Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

By Eric Steckel | September 13, 2023

Bridging Educational Gaps in Oakland
Latina student with tutor - Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

Your gifts help overcome the educational disparities that exist in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), where 42% of students are Latino.

Each year, from September 15th to October 15th, Americans come together to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month-long observance is dedicated to honoring the rich histories, diverse cultures, and invaluable contributions of American citizens with roots in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2023, it is essential not only to celebrate but also to address critical issues affecting the Latino community, especially in education.

“While our culture, traditions and religion may differ, we pride ourselves on working hard, educating ourselves as much as possible, striving for better lives for our children, loving our often large and blended families, and sharing as much of our history and customs as we can with anyone who chooses to really see us. We are not so different after all. People simply need to see us for who we are and not who they expect us to be.” — Natalie Morales
Educational Disparities

In Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), 42% of students are Latino. However, the recent iReady results for second-grade Latino students are concerning, with 68% of students one or more grade levels behind in reading and 78% one or more grade levels behind in math. These statistics underscore the need for targeted support and resources. Children who cannot read or comprehend basic math by the end of third grade are far more likely to struggle, become frustrated academically, and ultimately drop out before graduating high school.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

The challenges facing Latino students are not unique to Oakland but are part of a broader national issue. A report by Excelencia in Education reveals that while Latino enrollment in colleges has increased, the graduation rates have yet to see a corresponding improvement. Across the United States, only 28% of Latino adults aged 25 or older have earned an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 48% of their white counterparts. This education gap highlights the need for systemic changes to improve Latino student achievement.

Oakland’s Progress
Latino boy with book - Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 is an opportunity to celebrate and address critical issues affecting the Latino community, especially in education.

Despite these challenges, there is hope and progress in Oakland. The OUSD Latino Student Achievement initiative is actively working to create the necessary educational conditions, culture, and competencies to advance Latino student achievement. This initiative aims to provide Latino students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in college, careers, and life.

Children Rising is actively recruiting bilingual tutors to assist young learners, helping bridge the educational gaps in the Latino community. By providing one-on-one support and tailored learning experiences, these tutors are making a significant impact on students like Marcello, who excelled in math thanks to his bilingual tutor.

Marcello’s success story serves as an inspiration—his remarkable progress in math was made possible in part due to his bilingual tutor. By fostering individualized support, organizations like Children Rising are helping close the educational gap for Latino students in Oakland.

Marcello excelled in math due to his bilingual tutor.

You enabled Marcello to work with a bilingual math tutor this year. He has gained confidence in English, is much more social with the other children, and improved significantly in math.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Hispanic culture and recognize the invaluable contributions of Latinos to our nation. However, it is also an opportunity to reflect on and address the pressing issues facing the Latino community, particularly in education. By acknowledging the disparities, supporting initiatives like OUSD’s Latino Student Achievement program, and organizations like Children Rising, we can work together to ensure that every Latino student in Oakland and across the nation has an equal opportunity to succeed. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2023, let us commit to not only celebrating but also advocating for a brighter educational future for all.

Yes, I can empower a child to become a lifelong learner.

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if in-school tutoring is right for me!

I want to help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year!

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