Page 1

AUGUST 03, 2015

VOL.1 NUMBER 5

from the publisher of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine

Thatiana Diaz

on Family, Education and Making a Difference WWW.K12HISPANICOUTLOOK.COM


Photo courtesy of Thatiana Diaz PUBLISHER PRESIDENT AND CEO

JOSÉ LÓPEZ ISA TOMÁS CASTELLANOS NUÑEZ

VICE PRESIDENT

NICOLE LÓPEZ ISA

EDITOR IN CHIEF

MEREDITH COOPER

MANAGING EDITOR ART & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

MARY ANN COOPER RICARDO CASTILLO

ACCOUNTING & FINANCE DIRECTOR

JAVIER SALAZAR CARRIÓN

MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR

MARILYN ROCA ENRÍQUEZ

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

GARY COOPER

Editorial Policy The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.® is a national magazine. Dedicated to exploring issues related to Hispanics in K-12, The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.® is published for the members of the K-12 education community. Editorial decisions are based on the editors’ judgment of the quality of the writing, the timeliness of the article, and the potential interest to the readers of The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.®. From time to time, The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc® will publish articles dealing with controversial issues. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and/or those interviewed and might not reflect the official policy of the magazine. The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine® neither agrees nor disagrees with those ideas expressed, and no endorsement of those views should be inferred unless specifically identified as officially endorsed by The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine®. Letters to the Editor The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Inc. ® E-MAIL: admin@k12hispanicoutlook.com

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CONTENT VOLUME 01, ISSUE 05

COMING FULL CIRCLE

First Generation Honors Graduate Rises to Fame and Advocates for Equal Education Opportunities

04

04 MAKING THE GRADE

Veteran educator offers advice to teachers and parents

10 PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT CREATIVITY

12 12 14

18 20

on Display in STEM Competition

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY?

This month OutlooK-12 pays tribute to the winners and honorees of the Pura BelprĂŠ Award

HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund Celebrates Four Decades Of Helping College-Bound Students Succeed

NEWS AND TRENDS

16

22

The latest education-related stories from across America


COMING FULL CIRCLE

FIRST-GENERATION HONORS GRADUATE RISES TO FAME AND ADVOCATES FOR EQUAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES Compiled by Meredith Cooper

W W

hen 22-year-old Thatiana Diaz was named Miss New York USA 2015 in January, it wasn’t her first crowning moment. A child of Dominican immigrants raised in Queens, NY, Diaz graduated with honors from Pace University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies—becoming the first in her family to earn a college degree.   “My parents came from the Dominican Republic and weren’t able to attend college,” Diaz said in an online video. “So I was the first to attend and trust me when I say it wasn’t easy, and it was very overwhelming. I didn’t know anything until sophomore year.” Diaz explained that she didn’t have knowledge about important college-related information like course changes, advisers or even changing majors. “I thought I was stuck with my major for the rest of my life,” Diaz said. “But thankfully listening and learning from others especially my peers and advisers I was able to graduate from Pace University within four years and also graduate Magna Cum Laude.”

Photo courtesy of Thatiana Diaz 4 · August 03, 2015


In addition to graduating in the top of her class, Diaz was also a features editor for the Pace Press and interned for Latina Magazine, Vogue, Seventeen, Sony and Wilhelmina. A strong proponent for equal education opportunities for all children, Diaz has worked with The Dream Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping children in the Dominican Republic, and has helped to collect and deliver school supplies to students in need.

Beyond her work with the earlier grade levels, Diaz hopes to empower other young people who don’t have a family history of higher education or easy access to support services to help them reach their education goals. She is currently writing a series of selfhelp books for first-generation American university students and has selected the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) and CSO’s I’m First! campaign as her “charity of choice.” Since its inception in

2005, CSO has created tools and resources to help first-generation college students and their supporters including parents, counselors and mentors on the road to and through college. “I know how important it was to graduate for me and my family because my parents didn’t get that opportunity,” Diaz said in one of her online videos on the I’m First! website. “So they always encouraged the importance of education to me and my brother everyday.

I know how important it was to graduate for me and my family because my parents didn’t get that opportunity. So they always encouraged the importance of education to me and my brother everyday.” Thatiana Diaz

Photo courtesy of Thatiana Diaz www.k12hispanicoutlook.com K


Photo courtesy of I'm First!

