As schools across Colorado are winding down and getting ready for their summer break, here at the CRUE Center we will be planning for our Equity Network meetings in the 2008-2009 school year and presenting at several summer workshops in districts across the Front Range. We will also be publishing a summer edition of our newsletter in July which will focus on system and district level issues. For those of you taking a break for the summer, we wish you a carefree and relaxing break and look forward to connecting with you again in the fall!


Promising Practices in the Field

The Indian Education Program at Jeffco Schools has three goals: To close the achievement gap for Native American students, to assist students in meeting challenging academic standards and to supplement and enrich the regular academic program with culturally specific learning resources for Indian students. Led by Program Coordinator Jason Firestone, this team of four serves the approximately 1000 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students that attend Jefferson County Schools, offering resources and support to students, parents and Jeffco educators.

What makes the Indian Education program at Jeffco special is that the team takes standard school offerings and adds an extra ingredient to make them culturally relevant. For example, the program provides an after school tutoring program for Native American students. The students spend the first hour of the session focused on homework and getting assistance with their academics then, in the 2nd half, they focus on Native American studies, learning more about the traditions and heritage. This year they made their own recycled paper with which they created Native art. The project taught not only the styles and traditions of Native art, but also the value of taking care of the earth. In the segment on tobacco, the students learned about the health implications of tobacco use and how to stand up to peer pressure, but they also learned its value as a sacred medicine and its use in Native American culture. In March, the Indian Education Program celebrated the accomplishments of its graduating students (kindergarteners, 8th graders and seniors) with an Honoring Powwow. Over 300 people attended, participating in Native American dance and displaying arts and crafts, but most importantly, honoring and celebrating the success of this year’s graduates.

The program is deeply connected to the Native American community in the Metro area, using the resources available through community members and organizations to better reach the children they serve and connect them to their Native American community. The program is also served by a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) that goes beyond the service a traditional PTA or PTO provides. The PAC is a vital part of the program, communicating the needs of the families and also reviewing and signing off on the federal grant that provides the funding for the program.

Jason Firestone leads the team as the Program Coordinator. He formulates program goals, writes and manages the federal grant, works with district teachers, administrators and the PAC leadership and collaborates with community agencies. Jason has his Bachelors degree in Speech/Theatre/Communications from Adams State College. LeRoy Saiz is the lead mentor/tutor. He works in individual schools as well as the after school homework program. He also mentors students on an individual basis helping them stay strong and on track in school and in life. LeRoy is a 3rd year student at Metro State College where he is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Chicano Studies as well as a minor in Native American Studies. He is a Jeffco graduate from Pomona High School and understands where many of the Native students are coming from. Sena Harjo is the Community Liaison. Sena works in schools supporting students, teachers and families with their individual needs. She also helps develop after school programs as well as family/community nights. Sena helps advocate for families and students needs in school as well as in the community. She has a Bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies and an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts, both earned from Haskell Indian Nations University. In addition she has an Associate’s degree in Fine Arts from The Institute of American Indian Arts. Jerry Lassos was this year’s part time teacher. Jerry helps students with homework and other educational needs. Jerry has worked in Jeffco for 30 years as a gifted and talented resource teacher.

The Jeffco Indian Education program maintains an extremely content and resource rich website that is accessible to anyone who is interested. You can visit the website here at http://sc.jeffco.k12.co.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectionid=9810.

To learn more about the Indian Education program, please contact Jason Firestone at jfiresto@jeffco.k12.co.us




Promising Practices

Research into Practice


Did You Know

In the News

Featured Article


Research into Practice at UCD

Gaps in achievement between various groups of students are a rising concern nationally and have become a primary focus of school reform efforts. In Colorado, approximately 44% of Hispanic students scored proficient or advanced on CSAP reading tests in 2007. Researchers who have studied academic outcomes for Hispanic students have identified a positive ethnic identity as a primary influence on academic outcomes. So as Colorado educators work to improve outcomes, one important aspect to focus on is that of ethnic identity development.

Dr. Carlos P. Hipolito-Delgado joined the faculty at UCD this year with a research focus on the development of ethnic identity in Chicana/o and Latina/o students. Dr. Hipolito-Delgado is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education. He received his doctorate in Counselor Education, with a specialty in School Counseling, from the University of Maryland College Park. His other research interests include the internalization of racism in communities of color, the empowerment process, and training of counselors for multicultural competence. He has presented both nationally and internationally and will have his first book, a co-edited text titled Elements of Culture in Counseling, published this summer.

