FUERTE FUEGO UNIDO EDUCADO RESPETUOSO TALENTOSO EXITOSO | City of Ideas
Issue to be Addressed:
Pathways to long-term success is fraught with barriers for Latino boys who attend under-performing schools and experience high rates of community violence, poverty and incarceration. Latinos are historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM) industries (Boston’s top employer). Entry into the advanced coursework needed for STEM jobs requires students to build skills and passions for STEM in middle-school. 2011 MCAS shows 97% of 8th graders at our partner Tobin School scored Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing in Science, indicating a need for increased support. STEM programs tailored for English Language Learners can also effectively increase literacy and engagement through hands-on activities. Cognitive skills strengthened through STEM exploration (questioning, predicting, interpreting) are transferable to understanding a new language.
8.7% of Latino males annually dropout of Boston Public Schools (BPS), the highest rate among subgroups. 15% of Latino students who dropout did so in middle school. Positive engagement in school is critical for long-term success, especially in the pivotal middle school years when academic habits and aspirations are established. Boys of color are especially vulnerable for disengagement because in school they characteristically lack caring adult mentors, culturally relevant curricula, opportunities to apply learning, and chances to reengage once alienated.
FUERTE fosters collaboration in support of Latino boys in Roxbury/Mission Hill. Hands-on, interactive, and goal-oriented learning opportunities for boys build on their preferred learning styles, center on the unique challenges they confront, and leverage their assets and high aspirations. Through FUERTE, 60 males/year (11-15) receive year-round, holistic academic and STEM enrichment that integrates asset-based, culturally proficient strategies including deep partnerships with schools and families, civic engagement, mentoring, and long-term relationships with Sociedad Latina. FUERTE boys build resiliency and self-efficacy as they develop a deep sense of connection to and pride in their cultural identities as Latino males. These are critical protective factors which lead young men of color to overcome stereotypes, avoid a biased criminal justice system, connect with meaningful opportunities, practice a sense of agency, and assume their roles as the next generation of Latino leaders. FUERTE activities center around STEM exploration to spark boys’ curiosity, build inquiry and investigation skills, foster active, hands-on learning, connect boys with Latino role-models, and inspire thinking about future careers in a field where Latino men are wholly underrepresented. FUERTE’s cross-sector partners collaborate to design and lead STEM curriculum activities, recruit mentors, and offer career exploration in STEM fields and others.
Role of Collaboration:
FUERTE provides wrap-around supports and holistic services to middle school boys. This entails Sociedad Latina partnering with educational, institutional, employment and community partners (with whom we hold MOUs) to capitalize on resources and expertise:
Tobin K-8 School – STEM teachers facilitate curriculum, align with in-school STEM learning; recruitment for program; student presentations featured at Tobin events
Tobin Community Center – community space and support with recruitment throughout Roxbury/Mission Hill
Wentworth Institute of Technology – expertise in STEM education, robotics curriculum, current STEM college student volunteer tutor/mentors
Longwood Medical Area (network of 8 health institutions) – provide career exploration opportunities in STEM, Latino mentors
Collectively, the FUERTE collaboration seeks to build a culture of high expectations for boys in Roxbury/Mission Hill, developing a group of leaders that are engaged, resilient, and prepared for their future. Currently, FUERTE is an initiative of the Mission Enrichment Program for middle school students. With support from Collaborate Boston, FUERTE could expand to a standalone STEM program for boys, leveraging new and existing partnerships to reach more boys and deepen our impact in Roxbury/Mission Hill. Sociedad Latina staff have engaged Wentworth and the Tobin School to develop an out-of-school, gender-specific STEM curriculum that is culturally proficient, based on best practices for ELL education, and centered on the role of mentors. To expand recruitment and reach even more Roxbury/Mission Hill boys, we will connect with the Tobin Community Center and Roxbury/Mission Hill housing developments Mission Main, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, and Alice Taylor. We currently have an opportunity to connect with Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG), to recruit new mentors and engage TUGG’s network of nearly 5,000 Boston-based technology professionals in our STEM program. Expanded capacity made possible through this grant would allow us to capitalize on initial connections we’ve already made with TUGG and formalize that new partnership.
Before joining the FUERTES in MEP, Marcos hated science and math. But today, he is engrossed in a bridge building project with his peers, competing to build the best bridge based on the strategies they learned from Wentworth College Coaches and a certified teacher in their architecture unit. Marcos can’t wait for tomorrow because MEP will take the train to downtown Boston to visit the offices of Rosales + Partners, an architecture firm that specializes in the architecture and engineering of bridges, highways, and more. He and his teammates have a list of questions they’d like to ask the architects and engineers about how they got into this field, what kind of education pathway they took, and what a typical day at work is like.
Sociedad Latina has a long history of success working with partners and collaborations. We are currently a part of several collaborations including the Boston Youth Services Network. Sociedad Latina was featured as a model partner by Wellington Management Foundation, the Scott/Ross Center for Community Service at Simmons College, and New England Baptist Hospital. Our experience working collaboratively and with the Latino community in Roxbury/Mission Hill puts us at an advantage in this new partnership.
Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has worked in partnership with Latino youth and families to end destructive cycles of poverty, health disparities, and lack of opportunity in our community. Through our Pathways to Success model, we pioneer new and innovative solutions to the most pressing social justice issues facing Latino youth today, supporting positive youth development from age 10-21, creating a community that supports young people, and training all youth to advocate for themselves and their communities. Our comprehensive, intensive array of programming builds skills in four areas, identified by our constituents as those most in need of support: Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture. All programs integrate high-quality arts and cultural activities that provide opportunities to explore and celebrate Boston’s Latino culture. Our long-term model integrates case management, family engagement, and long-term relationships with mentors, allowing us to start working with families early and support them through major milestones and potential struggles from middle school through college. Through our programs, Sociedad Latina facilitates self-discovery, cultivates positive cultural identities, and fosters the next generation of leaders so that youth grow into confident, competent, successful and self-sustaining adults.
The Maurice J. Tobin, located across the street from Sociedad Latina, is a K-8 within Boston Public Schools. The Tobin and Sociedad Latina share very similar demographics and students; though culturally diverse, there is a high concentration of Latino students (73%) at the Tobin. The Tobin School has a 2011 Composite Performance Index (CPI) well below the state average in Mathematics and Science (disparity: Math 28.8; Science 39.6), indicating that students are in need of support in these STEM subject areas.
The Tobin Community Center, located in Mission Hill, is one of 38 facilities within Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency. BCYF is committed to providing high-quality, outcome-driven programs that are responsive to neighborhood needs. The Tobin offers arts, civic engagement, education, and sports programming to youth and adults. The Tobin has been a partner of Sociedad Latina for over 10 years.
Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Center for Community & Learning Partnerships was founded in 2005, to create opportunities for students to participate in community service through a range of outlets. The Center facilitates and strengthens partnerships that yield transformative educational experiences for students while addressing community interests. WIT and the Center have previously worked with Sociedad Latina’s middle and high school academic programs, providing College Leader mentors, work study interns, college trips to campus, and STEM curricula.
Sociedad Latina works collaboratively with a network of hospitals in the Longwood medical area. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham & Women’s, Children’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and New England Baptist Hospital all currently offer school year and summer internships to high school Sociedad Latina youth. In addition, hospitals and the Harvard School for Public Health support with career exploration activities for all youth, including attending career panels, hosting job shadow days, and participate in mock interview sessions. This network allows us to provide more expansive programming opportunities to youth, capitalizing on the wealth of the healthcare sector and each hospital’s strengths