But I’m not here to talk about myself. I’m here to tell you guys about the Center for Student Opportunity.” Based in Bethesda, Maryland, CSO is a national nonprofit that empowers first-generation college students on the path to and through college. In addition to operating ImFirst.org, CSO also publishes the "I’m First! Guide to College" and maintains partnerships with colleges and universities across the country to strengthen and build awareness of their campus efforts supporting first-generation college students. As a national spokesperson for CSO, Diaz has been encouraging other first-generation college students and graduates to share their personal stories on ImFirst.org as part of a growing video campaign aimed at inspiring future first-generation college students. Dressed 6 · August 03, 2015

in her Miss New York USA 2015 crown and a light blue t-shirt bearing the I’m First! logo, Diaz’s online videos touched both on her personal experiences going to college as well as the work of CSO and specifically spoke about the I’m First! Scholarship. “CSO’s I’m First! Scholarship provides four-year renewable scholarships for up to $8,000 for students who are first in their family to graduate and are committed to helping expand education opportunities for future first-gens,” Diaz said. “Also, the I’m First! Scholarship recipients get the unique opportunity to blog for the ImFirst.org website where they have the chance to talk about their journey through college and offer advice how to make it to and through college.” In addition to her video, Diaz has been actively helping raise

money for the I’m First! Scholarship, which is given each year to up to 10 graduating high school students, and also visits schools and youth-serving organizations where she speaks about the importance of education. “Thatiana epitomizes why it’s so special being a first-generation college student,” CSO’s Executive Director Matt Rubinoff said. “With perseverance, hard work and asking for help, she beat the odds to make it to and through college and is a shining example to others that they can too.” “It wasn’t easy,” Diaz said about college in one of her online videos aimed at other first-generation students. “But sooner or later I realized I wasn’t alone and neither are you. You too can graduate. You can wish it, and you can accomplish it. So wish it, dream it, do it and be first!” •


Thatiana Diaz

on Family, Education and Making a Difference

Thatiana Diaz spoke with OutlooK-12’s Meredith Cooper about her experiences as a first-generation college student and her passion for helping students achieve their education goals both in the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Q. You’ve talked about how your parents emphasized the importance of education to both you and your brother. What are some specific ways that they were involved in and encouraged your education? A. For my parents it was a little bit more difficult because they didn’t even get to go to high school, so education -- especially the system here in the United States -- was not something with which they were familiar. In the Dominican Republic education is not of such an importance. Dominicans are more about just working from a young age, and if education comes, that’s great, but it’s more of a privilege over there than it’s an obligation as it is here in the United States. When my parents moved here, they got a sense of the importance of education. They wanted it for themselves, and they knew how much they wanted to implement it into my brother’s life and my life. They have helped out as much as they can. They put both me and my brother in great schools. Even when they couldn’t afford it, they would put any penny that they could into giving us a good education. Q. It sounds like they were incredibly supportive growing up. A. Yes, both of my parents were. There was a time that they wanted to send me to a public school around the area, and I really wanted to go to a high school that was private and not too far from the house. They knew that it offered a better education, so they fought really hard to give that to me. To this day I’m very thankful for the chance to attend the school of

my choice because they could have always said ‘you know what, let’s look at a more affordable place,’ but my parents never did that. They always let us follow our dreams and go to the places we wanted to go. For instance, I wanted to go to Pace University, and my brother wanted to go to St. John’s. Even though in New York there’s the option to do community school and there are more affordable education choices, they knew that we wanted to go to those places, and they gave us those options. Q. Although you graduated Magna Cum Laude from Pace University, you have described college as not easy and even at times overwhelming. What challenges did you face in college and how did you deal with and overcome them? A. When I first went to college I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know anything about book rentals. I didn’t know about picking your courses. I was so used to high school where they pick your courses for you, but in college there are so many options that it was so overwhelming for me. My first year I actually bought all my books, which were hundreds to thousands of dollars. Just one book was more than $200, but I didn’t know that you could rent it for just $30. I didn’t even get the right size sheet for my dorm mattress. Luckily, I learned a lot from my dorm roommate who learned a lot from her father. She would call ahead and ask him questions, and I would always listen in on the conversation, and it would help me as well. She taught me about internships as well. From watching her, I was able to learn. To this day

I call her a mentor because I followed in her footsteps and was able to get through college that way. Q. Did advisors at the college also help you adjust? A. Yes, they were extremely helpful. At first, I didn’t even know about advisors. I didn’t learn about them until I started venting to a person in one of my classes that I no longer liked my major. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know you could change your major. I thought that when you had your major settled, that’s it, you’re stuck with that major for the rest of your life. That made me have a panic attack. I was taking courses for criminal justice, and I didn’t like it. Also, I did courses my freshmen year catered to that major because that’s what they put on my schedule. But then someone told me you should go see an advisor. I did my research. I found the number online and called. They told me exactly where to go. I went and they helped me make a change. They also helped me with picking out courses. I ended up becoming a communications major thanks to them and loving it. Q. Were these experiences part of why you eventually got involved with the Center for Student Opportunity [CSO] and the I’m First! campaign? A. Actually what got me involved with this was my brother. Once my brother started to attend St. John’s University, he was calling me every day asking me questions. Someone at the university helped him fill out the financial aid papers. Then he was asking about book rentals, and I ended up giving him my www.k12hispanicoutlook.com K


