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Spanish schools

‘it’s time to go back to learning’

Facing yet another potential protest against its mask requirement, the Weld RE-4 school district posted a message on its website Friday warning “further disruption to the educational process cannot be tolerated.”

The message in English and Spanish says the district is aware of a “possible organized effort by some students and parents to refuse to wear masks in some schools on Monday.”

The district does not identify locations where protests could take place. The post says that while the transition to the mask requirement was not easy, the rules are in place.

“It’s time to get back to learning,” the post said. “Further disruption of the educational process cannot be tolerated. “

On September 8, the Weld RE-4 School Board unanimously approved a district-wide mask requirement as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise. The requirement went into effect on September 10, and high school students that day participated in a walkout against the new policy.

The district’s post on Friday added that if a student refuses to wear a mask in a school building, the student will be sent to the office and suspended for the day. Suspended students are not allowed to participate in sports or activities on the day they are suspended, according to the district.

A student who refuses to go to the office will be “suspended for the day AND documented as usually disruptive” under district policy.

“Our goal is for students to learn in person, which is especially important in our middle and high schools where students weren’t in person every day last year,” the post said. “We want to do everything we can to avoid switching to distance learning. Please help us ensure this is not necessary by reinforcing the need to follow the mask requirement with your children. “

Students who engage in behavior “which causes material and substantial disruption three or more times in a school year: may be referred for expulsion as a habitually disruptive student,” according to school board policy. education.

The district encouraged families who find the masks unacceptable to seek other school options through the Colorado Department of Education website.

The message ended by saying again “it’s time to get back to learning”.


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NEET: Spain has second highest percentage of young people not working or studying in the EU | Society

Spain continues to be one of the European countries with the highest percentage of people aged 18-24 who have no job, education or training – a group known as NEETS or ninis in Spain, after the Spanish expression neither estudia nor trabaja. A total of 19.9% ​​of young people fell into this category in 2020, according to the report Education at a Glance 2021, presented Thursday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Only Italy, with 24.8%, recorded a higher proportion of young people not working or studying. Greece, with 19.3%, comes in third position.

According to experts, the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on education and the labor market may have contributed to Spain falling so far behind other European countries, such as Germany, Norway and Sweden, where the percentage of NEET is less than 10%.

“The pandemic has destroyed many jobs that young people can easily access without the need for training, especially in the service sector,” says Nacho Sequeira, Managing Director of Fundación Exit (Exit Foundation), which is dedicated to helping young people vulnerable to join the labor market. .

“The job market is very polarized. There are highly skilled people in sectors like technology, while those in more difficult situations are doomed to temporary work and constant loss of their jobs. This has intensified with the pandemic, ”he adds.

When it comes to education, young people in Spain have had the added difficulty of studying at a distance, as the pandemic has forced classes to take place online. This proved particularly difficult for those who had problems accessing the internet or who did not have digital devices.

For years, the percentage of young people in Spain who were neither working nor studying had declined, but that changed in 2020 – a trend seen in OECD countries. The rate fell from 23.2% in 2016, to 20.9% in 2017, 20.2% in 2018 and 19.7% in 2019, then rose to 19.9% ​​in 2020. At the same time, the average of OECD countries grew from 15.8% in 2016 to 14.1% in 2019, then also increased in 2020, to 14.6%.

The OECD report makes a distinction between young people who are unemployed but actively looking for work, and those who are inactive: neither in training nor in job search. In Spain, the latter represent 46% of all NEETs. Taking into account the entire age group of 18-24 years in Spain, they represent 9.2%, against an OECD average of 9.3% and a European Union average of 7.7%. . The countries with the lowest percentage of inactive NEETs are Sweden (5%), Germany (5.3%) and the Netherlands (5.5%).

In many OECD countries, the vast majority of young men are unemployed, while most women are inactive. The same is true in Spain: 50.1% of NEET women are inactive while 42.7% of NEET men are unemployed.

Felix Navarro, 21, is unemployed but doesn’t like being labeled as NEET. He only finished high school and his last job as a usher at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona lasted only six hours. “I don’t have the impression [a NEET] because I’m actively looking for work 24 hours a day, looking in different apps and even submitting applications to companies that I love, ”he says, adding that he thinks it’s unfair that young people who do not want to live with their parents or on unemployment benefits are classified in this category.

