Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Do School Districts Need Hispanic Outreach Positions?

The Prince George’s County School System in Maryland came under scrutiny after the county’s executive recently appointed three new members to the Board of Education — none of whom were Hispanic.

Of the district’s approximately 123,000 students, roughly 25 percent are Hispanic (though no Hispanics serve on the 13-member board).

After the backlash, The Washington Post reports that the district recently hired Maritza Gonzalez, as a diversity officer charged with overseeing Latino affairs. The district, which has a student population that is majority black, is now experiencing Hispanic growth.

The article reports that in Gonzalez’s position, she is already taking on tasks such as translating at meetings for parents. The newspaper notes that in her new role as a liaison, she has also heard from Hispanic parents that they want more pre-K classes and English classes for adults.

She also has set an agenda that includes focusing on offering dual language Spanish immersion programs and promoting college.

“I hope that she helps to address the needs of the growing student body here,” state Sen. Victor R. Ramirez told the Post. “I feel right now there’s a disconnect.”

Many districts have turned to hiring translators and creating parent involvement offices geared at improving outreach to various minority and immigrant communities. Is this a trend you are seeing in your area?

Related Links:

- “Prince George’s Schools Hires Diversity Officer to Focus on Latino Affairs,” The Washington Post.
- “Hispanic Leaders Upset Over Latino Representation in Prince George’s,” The Washington Post.
- Prince George’s County Public Schools