account and helping out with that. He was asking about what courses he should take and what clubs he should join. So basically he came to me as an advisor. And that made me realize that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have a sibling to call, and it hit me that I wanted to work with an organization to give students the answers to questions that can help them. I also wanted to be involved in an organization that encouraged and pushed students to succeed. So I did my research, and I found I’m First!, which was pretty perfect because it empowers students to attend college, and I wanted to let people know that people like me who people see as perfect and all put together had struggles and had to get through college and using resources online. I want them to know that they too can use those resources and can get through college even in four years like me. Q. One option on the I’m First! website is students can actually put up their own online videos. Can you talk a little more about that? A. What’s great about the I’m First! organization is that you’re able to go on YouTube and share your experience and your story as a first-generation college student to empower others to get through it. It’s a great way to get to the young first-generation culture. Michelle Obama is actually involved. She did her own video and then a lot of other people like presidents of schools started doing it. So it’s awesome to see that everyone is getting involved and sharing their stories. When I found Michelle Obama’s story, it really hit me because she’s someone that millions of people look up to, and she’s someone with so much power, and she’s a role model for so many that I feel that to see that she went through the same thing that I went through was special to me. That’s why I did a video as well.

8 · August 03, 2015

Q. Now also there’s the I’m First! scholarship. Tell us a little more about that. A. First-generation college students have the opportunity to go online and apply to win money we are raising right now. It’s a great thing because a lot of first-generation college students (even myself ) don’t know about scholarships. This is a great way for them to step forward and look for scholarships. Q. How can people get involved not only with the scholarship and I’m First! in general but also with the CSO? A. There’s so many ways. On the site they can use social media. They can retweet. They can donate on Twitter chat. They can ask questions. They can get helpful tips. The other day I gave my five tips for first-generation colleges students or four-year college students to make the most of their summer. So there are so many ways to get involved whether it’s fundraising money for the scholarships or making YouTube videos themselves or using social media to empower. We use social media everyday so much for just our social lives that we can use it to make a difference in other people’s lives. Q. Besides the CSO you’ve also been involved with The Dream Project where you worked with children in the Dominican Republic. Tell us a little about some of the children that you’ve worked with and some of the impact that the Dream Project has had on their lives. A. The Dream Project is brings education to the Dominican Republic. As I said before the Dominican Republic doesn’t put a priority on education. So The Dream Project builds schools over there. They brought programs to schools to reach more students in areas around the Dominican Republic. I actually believe that they have built

schools in five areas, which is an utterly amazing feat. I got to visit one after I was able to collect school supplies, books, pencils, any donations that people might have. I spent time with these children. I went to their school. I was in their classes. And I surprised them with all these school supplies. They were very excited because it was stuff they didn’t have. Most of them didn’t even have a pencil to take notes. In fact, it was the first time that they had seen a pencil. That touched my heart because we don’t see those things here, and then for me to touch their lives and show them the importance of education, to keep going and what they could do with education was important to me. I told them about my parents as well. They are from the Dominican Republic, and my mom wants to go back to college actually this year. It was amazing to be able to share my story and empower little kids who don’t have any sort of idea what education in the United States is like. Q. Is that in general the advice that you would give to children at all points in their education—the same advice you’ve given them to always not let anything stop you and keep moving forward and keep excelling? A. I’ve learned that first-generation college students are the highest number of dropouts, and I’ve seen even my friends drop out because they think it’s too hard. It’s not easy especially for Latinos and all first-generation college students. The message is move forward, keep pushing and at the end it’s all worth it. For me to know that I have a college education and that I’m able to give my parents something that they wanted for me and something I wanted myself means the world to me. •