A study by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofund) found that 90% of young people who do not work or study because they are caring for children or the elderly are women, who for several years may find themselves unable to juggle care and work or study. This is the case of Kassandra, 27, who became a mother last year in the midst of the pandemic. She was trained as a first aid attendant, but never made it to an ambulance. Instead, she worked as a supermarket cashier, caregiver and in office positions, all “very volatile” jobs, she said. Without realizing it, she became a NEET: she was not actively looking for work, and did not have the energy to study. Last summer, she resumed her job search, but the positions offered involved shift work and weekends, and her priority was looking after her child. “Now I can’t take just anything and that makes it even more difficult to find a job,” she explains.

According to Gara Rojas, a researcher at the OECD, in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, the data suggested that young Spaniards were deciding not to continue their education in order to get a job that did not require a degree. “This message is no longer true, and we must look for other causes and especially get the message across on the importance for young people not to abandon their studies,” he explains.

Rojas believes that the high number of students retained a year may also play a role in the NEET trend. In 2019, Spain was the country with the highest percentage of repeaters in high school, 8.7%, followed by Belgium and Portugal, with around 7%. Rojas says research on the issue suggests that repeating a grade “carries risks in terms of equality and may even have a negative impact on students’ self-esteem.” “In the long term, students who repeat a year may perform worse and, therefore, the likelihood of them dropping out may increase. “

Schools closed for 45 days

In 2020, primary and secondary schools in Spain remained closed for 45 days due to the pandemic. While schools have been closed for fewer days in Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands, the OECD average is 78 for primary, 92 for the first half of secondary (the equivalent of ESO in Spain) and 101 for the second. half (education after 16 years comparable to British A-levels or the International Baccalaureate).

english version by Melissa Kitson.



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Santa Barbara County Office of Education Seeks Veterans and Inmates for Retroactive High School Diploma Program

Between the 1940s and 1970s, thousands of students left high school to serve in the United States armed forces. During World War II, more than 100,000 people were interned in relocation camps across the United States. Some of these ex-combatants and internees were unable to complete their secondary education or receive their diplomas because of their military service or internment. Veterans and previously interned citizens can earn retroactive high school diplomas through the Santa Barbara County Office of Education (SBCEO) as part of the Operation Recognition program.

Santa Barbara County Board of Education and SBCEO invite veterans and those who qualify to apply for their high school diploma and participate in the operation’s graduation ceremony Recognition April 7, 2022. Individuals can apply posthumously for deceased family members who meet the Criteria.

“We are honored to recognize the service and sacrifice of these people by awarding their degrees,” said Susan Salcido, Superintendent of Schools for Santa Barbara County. “In 2019, six distinguished veterans graduated from high school, and we look forward to celebrating the class of 2022.”

The eligibility criteria, as established by the California Education Code, are as follows:

o Those who served in World War II – December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946; the Korean War – June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955; or the Vietnam War – February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975; and have been honorably discharged from their military service.

o Individuals interned in a relocation camp from September 16, 1940 to December 31, 1946.

o All recipients must have been enrolled in a secondary school prior to enlistment or internment and were unable to graduate due to enlistment or internment.

Interested persons can apply until January 14, 2022. Parties requiring assistance with required military service documents can contact the Santa Barbara County Veterans Services Office at 805-681-4500 or 805- 346-7160.

Brochures and downloadable applications are available in English and Spanish on the SBCEO website at www.SBCEO.org or via the links below.

Leaflet and request (English)

Leaflet and request (Spanish)

Completed applications can be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Attn: Valerie Cantella, PO Box 6307, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-6307 .

For any questions, contact Valérie Cantella, Director of Communications, 805-964-4711, ext. 5282 or [email protected]


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Can Native Language Comics Save a Mother Tongue?

Tlaloc is a tumultuous divinity: provider and provider. God of rain, he occupies an important place in the belief system of the Ñäñho * people, who reside in the seasonally dry plateau region of central Mexico. In the skies above, Tlaloc lives in a paradise of lush vegetation and endless water in clay pots. If only he shared.

In in recent years, a comic strip, Ar Metlaloke, (The Hunter of Tlaloques), has reinvented the Tlaloc estate with a twist. The comic is woven into a traditional story of the Mexican state of Querétaro about spontaneity precipitation of the mountain Pinal del Zamorano. In the creative adaptation, Tlaloc’s Refuge includes the Tlaloques, goblin-like helpers who are prone to pranks. They break the containers in a playful way—rift!– and the rain falls unexpectedly on the arid landscape around Zamorano.