Dr. Hipolito-Delgado’s doctoral dissertation, published in 2007, studied the relationship between internalized racism and ethnic identity in Chicana/o and Latina/o college students. The results of his study were intriguing and shed powerful light on factors that positively and negatively affected the ethnic identity development of these students. Dr. Hipolito-Delgado feels that there are three significant findings in his research. First, he found that students with a greater level of Spanish language competence had a greater sense of ethnic identity. Second, that the more incidents of racism a student encountered, the lower the level of their ethnic identity. Finally, the students that had a higher sense of U.S. cultural identity had a lower sense of ethnic identity. Though his research was conducted with undergraduate students, it has implications for younger students as ethnic identity begins to form in adolescence.

Dr. Hipolito-Delgado’s research showed that competence in the Spanish language is associated with a positive ethnic identity and one of his recommendations based on this research is the implementation of school based programs that promote/celebrate Spanish language competence such as Spanish language classes, Spanish language clubs, or the opportunity for students to serve as Spanish translators for written materials. He states that these types of experiences help develop and maintain Spanish language competence which in turn leads to a greater and more positive level of ethnic identity.

School programs need to provide Chicana/o and Latina/o students with the tools to access education. English language competence is one of those tools, but programs should also celebrate the Spanish language and respect and enhance students’ ethnic identities as well. “To access education,” he says, “you need to be able to speak English, but I believe you can have that without giving everything else up.”

If you have questions or would like to speak with Dr. Hipolito-Delgado, you may email him at carlos.hipolito@cudenver.edu.

Hipolito-Delgado, Carlos (2007). Internalized Racism and Ethnic Identity in Chicana/o and Latina/o College Students. https://drum.umd.edu/dspace/bitstream/1903/7258/1/umi-umd-4658.pdf



What’s new at CRUE?

Participants from eighteen Colorado schools, districts and organizations attended the May 9th Equity Network Meeting at the Tivoli. The group read the article “Good Intentions Are Not Enough: A Decolonizing Intercultural Education” by Paul Gorski (http://www.edchange.org/publications/intercultural-education.pdf), discussed its implications and began the complex process of defining equity standards for Colorado schools.

The next meeting of the Equity Network will take place in September 2008, please watch our website and our weekly updates for more information in August. The participants of the Equity Network spans schools, school districts, community organizations and institutes of higher education in Colorado, all with the same goal, equity in our public schools. Participation is open to anyone who is committed to educational equity for all students.


Did You Know?

Need diversity activities for your Elementary students? Rochester Public Schools in Rochester, Minnesota developed a Diversity Council in 1989. The Council offers a website full of great resources. Check out their website at http://www.diversitycouncil.org/elActivities.shtml.


In the News

Please visit our site at: www.cruecenter.org/news.php for Local News as well as National News. We add articles on a regular basis, so it is your one stop shop for equity issues and legislation as it happens! Please know that our articles are collected from a variety of sources and do not necessarily represent the views of the CRUE Center. Our goal is to keep you informed on the latest happenings in our field and give you something to discuss with your teams. This month, be sure to check out the Daily Camera’s “Bilingual programs a struggle for staff”, the Denver Post’s “Greeley teens versed in cultural struggles” and the Washington Post’s “No crisis in school for boys, study says”.


Featured Research Article

The numbers show that boys and young men of culturally diverse backgrounds are far under-represented in gifted programs. This month’s featured research articles offers suggestions to help develop and nurture their scholar identity, an important component of school performance.

“Enhancing Culturally Diverse Males’ Scholar Identity:
Suggestions for Educators of Gifted Students”
Gilman W. Whiting
Summer 2006

This article describes the components of a scholar identity and sets forth the propositions that Black and Hispanic males are more likely to achieve academically when they have a scholar identity and that they are more likely to be viewed as gifted if they achieve at higher levels. Both of these propositions have clear implications for the persistent and pervasive under representation of these culturally diverse males in gifted education. With an improved focus on scholarly identity, more Black and Hispanic males will find a sense of belonging, a sense of worth, an increased sense of efficacy in school settings, and will achieve at higher levels.

Click here for access to the full-text article.


Around the Watercooler…

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts about this month’s content as well as equity issues affecting your schools. Do you have any ideas to share with other CRUE members? A Promising Practice that are working in your classroom, school, or district? Please click here to tell us more: contact.


We would love to hear what you think of the newsletter!
Please send any feedback about this month’s content, features, or layout to: contact@cruecenter.org


Culturally Responsive Urban Education
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Denver, CO 80204