Thatiana Diaz


GUIDING YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR

THE CENTER FOR STUDENT OPPORTUNITY’S TOP 10 COLLEGE TOPICS CHECKLIST IN ADDITION TO OPERATING IMFIRST.ORG, THE CENTER FOR STUDENT OPPORTUNITY (CSO) PUBLISHES THE “I’M FIRST! GUIDE TO COLLEGE,” WHICH OFFERS ADVICE FOR THE FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT AND THE SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES LIKE PARENTS, TEACHERS AND COUNSELORS. AVAILABLE IN BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH, THE 2015 EDITION OF THIS GUIDEBOOK INCLUDES AN ARTICLE ENTITLED “HOW TO USE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR” BY THE 2007 PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION, MARY LEE HOGANSON. A HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR HERSELF WITH MORE THAN 35 YEARS EXPERIENCE, HOGANSON INCLUDES IN HER ARTICLE THE FOLLOWING TOP 10 LIST OF ITEMS FOR STUDENTS TO COVER WITH THEIR OWN COUNSELORS WHEN PLANNING FOR COLLEGE: 1. Plan classes that will prepare you for college. 2. Review your academic record and suggest areas that need improvement. 3. Identify the questions you should be asking, like: Do I want to stay near home? Does the college have my major? How important is size? 4. Get information about specific colleges and universities. 5. Identify opportunities like college fairs, weekend or summer programs on college campuses (often free for first-generation or low-income students), internships or community college classes open to high school students. 6. Register for college admission tests and get fee waivers if your family can’t afford to pay for tests. 7. Write a letter of recommendation to colleges or universities. 8. Complete and submit college applications carefully and on time and ask colleges to waive application fees. 9. Figure out how to pay for college. 10. Compare offers of admission and financial aid from all of your colleges.

www.k12hispanicoutlook.com K


MAKING THE GRADE IT'S USEFUL AT TIMES TO HAVE A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO “MAKE THE GRADE.” WITH THIS IN MIND WE HERE AT OUTLOOK-12 HAVE CREATED A SPECIAL COLUMN WHERE YOU, OUR READERS, CAN WRITE TO US WITH YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL QUESTIONS AND GET PERSPECTIVE AND INSIGHTS FROM OUR RESIDENT AWARD-WINNING EDUCATION VETERAN AND CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST GARY COOPER. AN EDUCATOR FOR MORE THAN 45 YEARS, GARY HAS TAUGHT STUDENTS FROM NURSERY SCHOOL TO COLLEGE AND IS ALSO A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR.

Q: I am a newly appointed middle school vice principal. Can you give me any advice as I get ready for the new school year?

A: First, let me say congratulations on your new appointment. The single most important skill of any administrator is his or her ability to listen. Too often administrators want to voice their opinion rather than listen to parents, students or members of their faculty. Remember, you can be friendly but avoid being a “friend” to teachers or students. At times you must be the voice of authority. To start try being proactive and let everyone know what is expected by you. Pay attention to the learning process instead of spending an overt amount of energy on curriculum. Good luck in the upcoming school year and let me know how things are going.

Q: My daughter will be enter-

ing high school in September. The school will not place her in a college preparatory program due to her poor grades in middle school. I want my child to go to college, but I fear the general program will hinder her future chances to enter college. What should I do?

A: Your daughter’s school may

have helped your daughter have a pleasant high school experience and achieve a four-year college education or more. Upon graduating many four-year colleges and almost all community colleges will accept students coming from a general education program. After a student has a successful junior college experience (C average or better), many four-year schools will accept her as a transfer student. Let your daughter do well in school and mature as a successful, happy student.

Q: Our son’s school wants him

placed on medication. His pediatrician has expressed strong concerns about him and also wants to try a medication. We are very reluctant to medicate our seven-year-old. What should we do?

A: Although I believe as a society we may be over medicating our children, I would suggest that you follow the advice of your son’s doctor. My rule of thumb is to allow about three months to evaluate the impact of any drug. Allow the doctor to make adjustments in the dosage or alter the medication. Ask your son’s teacher to be in continual contact with you about your son’s educational experience. Please remember that placing a child on medication is not necessarily a life long commitment. Frequently, these medications will only be useful for a relatively short period of time in the overall experience of a student’s total school experience.

If you would like to write to Gary for advice, please email admin@k12hispanicoutlook.com 10 · August 03, 2015

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Pennsylvania Student Creativity in Display in STEM Competition

S

tudent teams from 19 Pennsylvania high schools converged on the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology earlier this year to participate in the first Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition. The teams demonstrated their creations such as a device that allows homeowners to monitor their energy consumption; a helmet that can identify head trauma incurred by its user and, using Bluetooth technology, send a distress message to an emergency contact and even an electric-powered robot that autonomously shovels snow and salts driveways and sidewalks. The teams presented their proposals to Gov. Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf, Acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, policymakers and educators. The winning team, Allegheny County’s South Fayette Township High School, presented a line of products called Life-Safer Walker Innovations aiming to improve upon

12 · August 03, 2015

the traditional geriatric walker. The line focuses on improving traditional walkers in four main areas: electrical, mechanical, structural and aesthetics. The top three teams didn’t just earn bragging rights; they will receive scholarships through a Tution Account Plan (TAP 529) account. Each member of the first place team received a $2,000 college scholarship second place team members each received a $1,000 college scholarship; and members of the third place team each re-

ceived a $500 college scholarship. South Fayette High School in Allegheny County took home the grand prize, which was presented by Rivera and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology president Dr. William Griscom. The teams, which were selected through regional contests in March, developed their projects throughout the school year. Students were challenged to select a real-world problem and to research, design and present a project or device aimed at improving

Governor Tom Wolf

Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera


the quality of life for residents of the commonwealth. Any public, private or charter school as well as career and technical education center were invited to compete. Teams were encouraged to engage their local communities, and each had a teacher advisor to assist them. Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf and Secretary Rivera attended the event and met with each team to see them operate their project.