The book is the first of its kind written in Hñäñho, the language of the Ñäñho people, as well as in Spanish and English. This represents a larger and continuing effort to preserve the culture of the people, which is threatened by the decline of speakers and the erosion of cultural ties resulting from centuries of colonial policies.

This language, sometimes called Otomi, from the Spanish name of the community, is in jeopardy. Today, it is one of many regional dialects of a native language with fewer than 300,000 speakers, a figure that has been declining for decades.

THEimitated writing Hñäñho was a challenge for preservation. When linguist Ewald Hekking started researching 40 years ago, he recalls: “I had heard that there was a local language called Otomi, but I couldn’t find any books. “

Hekking, from the anthropology department of the Autonomous University of Querétaro, has been working to fill this gap ever since. The Dutch-born researcher helped translate the comic and more recently co-authored an anthology of oral traditions and Ñäñho beliefs.

The hopes that telling Ñäñho cultural stories in a contemporary format can help preserve them, and the language, for generations to come.

Hñäñho is one of the 68 ancestral languages ​​still spoken in Mexico, and the seventh largest by number of speakers. But many of these languages ​​are in danger.

Aabout 1 in 5 Mexican citizens identify as indigenous, or about 26 million people. However, since the 1930s, the percentage of native language speakers has increased from 16 percent to 6.2 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography. At the same time, long-developed knowledge, cultural practices and intricate details of the land have also been lost.

Mall factors have contributed to the steady decline in the number of speakers, including the long-standing policy of “Hispanization” or forcing people to use Spanish, which began in the late 18th century under Spanish colonial rule . The Mexican government later adopted this policy, which intensified after the mexican revolution ended in 1920 and the Minister of Public Education José Vasconcelos increased rural education but demanded that classes be taught in Spanish.

Linguist Ewald Hekking (second from right) attends a festival to support Ñäñho language, arts and culture. He holds a copy of his co-authored book r nthanduximhai ya ñâñho, which contains oral traditions and Ñäñho beliefs. Eduardo Ruiz

In the 1980s, when Hekking began studying Hñäñho, schools were supposed to offer bilingual education. “[But] there were no textbooks in Otomi, and the language was only used to explain the Spanish curriculum, ”explains anthropologist and independent consultant Lydia van de Fliert, who also worked in the Ñäñho communities of Querétaro and documented many of their oral traditions.

AThe emphasis is still on Spanish in schools to this day, despite legislation such as the General Law on Language Rights of Indigenous Peoples passed in 2003, which legally allows citizens to speak their mother tongue in all spheres. of public and private life.

Hekking, a sociolinguist by training, first met Hñäñho in 1981. He remembers that he had never heard such melodious rhythms and nasal tones before, although he already spoke six languages ​​plus some Náhuatl and Quechua, two indigenous languages ​​better known from Latin. America. Still, he didn’t understand a word from Hñäñho during that inaugural audience – and he certainly didn’t know then that he would devote his life to preserving him.

The linguist is coming to a turning point. As paved roads were just beginning to reach rural communities in the states of Querétaro and neighboring Guanajuato, industrialization was changing the Mexican economy, and residents of Ñäñho moved to cities in search of work. Many of these migrants have been discriminated against and, to avoid similar prejudices to their children, they have stopped speaking Hñäñho at home.

Hekking began to see a bifurcation between the generations. The parents were bilingual or spoke only Hñäñho, and the children spoke only Spanish. Oral transmission from adults to children had helped the language survive despite limited writing, but this change troubled him.

HÑäñho is tonal, like many languages, including Chinese, Punjabi, Zulu, and Navajo, and has a high, low, and ascending tone. But without written conventions for these sounds, there was no way to document the language.

Hekking realized that his first task was to describe the spelling, or the rules of writing, as well as its grammar and phonemes, or the sounds of language. While standards had been developed for Hñäñho by the National Institute of Indigenous Languages, they were based on a variant of Hñäñho from another region.

An aerial view shows the heads of five schoolchildren wearing white shirts and red handkerchiefs around their necks, straw hats and gray ponchos, reading comics.

Children at a school in Guanajuato read the Ar Matlaloke comic. Maria Gámez

TTo begin with, Hekking needed to examine the peculiarities of the language in Querétaro. He started working with Severiano Andrés de Jesús, who was born and raised in the predominantly Ñäñho community of Santiago Mexquititlán and was a bilingual teacher in the Indigenous Education Department of Querétaro.

