commitment for the past 20 years, born out of a bi-cultural marriage to a first-generation Latina from Mexico, who left relative wealth there to grow up in poverty in the United States. Living on the same block as Cesar Chavez and emanating from the same church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where Chavez learned his non-violent resistance and advocacy practices, my wife learned that the pathway to independence traveled through the educational system. EOS is a perfect example of a program that brings all Santa Clara Unified students access to the success that comes from the highest levels of learning opportunities.

The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work

Having seen students come to school with every kind of risk factor imaginable—life circumstances so severe that it would cause some to lose their ability to breathe—and watching those students develop a sense of their own intellect, power, and self-worth has been the single greatest transformative moment in my involvement with this initiative.

Who Benefits Most

It is hard to say who benefited most. Was it the students who developed a sense of their own ability to achieve and then took that ability with them to the next phase of their lives? Was it the teachers who mentored them and perhaps learned more than the students they taught, simply by seeing their students’ daily example of resilience? Was it the parents who learned that whatever sacrifices they made, they knew that their children would have better lives than they had—in large part due to their sacrifices? Was it the administrators who learned that supporting this work transforms whole school communities to greater appreciation of differences? Is it the communities who will soon have these talents contributing to a greater good in a time when that is sorely needed? I know that, whatever the constituency, we all have become more culturally aware and respectful of the great wealth that comes from valuing our differences.

Advice

Be ready to provide additional supports that address the risk factors with which our students come to school. It is necessary to help level the playing field.

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