“STEM is a vital component of our education system, and we need to support programs that allow students to apply what they’re learning to real life,” Governor Wolf said. “These students and their teachers should be proud of the projects they created, and I was thrilled to experience their hard work first-hand. Getting kids interested in STEM education early on will undoubtedly help lead them toward high-paying jobs down the road.”

Secretary Rivera added, “It was inspiring to interact with the student teams at this year’s STEM competition and see their original ideas come to life. By channeling their knowledge, skills and energy into developing innovative ways to build a better Pennsylvania, these students are not just growing intellectually but also creating solutions that could benefit generations to come.”

2015 Governor’s STEM Competition Student Projects’ Descriptions: 1

South Fayette Township High School, South Fayette Township School District, Allegheny County The South Fayette High School team developed a line of products called Life-Safer Walker Innovations aiming to improve upon the traditional geriatric walker. The line focuses on improving traditional walkers in four main areas: electrical, mechanical, structural and aesthetics.

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2

3

Valley View High School, Valley View School District, Lackawanna County The Valley View High School team created Every Second Counts, an emergency alert device for use by emergency first responders. The system aims to alleviate travel delays by working with a 911 operator and using three different signals: one for police, one for fire and one for ambulance services.

Parkland High School, Parkland School District, Lehigh County The Parkland High School team proposed the creation of an electric-powered robot that autonomously shovels snow and salts driveways and sidewalks. The design plans to make snow removal easier, safer and more manageable for all of Pennsylvania’s citizens.

14 · August 03, 2015


Wyomissing Area High School, Wyomissing Area School District, Berks County The Wyomissing Area High School team created the Smart Pod, a device that allows homeowners to monitor their energy consumption and alter their behaviors to increase energy efficiency and save money. Using sensors and computer algorithms, the Smart Pod monitors its environment, records data and makes recommendations to users. Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Blair County The Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School team’s project addressed acid mine drainage remediation. Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District, Butler County The Seneca Valley High School team created a device that protects vegetation from invasive insect infestation. Using amplified, high frequency sound waves, the device imitates natural predators to repel invasive insects. Users can adjust the broadcast frequency, emission area and sound intensity to imitate various natural predators and protect different kinds of vegetation.

allowing for the opening and closing of non-operational traffic lights wirelessly. Carlisle High School, Carlisle Area School District, Cumberland County The Carlisle High School team presented the Smart Helmet, a helmet that can identify head trauma incurred by its user and, using Bluetooth technology, send a distress message to an emergency contact. An alternate design for use by football programs incorporates flashing LED lights in the event of head trauma in place of Bluetooth connectivity. Garnet Valley High School, Garnet Valley School District, Delaware County The Garnet Valley High School team created a multi-unit system to precisely collect data on road conditions, improving upon the current system of driver-reported data and weather information collected several feet above roadway level. The information gathered by this system would not only improve travel safety and more accurately record roadway conditions, it could also be used to conduct studies, create statistics and form informational databases.

Fairview High School, Fairview School District, Erie County The Fairview High School team developed a medical utensil disinfectant unit to help reduce the spread of disease in developing countries. Designed to be manufactured in Pennsylvania, the product would also stimulate job creation and benefit the medical research industry in the Commonwealth. James Buchanan High School, Tuscarora School District, Franklin County The James Buchanan High School team developed a lifting device to aid maintenance personnel working on step ladders. Using a wench and rails on the step ladder, the device lifts tool boxes and equipment to allow the operator to remain in place while using the ladder. Pequea Valley High School, Pequea Valley School District, Lancaster County The Pequea Valley High School team created the opportunity for unique lighting sources in the city of Lancaster. Using Piezoelectric sensors, the team generated electricity in floor tiles, demonstrating a sensor system that could be placed in areas around the community to power lights.