In their work, Hekking identified words and phonemes exclusive to Querétaro that would otherwise have been lost. The couple then co-wrote the Gramática de Hñäñho in 1984 and the first bilingual dictionary of the variant spoken in Santiago Mexquititlán in 1989, among other works.

Tthey have also developed resources to help in classrooms. In 2014, they unveiled trilingual courses in Hñäñho, Spanish and English, which they hope to implement in school systems. During the pandemic, Hekking also worked on a virtual course to teach hñäñho.

THElanguage learners from Ñäñho communities in Mexico, Texas and California expressed enthusiasm for the classes and for new books such as the Tlaloques comic.

graphic novels and picture books can be particularly powerful in connecting young speakers to their heritage. For example, the Tlaloques comic book has become a regular reading in the lessons of Professor León Rodríguez García, based in Guanajuato. “When we read the stories in the classrooms,” Hekking notes, “all the students were very interested. They said: ‘We want to read the language of our ancestors!’ “

These books are a bridge that connects different generations ”, says Jorge Rodríguez, Managing Director of Eólica Grupo Editorial, the publisher of comics and anthology based in Querétaro, Ár nthanduximhai ya ñâñho: Honja da thandi, da ts’a ne da ‘bede ar ximhai (Otomi Worldview: A Way of Seeing, Feeling, and Describing the World), co-written by Hekking.

VSomics and other creative projects are increasingly popular ways of imparting cultural knowledge, says Jen Shannon, cultural anthropologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-host of the SAPIENS podcast. One of the reasons for their power, Shannon notes, is that “when you talk about where a prospect is coming from, unlike text, you can’t ignore who is speaking… they are represented on the page.”

An open book displays black and yellow handwriting on one page and a drawing of a child wearing a crown and cape and holding a net on the other.

The Ar Metlaloke the comic book places the language of the Ñäñho people (middle) side by side with Spanish (top) and English (bottom). Maria Gámez

For indigenous people who haven’t had a more public platform to tell their own stories, comics can be an effective medium. Shannon co-produced the NAGPRA Comics series, a collaboration with indigenous communities in the United States to relate their repatriation experiences.

TThe visual possibilities of this form also enrich the comic book. Ar Metlaloke, for example, uses a style resembling the distinctive engraving of the Taller de Gráfica Populaire, a collective of Mexican artists who produced progressive political publications during the 20th century. By blending Mexican styles with indigenous cultures spanning millennia, Ar Metlaloke celebrates the modern mixed identity of the Mexican people, says Rodríguez, who has two more comics in the works based on traditional stories from the state of Querétaro.

ENow, as many Ñäñho families have stopped speaking Hñäñho to assimilate into predominantly Spanish-speaking communities, and others migrate to the United States, where they are learning English, these books offer a tangible way to learn English. take their language with them and stay connected to their roots. Much like the coveted celestial waters of Tlaloc, the oral traditions of äñho are beyond the reach of those who no longer speak Hñäñho. But books, like the raindrops released by playful Tlaloques, could help spark a new interest in people’s stories and language.

* Several indigenous communities in Mexico refer to themselves collectively as the Ñäñhu peoples (often referred to as Otomies by non-natives). However, the name and language variant of each community differs depending on the region. In this piece, the designations Ñäñho people and Hñäñho language are used, which are presentations specific to the Mexican state of Querétaro.


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# 1 SCSD Reports 66 New COVID-19 Cases This Week

ROCK SPRINGS – Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No.1 reports 66 new positive COVID-19 cases in its fourth week of school. So far, the total known positive COVID-19 cases for District No.1 is 126 students and 18 staff.

According to a ParentSquare message sent this afternoon by SCSD Superintendent No. 1 Kelly McGovern, the district is reporting 66 new positive cases of COVID-19 during the fourth week of school from September 6 to 9.

The District strongly encourages parents, students and staff to take whatever precautions they deem necessary for personal protection, including staying home in case of illness, washing hands, wearing masks and getting vaccinated. With the increase in the number of COVID-19 in our region, parents are urged to keep their children at home if they are showing symptoms.

Commercial – The story continues below …

“We realize that not everything is COVID, but one or more of these symptoms may suggest an infectious disease and the student should not go to school whether or not the disease is COVID-19,” the message reads. .

