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CPS Introduces Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies Curriculum

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By Chicago Public Schools

District continues commitment to diverse studies with newest academic program.

Members of the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today introduced the Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies Curriculum, which focuses on the history, arts and culture, and contributions of Latinos and Latin Americans, along with the cultural diversity of the Americas, including Central and South America and the Caribbean. This new curriculum is a direct result of the work of the Chicago Public School Latino Advisory Committee established by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Byrd-Bennett last year.

“To learn about Chicago is to learn about our diverse culture and identity,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “That is why we are making sure the study of Latino history and culture is a core part of education in Chicago – in history class, literature, art, music and social studies. Latino culture runs through every part of our city, and I am proud that it will now run through every part of our curriculum.”

“Latinos are now the largest student demographic in Chicago Public Schools, but for far too long their ancestral story was relegated to the back pages of our history books,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The history of Chicago cannot be written without celebrating the contributions of immigrants from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Their triumph over ignorance, prejudice and discrimination is the quintessential American story – and finally that story will be told in every grade and in every school across CPS.”

Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies Curriculum (ILLASC) is based on the universal themes of culture, dignity and identity and it’s the district’s second cross-disciplinary curriculum that engages ethnic American studies.  The units of study and launch lessons that are available are in literacy, social science, fine and performing arts, physical education and health, mathematics and science.  Each unit of study and its accompanying launch lesson include specific instructional guidelines for English learners, developed by a team from Office of Language and Culture, Office of DiverseLearner Supports and Services and the Office of Early Childhood Education. This feature allows for the curriculum to be taught by a variety of teaching and support staff, for all types of students and learners in CPS.

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