Bishop Shanahan High School, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Chester County The Bishop Shanahan High School team created Brilliantly Bright Solar LCD Street Signs, an energy efficient way to ensure roadway safety, improve driver awareness and reduce the amount of car crashes. Built in accordance with state MUTCD regulations, the lighting system was developed using a folding mechanism for emergency stop signs with a solar-powered built-in LCD system. Additionally, the system would incorporate remote access, www.k12hispanicoutlook.com K


Dallas High School, Dallas School District, Luzerne County The Dallas High School team presented a seatbelt safety device that prevents a car engine from starting until the seatbelt is utilized by the driver. In the event that the seatbelt is unclipped during travel, a fourway alert will activate, and the engine will be governed. Hughesville High School, East Lycoming School District, Lycoming School District The Hughesville High School team used organic rich pound mud to generate an electric current and improve its design of a microbial fuel cell (MFC). The MFC was developed for the agriculture community, providing an alternate use for animal waste pits in addition to their use as fertilizer. Franklin Regional Senior High School, Franklin Regional School District, Westmoreland School District The Franklin Regional Senior High School team created a trap for stinkbugs. After conducting extensive research, the team built a prototype and tested different parameters, determining the qualities that make an effective trap. Northern Potter High School, Northern Potter School District, Potter County The Northern Potter High School team created the Sentry, a road marker that uses LED indicators and is designed to improve road safety in rural areas.

16 · August 03, 2015

Merion Mercy Academy, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Montgomery County The Merion Mercy Academy team presented a project to address the correlation between hunger and obesity, a problem that exists both in the Commonwealth and around the world. The team developed an electronically monitored insulated crate with air circulation to prolong the life of fresh fruits and vegetables so that food-insecure populations may have greater access to healthy food at affordable prices. Delaware Valley High School, Delaware Valley School District, Pike County The Delaware Valley High School team presented Helios, an ice-melting spray system designed for senior citizens that heats up and then

melts ice that has accumulated on porches and stairs. The product aims to reduce the rate of falling, currently the number one cause of accidental injury and death for senior citizens. Trinity High School, Trinity Area School District, Washington County The Trinity High School team worked with PennDOT to formulate a deicing agent that effectively melts ice in a more environmentally-friendly manner than existing deicers. The team also made a shovel that dispenses the deicing material to allow users to multitask while shoveling snow and ice. Photos and story courtesy of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office and Pennsylvania Department of Education.


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READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY We at OutlooK-12 are honored to present the 2015 winners of the prestigious Pura Belpré Award for this very special edition of our School Library book reviews. First established in 1996, this award is named after the New York Public Library’s first Latina librarian and is presented each year to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work “best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” In addition to this year’s two medal winners, the 2015 Pura Belpré Award Committee has also selected four honor books based on excellence in writing or illustration.

2015 Author Award Winner

2015 Illustrator Award Winner

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

Viva Frida

By Marjorie Agosín Lee White (Illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-1416953449 Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division When warships appear, in “I Lived on Butterfly Hill,” Celeste’s idyllic life is shattered. As people disappear, Celeste’s parents go into hiding, and she is sent into exile. When she returns home, she works to reunite people she loves and to move her country forward. Lyrically written by acclaimed poet, Marjorie Agosín, this Chilean story offers a refreshing perspective on resiliency.

18 · August 03, 2015

By Yuyi Morales Yuyi Morales (illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-1596436039 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book “Viva Frida” uses rich, vibrant color photographs and minimal evocative text to beautifully portray the unique imagination and creativity of an iconic Latina artist. Morales blends a wide variety of mediums stop-motion puppets, acrylic paints and digital manipulation - to create a whimsical picture book that will inspire your artistic sensibilities.

2015 Author Honor Book

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes By Juan Felipe Herrera Raúl Colón (illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-0803738096 Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Juan Felipe Herrera celebrates the lives of 20 Hispanic people who up to now have been in the shadows to many despite their significant contributions to American society. These poignant biographical sketches succinctly present the essence of each hero’s life and legacy to the future generations of their culture.


Ilustration by © Depositphotos.com/ johny007pandp

2015 Illustrator Honor Books

Little Roja Riding Hood

By Susan Middleton Elya Susan Guevara (illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-0399247675 Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC Susan Guevara’s illustrations are a visual treat full of suspense and humor adding a spin to the classic fairy tale. Her use of details, such as the three blind mice and the little duendes (elves), and the texture of warm colors give readers glimpses into a contemporary Hispanic family.

Green Is a Chile Pepper

By Roseanne Greenfield Thong John Parra (illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-1452102030 Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC Parra's vibrant folk art is the perfect complement to the text. The images depict diverse characters of all ages. Parra's wonderful illustrations portray many Hispanic cultural traditions. They have a sense of energy and liveliness, which gives a feeling of being at a fiesta celebrating colors and culture.

Separate Is Never Equal:

Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation By Duncan Tonatiuh Duncan Tonatiuh (illustrator) ISBN-13: 978-1419710544 Publisher: by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS. Using his signature style of illustration, Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of the Mendez family’s struggle for equal education. His digitally enhanced illustrations and his use of period detail convey the historical setting, linking this landmark case against injustice to a long campaign for human rights.