Below is a great link for parents to decide whether to send their children to school. There is also a button to change it to Spanish.
Can I send my student to school? – Reference COVID-19

Below is the number of positive COVID cases reported for the week of September 6-9, 2021:

“The district continues to take precautionary measures to protect our students and staff from COVID and other illnesses that arise, and to keep schools open,” the message read. “Although there are no restrictions in place and masks are optional, School District # 1 continues to promote and model good hand washing, use improved ventilation systems, UV lighting -C, ionizers and negative air pressure systems that were installed last year. “


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7 true stories from the virtual school

I always knew my job was important. Because you are the first that the child sees in the morning when he leaves the house and the last in the evening before coming home. But when Covid-19 hit, I felt really bad because it was the first time in 30 years that I wasn’t able to provide services to children in one way or another.

Then my boss, the head of the transport department, asked me to participate in a new program launched by the district, a bus tour. We went out in the neighborhoods, distributed school supplies, books, boxes of vegetables. We traded laptops. We gave information about a lot of things going on that a lot of parents didn’t even know existed in Baltimore City.

One day, the tour operator said to me, “One thing I love about you is that you don’t sit down to drive a bus. We loaded the bus and unpacked it ourselves.

When I was on this tour, I wanted to leave a good impression. I like to see happy children. And if giving them a notebook makes them happy, I wanted to give it to them. The parents were happy too. We heard a lady say, “I’m ready to go home and make some soup with this box of vegetables.

And I got involved in more district outreach activities. We made a re-engagement for dropouts, who were invited to come back to school. They put four or five kids in grade 12. It was nice to be a part of it.

I saw the impact all the time, especially the smiles on the faces of the little people. You sometimes ask them, “What do you plan to do after you graduate from high school?” And some kids will tell you exactly what they intend to be, and some kids just say, “I haven’t thought about it until then. But the next time the bus tour arrives, I can tell you.

And they’re used to seeing us now. I can be in a market, and a child will come up to me and say, “I know you from somewhere. I tell them, “I am the bus driver for the bus tour. And they say, “Oh, yeah! “


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School mourns death of COVID-linked teacher in Cannelton, Ind.


“She taught her students to live well and to be good humans”

Dayna Hinton has been diligent in protecting herself from COVID-19, whether at work, in the community or at home, her husband, Dave Hinton, said.

“We wore masks everywhere we went. She was constantly using hand sanitizer and wiping things off,” he said. “Dayna was very worried about this.”

And yet, the dedicated English teacher got it anyway.

On August 11, Dayna Hinton’s death from a COVID-19-related illness spread to Cannelton Junior-Senior High School in the small town of Cannelton on the Ohio River, midway between Evansville and Louisville, in southern Indiana.

The 35-year-old man from nearby Tell has taught language arts from grades 9 to 12. She died at St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville less than two weeks after starting what would have been her 10th year of teaching at Cannelton.

With an enrollment of around 150 students in Grades 6 to 12 and only 10 full-time staff, few did not know her, principal Joseph Sibbitt said.

“We are such a small school that it was basically the English department,” he said.

“A difficult situation here”: With weak vaccination, COVID rises in tiny Union County

Jaci Herzog taught language arts to junior high school students in Cannelton. “She is absolutely irreplaceable. The impact she has left on our students, staff and community is simply amazing,” she said.

Dave Hinton said he still doesn’t know how they got the virus.

“She was very knowledgeable (about the security of COVID-19),” he said. “We did everything we could, but in the end it was not enough.”

While he was initially hesitant to get the shot, said Dave Hinton, the couple had planned to do so over the summer. Dayna felt it was important for the start of the new school year.

“She didn’t want to miss anything with her students,” he said.

On Mother’s Day, May 9, the couple woke up feeling congested and sick.

“We drove to Owensboro, Ky. Because it was the closest place we could get tested,” said Dave Hinton. “They came out and said she was positive and I needed to be tested as well.”

Regress: Vanderburgh County Reports Third COVID-19 Death in Two Days, Stays at ‘Orange’

Both positive for COVID-19, the couple quarantined themselves at their home to wait for the symptoms to end. But while her symptoms subsided after a few days, Dayna’s got worse.

After a week of progressing through a range of symptoms from headaches and stomach aches to fever, and with Dayna’s blood oxygen level declining, Dayna was admitted to Perry County Memorial Hospital. in Tell City.

On May 14, she was in St. Vincent in Evansville, diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia and on a ventilator, said Dave Hinton. As she began to improve under medical care, she was transferred to Select Specialty Hospital in downtown Evansville.

“For about 10 days, she was completely off the ventilator,” he said. “When I left her on Friday August 6, I told her I couldn’t see her on Monday because I had to have an operation.”

