Opening the Doors to Hope

By Jaime Castellano

I’m excited to be a part of this year’s Building Expertise National Conference. Not only will I be marking the release of my latest book, Educating Hispanic/Latino Students: Opening Doors to Hope, Promise, and Possibility, I’ll be presenting a special session during the event entitled “Hope, Promise, and Possibility for Hispanic and Latino Students.”

As the session title suggests, my presentation will focus largely on the current challenges, and more importantly, opportunities that educators have in providing a system of education that is inclusive and promotes equity and access for Hispanic and Latino students at all grade levels.

Hispanic and Latino students now represent the largest ethnic group educated in the United States public school system. That means the ability to successfully educate Hispanic and Latino students, from pre-kindergarten to graduate school, is now of primary importance to the future of the United States.

It’s also why we must strive to deliver a system of education that doesn’t stop at inclusiveness and equity. We must also support student excellence using curriculum, instruction, and assessment strategies that are relevant and rigorous, but also differentiated, culturally responsive, and account for reaching and teaching the “whole child.”

That’s where “The Power of YOU!” comes in

As this year’s Building Expertise conference theme, “The Power of YOU!” illustrates the unique roles we each play in helping set a new tone of positivity and progress for Hispanic and Latino students.

And for those of you who are attending the conference or still deciding, I invite you to join me in this pursuit. Participants will be offered research and data, strategies and techniques, and a foundation for how to build and sustain capacity in how we educate this complex cross-section of students.

Because ultimately, by recognizing that Hispanic and Latino students are vital linguistic, economic, and social resources to our society, we can better understand why educational equity, access, and higher expectations should be the driving force to provide Hispanic and Latino students a quality education that prepares them for a successful and meaningful future.

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With more than 30 years as an educator advocating for the educational rights of Hispanic/Latino students, he has served as a teacher of the gifted, assistant principal and principal supervising gifted education programs, district-level gifted education coordinator and director, and state department of education specialist/expert in the field. He also serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Advanced Academics (JAA), Journal for the Education of the Gifted (JEG), and Gifted Child Today (GCT). Castellano is a nationally recognized speaker and professional development trainer and continues to consult with school districts across the country on the education of Hispanic/Latino students, and the inclusion of low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse students in gifted education programming.