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Happy 40Th Anniversary

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund Celebrates Four Decades Of Helping College-Bound Students Succeed

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he Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation’s largest not-for-profit organization supporting Hispanic American higher education, announced today the commemoration of its 40th Anniversary. “Since 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has provided college scholarships to 60,000 exceptional Hispanic students as well as vital resources and tools that help them graduate and launch their professions in fields critical to the future of this country,” Fidel A. Vargas, President & CEO, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, said. “We are excited to celebrate our accomplishments and to anticipate the amazing opportunities that lie ahead for the students and families we serve.” In preparation for its 40th Anniversary, HSF reached out to its online community to vote for a favorite commemorative logo on

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Facebook. The poll garnered over 10,000 votes, and the winning logo is now being used in all HSF collateral to mark this special year. In addition, throughout the organization’s anniversary year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund is introducing: • HSF’s History highlighting the organization’s past and present milestones through an interactive web timeline on HSF.net • “#HSFstories” postings on HSF’s website and social media featuring influential Latinos who serve as an inspiration to others • HSF Story Video, a website-accessed feature sharing the organization’s history and efforts in the community

• HSF’s 40 Ways to Give Back, a campaign illustrating the many ways people can give back to HSF • HSF’s 40th Anniversary Awards, honoring top donors in a special edition of the organization’s Alumni Hall of Fame Gala, on October 7, 2015 in New York “We’re thankful to our donors and partners who know the work we do together is not only important for the Latino community but to our entire nation,” Vargas added. “We are celebrating them as much as we are celebrating ourselves and the students and families we serve.” HSF’s was founded June 16, 1975 when a small group of Latino leaders rallied around California educator Ernesto Robles. With the help of his wife, Dora,


his friend Paul Sedillo and Bishop Patrick F. Flores after work and on weekends, Robles launched the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, later renamed the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. His aim was to usher in an age of educational and economic equality for the 11.8 million Latinos in the U.S. at that time by providing scholarships to outstanding Hispanic students across the country. Since then, HSF has awarded $470 million in scholarships and array of ever-increasing services for college-bound students, their parents and the entire Hispanic community. Today the U.S. Hispanic population has grown to over 54 million people, constituting 17% of the country’s total population.  One-fourth of all public school students are Hispanic, and the 69% of Latino high school graduates are going directly to college, a rate that is now higher than that of the general population.  Latinos are projected to comprise 30% of the labor force by 2050. “It is more important than ever for HSF to provide scholarships, programs, information, and other resources that equip Hispanic students to excel, complete college and graduate studies, enter professions critical to this nation’s future, and become leaders.  I am proud to be part of HSF,” Jim McNamara, Chairman, HSF Board of Directors, said. “Every day, we are helping students achieve their full potential on the road to and through college.” •

CSI: MIAMI'S ADAM RODRIGUEZ SPEAKS OUT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION

Star of both movies and television, Adam Rodriguez is widely known as the heroic Detective Eric Delko on “CSI: Miami.” His making a difference, however, does not end with his character. Rodriguez is also a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Board of Directors and is one of the faces of a HSF Ad Council campaign to raise awareness among Latino parents about the important role they play helping their children through college. “It’s about giving them a support system,” he said… “[Latinos] are growing in numbers and we have to couple that with education. Education is key.” Rodriguez was born and raised in New York. His mother, born in New York of Puerto Rican heritage, was an airline ticket agent, and his father, of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, an executive with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. They stressed the importance of education for him and his sister. As a result Rodriguez places tremendous value on education, stating in an interview with "Fox News Latino" that, “the only way to advance is through education.” As a student at Clarkstown North Senior High, Rodriguez had hopes of becoming a professional baseball player and had even received scholarship offers to play in college. An injury to his spine, however, ended that dream, but it was also in high school that Rodriguez dabbled in acting and won an award from his theater class. After graduation (and a brief detour into the life of a NY stockbroker), he focused his attention on his passion and what became a successful career as an actor, writer and director. Today, Rodriguez divides his time between Los Angeles and New York where his family still resides. His experiences have created a personal resolve to see students advance. “I want to make sure that kids have an option,” he said. For further information about the HSF, visit https://hsf.net/ •

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News and Trends in K-12 Education from Across America Bright Kids Inc. Releases Tablet-Based Erb Aabl Diagnostic

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ew York, N.Y. – Tutoring and publications business Bright Kids Inc. is one of the first companies to create a tablet-based ERB AABL (Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners) diagnostic that replicates the testing experience for kindergarten-first grade entry private school applicants. Children will use Bright Kids’ tablets, headphones and a proctor