It was a surprise, said Dave Hinton, when he called her on Tuesday after her operation and learned that she had taken a bad turn and was being transferred to St. Vincent. It was septic shock.

A graduate of Tell City High School, Hinton received a bachelor’s degree in education from Evansville University in 2008, she said. obituary. Hinton’s survivors include her husband and two children.

Vanderburgh County COVID Vaccine Tracking: 48% of people fully vaccinated

Dave Hinton recalled that it was never too late at night for her to be able to answer student phone calls. She often spent her own money and time helping students and buying school supplies, often enticing him to help.

“We built a full library in her classroom because the school didn’t have one. If she wanted to teach a novel, we would buy 30 copies,” he said.

Spanish teacher and educational advisor Brehan Leinengang had lunch with Dayna Hinton every day.

“In the three short years that I knew Dayna, I saw her help buy girls’ dresses for the ball and the ride home. I saw her helping a student find car insurance. I saw her giving a student money for gas when the student was not going to be able to get to work for lack of gas or a paycheck, ”he said. she said. “These are just a few examples of her kind heart and generosity.”

Dayna Hinton did not complete the 2020-21 school year after contracting COVID, Sibbett said.

“When we learned of his passing (in August) it was a very traumatic day and week for staff and students,” he said. “The hope was that she could come back after the first semester.”

Hinton’s room at school is renamed “Dayna Hinton Language Arts Classroom” with a special plaque, Sibbit said. The Cannelton students are also in the process of deciding that a permanent memory of her will be placed at the school.

Perry County, like most of southwest Indiana, has gone from red to orange in the Indiana State Department of Health. Covid-19 map Wednesday, with a rate of positive cases of 443 per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

Students in schools in the city of Cannelton have been in virtual education since August 24 and will remain so until at least September 7, according to the school district.

Mark Wilson covers education and the environment at Courier & Press.


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The student’s path to medical school includes a farm laborer and construction jobs

Alex Villegas worked as a physiotherapy aide for over a year after graduating from UC Davis, unsure of how to make the most of his hard-earned biology degree. Then one day his boss summoned him to the office.

New medical student Alex Villegas at the 2021 induction ceremony thanks his parents for their support

The director was concerned that Villegas, who is very empathetic to patients and savvy about musculoskeletal health, might not be living up to his career potential. He wanted to know what Villegas saw himself doing in five years.

Villegas, unprepared for the question, blurted out that he was considering returning to school for physical therapy. But manager Edgar Villanueva had another vision: “I looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘you shouldn’t be a physiotherapist, you should be a doctor.’ ”

That conversation in 2017 propelled Villegas on a new journey – one that took him to UC Davis medical school where he began his classes this month as a first-year medical student.

His path to Sacramento has been unconventional.

Along the way, Villegas worked in construction, worked as a farm laborer, and was the first of his extended family of Mexican immigrants to complete high school. Lately, he has devoted some quality time to being with his father who is in palliative care for cancer. The experience reinforced her decision to study medicine.

“My path to medical school has been anything but a straight line,” Villegas said. “At first I couldn’t believe I had been accepted, and I became very emotional, because of all the sacrifices my parents had made to get me to this point.”

Work ethic instilled from an early age

Villegas, 28, was born in Modesto, the oldest of three boys. The family moved to Turlock, where the children spent the weekends using power tools with their father, a farm worker and a truck driver who supplemented his income by repairing houses.

“Work was my father’s way of showing me the value of what he calls’ganas, ‘or the desire to succeed,’ Villegas said.

Whenever Villegas envisioned his future, college was never in the picture, not even in a thought bubble. Her parents had interrupted their own seventh grade schooling in the rural Mexican state of Michoacán, and no one in the family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, had ever attended college.

Alex Villegas dons white medical school coat with help from parents in special induction ceremony

Villegas was a bookworm. His family called him el student, the studious.

TO Turlock High School, the teachers guided Villegas towards Greedy, short for Advancement Via Individual Determination, an academic organization that provides academic monitoring resources to students from diverse and under-represented demographic groups.

After his junior year, Villegas sought summer work at McDonalds and Taco Bell to earn money to pay for college admissions, but was turned down. Instead, he took a job as a farm laborer picking blueberries, onions and peppers.

His parents tried to dissuade him from working in agriculture. Deep down, however, he had a personal reason for wanting to work in the fields: “Part of me wanted to see the work my parents were doing, to know what they had been through.

