What it looks like to be involved

Over the past week, I’ve witnessed what it looks like to be involved.

On April 26, I sat in amazement as a handful of parents presented their ideas and feedback to the Santa Barbara Unified Board of Trustees as members of the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC).

While more than 60 percent of our students are of Hispanic origins, it was a stark reminder that we don’t hear from this community nearly enough.

I left inspired to make sure we are hearing more often from these parents — and you can join them by emailing feu@sbunified.org.

The next night — April 27 — I quite literally had a front-row seat to witness why we do what we do as educators.

After a two-year, pandemic-driven hiatus, we were able to celebrate — in person! — our Class of 2022 AVID graduates at the Jo Ann Caines Theater.

It brought back so many memories of the teachers and programs that impacted my life when I arrived from Mexico, only able to speak two words of English (“house” and “Pepsi”).

It took a personal touch from those that didn’t know my story, but were committed to wanting to know it.

And as I saw this specific SBUSD class walk up to get a certificate that I know will find a frame and a prominent place on a shelf in each of these families’ homes, I couldn’t help but reflect on what it took for these students to overcome in order to get to this point.

Disastrous fires. Life-altering floods. A global pandemic. A social justice movement.

Yet, they persevered.

One of the student speakers talked about the hours she’d spend on Zoom with her AVID classmates, as they weren’t just kids they went to school with, they were family.

And that’s the type of environment that we must continue to foster. 

We must give our children the opportunity to fail, to succeed, to cry, to laugh — but surround them with love so that they continue to move forward.

And we can only do that when we are working with ALL of our community, where we don’t just focus on the same voices time and time again, but that we strive to reach a diverse set of parents and community members so that everyone is represented with a proverbial seat at the table.

Between DELAC and AVID, I see what it looks like when we have an engaged community, where our students are supported in a way that makes sense for them individually and where families can be a critical part of the outcome.

In my ideal world, every parent and family member would be involved as we re-shape this district into a truly inclusive community that embraces difference and promotes innovation.

I want us to be the exception, not the rule.

Let’s have others follow our lead.

Congrats to our AVID grads!

A shout out to our 169 AVID seniors that put in all the hard work:

Dos Pueblos (48): Franko Bernuy, Viviana Carlos Arellano, Fiona Cate, Alexandra Delfin, Samantha Diaz, Mackenzie Ensign, Aaron Figueroa, Daniela Flores Ortiz, Lesley Francisco Garcia, Osvaldo Garcia Hernandez, Yaritza Gonzalez, Rossy Hernandez Rodriguez, Joel Lopez de Lira, Daniel Mata-Sierra, David Mora, Sara Rangel, Jesus Rios Murillo, Angel Rubio, Lucero Terriquez Ibarra, Alvaro Vaca Mendoza, Yesenia Valdez, Galilea Valdez Santos, Jennifer Vazquez Gonzalez, Kelly Zamora Cardenas, Malek Zoghlami; Saul Alvarez, Ivette Angel Reyes, Gerardo Arroyo Barajas, Alexis Becerril Garcia, Tarin Brady, Moises Cardoso Piñon, Anthony Cuevas, Oscar Diaz Ramirez, Javier Figueroa, Arianna G. Mendez, Cesar Guerrero, Aneth Ibarra, Lillian Juan, Scott Lara Vaca, Serena Malone, Ashley Marcos Ocampo, Ruth Mejia Arevalo, Ashley Pacheco, Erika Kathleen Pavico, Carolina Pineda Ramirez, Daniela Ramirez Cuevas, Melanie Sanjuan Pacheco, Lizbeth Santiago Pacheco.

San Marcos (61): Brisa Alonso Perez, Daniel Altamirano, Yesenia Angel De La Luz, Mariana Cardenas Bernal, Yaneli Charco,  Esteban Delgado Bravo, Joshua Diaz, Gabriela Flores Orozco, Diana Godinez Ochoa, Alondra Hernandez Ascencio, Melissa Lara Soto, Sahir Martinez, Vanessa Martinez, Miguel Mondragon Mendoza, Ivan Morales Razo, Carolina Moreno Morales, Nhu Ngo, Anthony Pacheco, Alberto Reyes, Leslie Ricardo Vasquez, Cristian Santiago, Wendy Santillan, Jolver Santos Alvarez, Itzel Segundo Solis, Tania Valente Perez, Alejandro Vargas, Natasha Vargas, Dalila Vargas De la Luz, Brianna Zavala; Gabriel Almanza Rosas, Emily Amador, Rosa Benitez Acosta, Jennifer Botello Ramirez, Kimberly Cisneros, Lizbeth Coronado Bernabe, David Cuevas, Hieu Dang, Isaac Diaz, Steven Espinoza Lopez, Karen Estrada, Alan Frias Carrasco, Jazmin Gonzalez Ramirez, Sarahi Herrera, Tatiana Jasso Loeza, Bolivar Leon Charco, Brayam Lopez Almeida, Christopher Lozano Chavez, Magaliel Madrigal, Larry Martinez, Ashley Mendoza Salado, Jessica Olivares Arroyo, Jennifer Ordaz Carreno, Jessica Pacheco Diaz, David Patricio, Alejandra Perez, Gabriela Rios Garcia, Ayleen Rios-Miranda, Shelsea Romero, Brenda Sainz Badilla, Nathan Smith, Lisette Valente Parra

Santa Barbara (60): Josiah Alvarado, Emma Baltadano Banales, Larry Bermudez, Fidelina Castro Garduno, Alexa Cobian Simon, Stephany De La Luz, Jessica Diaz Hernandez, Araceli Flores Carmona, Citlaly Garcia Velazquez, Kaylahni Huerta Venegas, Lexis Lopez, Karina Lopez Gonzalez, Carolina Luisjuan, Jasmyn Magdaleno Ramos, Oscar Medina, Atzyry Mendoza, Karina Mendoza, Geraldinne Morquecho Cruz, Jesus Najera Soriano, Mildred Navarro, Andrew Perez, Tiara Reyes Delgado, Nayeli Rios Castro, Wendy Rodriguez Cortes, Luis Rossell, Gloria Sandoval Garcia, Lizette Santana, Katherin Silva Lopez, Julieta Tomas, Melanie Zarza Oliva; Saray Adan-Salvador, Gabriel Alvarado, Brian Barrera Martinez, Jennifer Bautista Rodriguez, David Chavez Garcia, Jennifer Cisneros, Saul Cruz Rodriguez, Dulce Duarte Mendoza, Carlos Elena Maldonado, Joel Flores, Emilyt Garcia Martinez, Angel Gomez, Perla Gonzalez, Jose Guevara Rios, Quetzally Hernandez Nieto, Jose Hidalgo Rodriguez, Daniel Ibarra, Kiana Ineyra-Plata, Jose Juan Gonzalez, Marielena Lopez, Abigail Marin Iniestra, Natalia Meza, Edgar Nunez De La Torre, Perla Rios Garcia, Larissa Rodriguez De La Rosa, Erick Rodriguez Gonzalez, Allan Samayoa Merida, Alessandra Urquilla Escobar, Yessenia Venegas, Jimena Ventura Santiago