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to individually answer and select tricky Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Early Literacy and Mathematics questions. The results of these diagnostics can be used for personalized test preparation curriculum at Bright Kids. AABL assesses a child’s verbal and quantitative reasoning, early literacy and mathematics skills and compares them to oth-

er children taking the test at the same level throughout the United States. Professionals administer the AABL through the iPad but first give applicants a tutorial on how to use the iPad to respond to test items. Bright Kids is currently working to expand all AABL tablet-based learning experiences. •


The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation Names Recipients of Annual Cancer Survivor Scholarships

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ew York, N.Y. – The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of its cancer survivor scholarships, awarded as an inspiration to survivors in order that they may achieve their full potential in life. Seven young men and women were selected and each will receive $1,500, renewable for up to an accumulative $6,000 over four

years. To qualify, applicants must be residents of North Florida; South Georgia; the five boroughs of New York City or Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties in New Jersey and have been diagnosed with cancer before the age of 21. Winners (listed here) are chosen based on leadership ability, academic record, moral character and financial need:

• Marissa Ierna • Lindsey Mapp • Peter Bernhard • Steven Brown • Daniel Poidomani • Sanjay Sherpa • Samantha Sproviero To sponsor a survivor scholarship or donate to the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, please visit the foundation’s website. •

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News and Trends

Sheriff’s Offer Nyssa Rapid Responder Program to Help Improve School Safety

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aratoga Springs, N.Y. – The New York State Sheriffs’ Association (NYSSA) announced that they’re working with Sheriffs across New York State to offer Rapid Responder®, an affordable emergency response system that provides first responders with instant access to critical site information when responding to an emergency at a school.

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In 10 New York State counties, 35 school districts have signed up to be a part of the NYSSA Rapid Responder program. The system ensures that comprehensive facility data is available for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services and other first responders in conjunction with facility personnel to cohesively respond to emergencies.

“In the past we had binders and rolled up building plans for each of the 30 schools in our county that had to be sorted through,” Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said. “The Rapid Responder program organizes all of that information and makes it more readily available.” •


Talented Teacher of the Glenholme School Joined No Strings International for A U.N. Humanitarian Mission in Kurdistan

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ashington, Conn. – A faculty member of The Glenholme School, a boarding school for young people with learning differences, worked together with representatives of No Strings International on peace-building missions for the United Nations in Kurdistan. No Strings International uses puppetry to reach young people in conflicts, disasters and poverty

around the world, engaging them through films and play activities with messages that support their safety and wellbeing. Robert Fappiano, an 11-year faculty member of Glenholme, is one of its expert puppet trainers. With the successful tabletop puppet-crafting workshop developed with Glenholme students, Fappiano and No Strings in partnership with

the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration aimed to aid thousands of children in refugee camps across Kurdistan. The peace-building workshop involves small teams of young people working together to create an enjoyable show while giving everyone a voice. The effort had an astoundingly positive impact on the children and aid workers in Iraqi Kurdistan. •

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Statement Arts to Rerun Successful College Preparatory Program in Washington Heights for Needy Nyc Kids

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ew York, N.Y. – New York City non-profit Statement Arts will be repeating its incredibly successful College Preparatory Program, Expanding Horizons, at the United Palace of Cultural Arts. Started in 2012, this program mentors under-served and "atrisk" high school seniors with an

News and Trends

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eye towards the arts. College Prep students are guided through every step of the college application process including SAT preparation and essay drafting. The program boasts a 100% success rate for college acceptance. “There is a real need for a more focused, hands-on college preparation class for aspiring art-

ists and musicians, especially for kids living at or below the poverty line. Our students can’t afford the private lessons or coaching necessary to prepare for the rigorous college audition process,” Liza Politi, Founder of Statement Arts, said. “We are trying to level the playing field to allow our kids further exposure to the arts.” •


Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf Announced as the Grand Prize Winner of Tech-It-Up – The Sharp® Classroom Technology Challenge

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ahwah, N.J. – Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA), a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation (SEC), has announced the winners of Tech-it-Up – the Sharp Classroom Technology Challenge. As part of the contest, Sharp has awarded one K-12 accredited school in the U.S. a grand prize of $100,000 worth of state-of-the-art

Sharp branded products for their classrooms with 10 runner-up schools also winning an AQUOS BOARD™ interactive display system. Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf, located in Clearwater, Fla., is one of a handful of schools in the U.S. using Montessori methods to teach deaf and hard-of-hearing children using both spoken En-

glish and American Sign Language. Blossom was selected as the grand prize winner of Tech-it-Up for best demonstrating how the school would integrate Sharp technology such as interactive whiteboards, professional display monitors and document systems (multifunctional copiers) to address student needs and create a more engaging learning experience. •

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