On his first day in a Stanislaus County field, Villegas earned just $ 26 for a seven-hour shift. Labor paid for by the amount of crops he gathered instead of minimum wage.

He sympathized with his colleagues who suffered from medical problems related to pesticides, no health insurance, lack of transportation and low wages.

“At the time, I didn’t know I wanted to be a doctor,” Villegas said, “but I knew I had to do something for my community.”

Deciding to Study at UC Davis

In his final year, Villegas received a generous scholarship from California State University, Stanislaus. He chose UC Davis rather for its solid reputation in science education. In doing so, he became the first student in Turlock High’s AVID program to attend a University of California school.

“My path to medical school has been anything but a straight line. At first, I couldn’t believe that I had been accepted, and I became very emotional, because of all the sacrifices my parents had made to get me to this point.

– Alex Villegas

Getting around 100 miles in Davis was bittersweet. He would pursue higher studies, yet far from his father, his model. Villegas apologized to his father for no longer being able to help with the construction work. He recalled how his father put his arm around him and said everything would be fine and encouraged his son to study hard, despite the distance between them.

“What my father told me that was close to my heart is that in order to continue to grow as a person, you have to take risks and step out of your comfort zone,” Villegas said. “Like when my parents came from Mexico.”

Villegas taught his parents to text, then left for college.

At UC Davis he took science courses and worked in research for Chicana / o Studies, investigate the needs of farm workers. On weekends he volunteered in the Knights Landing One Health Center, a student-run clinic that provides free health care in rural Yolo County.

At one point he thought about a career in medicine, but the goal seemed unattainable.

Villegas graduated in 2016, debt free, thanks to federal and state grants, and returned home. He accepted the post of entry-level physiotherapist assistant at the hospital where he was born, the Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto.

He loved all aspects of patient care and didn’t really aspire to a higher career goal. But that heart-to-heart conversation with his manager motivated Villegas to realize the potential others saw in him.

“Ultimately my boss wanted everything I was happy with, whether it was physical therapy or medical school, but he always encouraged me to aim for the stars and not give up on my original aspirations.”

Villegas is seriously considering studying medicine.

Eventually, he enrolled in the one-year post-baccalaureate program at UC Davis. The well-regarded program, rich in science curricula, also offers study advice and testing strategies for college graduates who wish to apply to medical school.

Subsequently, Villegas returned to Modesto and his work as a therapy aide, while studying for the medical school admission test. He played a leading role in MiMentor, an organization that helps students from diverse backgrounds to become health professionals.

Tragedy prompts him to rethink medical school

Then tragedy struck the family: her father was diagnosed with liver cancer.


Alex Villegas with his father Joe Villegas, his model who is in palliative care with cancer

Villegas led his father from specialist to specialist while considering whether to go to medical school or wait until later. “I wanted to be with my family,” he said.

He discussed his dilemma with his parents. His father, as usual, encouraged Villegas to pursue his goals. And his supportive brothers have promised to look after their father. Villegas then decided to apply.

On December 15, 2020, Villegas received an unforgettable phone call from an unknown 916 number that flashed on his cell phone screen. It was Charlene Green, the director of admissions at UC Davis School of Medicine.

Villegas was one of almost 10,000 students who applied to the school. Suddenly he was one of only 132 to register.

“I just froze,” Villegas recalls of his conversation with Green. “I didn’t say anything for maybe 10 seconds, a good 15 seconds.” Villegas couldn’t believe he was accepted, but soon realized that it was a statement for his hard work. “I am worthy to be a medical student.”

Not only did he enter UC Davis Medical School and receive offers from other schools, Villegas was also accepted into a competitive academic stream. REACH (Reimagining Education to Advance Central California Health) tailors medical education for UC Davis students who wish to practice in Central Valley, one of the most underserved areas in the state.

“I look forward to Alex becoming a physician, returning to the Central Valley of California, and caring for a diverse and underserved patient population,” said Olivia campa, doctor in internal medicine and director of the post-baccalaureate program, where she was Villegas’ mentor. “I am so proud that Alex is on the right path to becoming an excellent physician and that he truly represents the values ​​of our institution.

Last spring, Villegas heard about the upcoming medical school induction ceremony, an important event in which first-year students receive their white coats and stethoscopes. Villegas imagined his mother and father in the audience.

But her father’s health was deteriorating. “It made me think if he could attend my white coat ceremony,” Villegas said. “This is something I really wanted to share with him.”

Villegas contacted Green and explained his situation to him. He asked if he could borrow a white lab coat to hold his own ceremony at home.

A special induction ceremony

Green enlisted other medical school and faculty staff and sent Villegas a box containing a white coat. The school also sent personalized video greetings from key faculty members, in English and Spanish, which allowed Villegas to hold his own ceremony with his father at the end of May. “It was a very emotional moment for me,” recalls Villegas, whose girlfriend filmed the ceremony.

It was perhaps even more special for his father.

“I am so proud because he accomplished all of this despite the hardships we went through,” said his father, Joe Villegas. “He gave a lot of ganas, a lot of ganasrepeated the father, to emphasize. “We were so happy to put the white coat on her.”

As it turned out, the school’s induction was an in-person event for students only; families have had to watch from home because of the pandemic.

That morning, July 31, Villegas took the stage, received his stethoscope from Associate Dean for Students Sharad Jain, and walked over to the microphone to address his family who were watching via Facebook.

With folded hands, he said in Spanish: “I want to thank my parents for all their support, my brothers and my partner, and all my mentors who have supported and guided me throughout this journey.” He then looked at the audience and proclaimed: “Come on Ags!” and raised his left fist in the air.

After the ceremony, Villegas traveled to Turlock to celebrate with his father and the rest of the family.


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Spanish schools

Education matters: the bilingual program is personal for this local teacher

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The office of the superintendent of schools in Fresno County is honoring one of its own for his work in teaching another language to young children. For this teacher, his commitment to the bilingual program is personal.

The highly rated bilingual program of the office at Lighthouse for Children. It is aimed at kindergarten students aged 3 to 5.

“What we are offering here is a 50-50 program,” explained teacher Eva Rosa Zinzun. “We provide some support in the development of the English language, but we also offer this component in the Spanish language. “

Some of these children come from homes where Spanish is spoken, others come to class without any Spanish, but they soak up the language like sponges.

Master teacher Maritza Ceballos is passionate about teaching a second language to young children, knowing herself what it is like to walk into a classroom without speaking the language. She thinks it takes a special kind of teacher to help students who are learning a language they don’t know. She also worked with the Fresno Language Lab to develop a Learner Toolkit that is used statewide for those who teach bilingual learners.

Research shows that students in bilingual programs do better in school – and this improves their problem-solving and listening skills. There is the added benefit of having students who grow up being bilingual.

For her innovative work, Ceballos was named Employee of the Month by the Fresno County School Superintendent.


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Spanish schools

Hispanic organization celebrates 35 years of investing in the North Philly community – Grid Magazine

Esperanza sees employment as crucial, but the organization also seems to subscribe to the adage that all work and no play is boring. Artístas y Músicos Latinoamericanos (AMLA) offers music lessons and workshops for children, adolescents and adults. The new Esperanza Arts Center brings the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra north of Philadelphia. Since the pandemic, the center has produced a live series and the Virtual Latino Arts Festival.

Education is the largest division of Esperanza, with over 2,000 students. According to US News and World Report, 85% of students are economically disadvantaged and 84% are eligible for the free school meals program. Ninety-six percent of students are Hispanic while 4% are black, according to this source. Most of the staff are bilingual Spanish-English so parents find the atmosphere welcoming.

“I’ve been here for 17 years,” says David Rossi, 53, senior vice president and CEO of Esperanza Academy Charter Schools. “I was intrigued by a denominational community that was creating a non-denominational school. I also believe that every child deserves a solid education, regardless of zip code, race or ethnicity. Our dropout rate is less than 1% and our high school has a 92-94% graduation rate.

These numbers reflect the innovations that make high school more attractive, according to Rossi. “Our high school is more like a college,” he says. “Students choose from one of 13 majors such as engineering, health sciences, and the arts.”

Pupils sometimes take the initiative to offer extracurricular activities.

“When I asked about building a chess team, the administration was responsive,” says Mateo Ruiz-Leal, 18, senior and Esperanza student since sixth grade.

“A group of us wanted to do AP Calculus,” says Ruiz-Leal of the Advanced Placement class which allows students who pass an exam to receive college credit.

Ruiz-Leal, who is majoring in engineering and received a scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, continues, “We went to see the principal on this, and soon the course was held. The same happened when we wanted football and a robotics team.

“The teachers here are very encouraging,” adds Ruiz-Leal. “I live near Tacony [Academy Charter] High school, but it’s different there. Before the pandemic, I used to take the bus at 6 a.m. so I could get here on time. “


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