Esperanza Latino Teachers Awards

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Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) will recognize four teachers at their annual Esperanza Latino Teachers Awards. The Esperanza Latino Teachers Awards continues to be the only awards program in Arizona that specifically recognizes Latino teachers who are nominated by their peers. Chicanos Por La Causa Chief Financial Officer Martin Quintana talks about the awards.

José Cárdenas: The annual 2014 Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza latino award are here. These are awards presented to Arizona teachers who go beyond their education duties to help students achieve academic success. This year's award recipients are Jesús Arrizon, from southwest junior high school in San Luis. Margarito Casillas, Andrada Polytechnic High School in Tucson. Manuel Gaviña, Whittier Elementary school in Phoenix, and Erika Parra, metro high-tech -- Metro tech high school in Phoenix. Here to talk about the words is Martin Quintana, chief financial officer for Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza. Welcome to "Horizonte."

Martin Quintana: Thanks for having me.

José Cárdenas: This is the 16th year. Tell us how the awards got started and what the purpose is.

Martin Quintana: This was started and established to be able to recognize individuals and teachers that were being successful and inspiring and motivating students in schools. To have them succeed. Also individuals that are role models in the schools and the community. So that was the idea, to go back and inspire and recognize individuals to -- That are doing a good job in educating our students.

José Cárdenas: You talked about role models in the community. I happened to go online and look at the evaluation forms. You give different points to different things. One of them is their involvement in the community. Why is that important, separate and apart from what they do in the classroom?

Martin Quintana: One thing we feel is very strongly about that the teachers have a big impact with students and be successful, and also being a strong role model, and in that not only do they have to be good academically and doing a good job in school, but to be involved in the community, showing the fact they care about the community, the fact they care about other people, and that's something we feel as role models is important.

José Cárdenas: So what is involved as I understand it is an event, which is coming up October 23rd?

Martin Quintana: Yes. Thursday, October 23rd, it's going to be at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix. It's sponsored by SRP and Cox communications. We recognize the individuals that you mentioned earlier, and we also give them a stipend. A $5,000 stipend and also a $2500 stipend to the schools for supplies and so forwards, and that's a small token of our appreciation for the work they do in the schools. And we recognize them at that event.

José Cárdenas: Any sense for what impact the awards themselves are having, Esperanza means hope in English, is it inspiring, is it providing hope not only to students, but teachers who for the most part are punching bags these days?

Martin Quintana: You know, we feel it is. Mainly because the number of nominees nominated every year increase every year. And so that's something we see as a gad sign for us, that people are paying attention, they want to be recognized, but also because we get nominations for teachers from other teachers. Other educators and other superintendents of the schools. And so it's a peer nomination that we get that from them. And I think the fact that they are -- There's more people being nominated, they feel it is important, and it's having an impact. As you know, a lot of us know the dropout rates with latinos is very high, and also the number of students, latino students that are getting a higher education is also low. And yes feel strong quality, Latino teachers can have a positive impact in reducing and improving those numbers.

José Cárdenas: As I understand, three of the four honored this year are math teachers. Is that a particular focus of the awards, or just turned out that way?

Martin Quintana: It just turned out that way. As a matter of fact, this year we are recognizing four male and one female teacher. In the past it's been more female. It's a happenstance based on the quality of the applications, that it just happened to be three math teachers. But we look at all areas of education to support them.

José Cárdenas: Tell us a little bit about the process by which they're selected.

Martin Quintana: So we're -- We have an independent committee that comes in, is made up of business people, educators, and general community individuals, and they go through an evaluation process they rate the other teachers, and rank them by different categories. And when it's all said and done they come up with the rankings of each individual by each of the people that are making the decision, and then they basically come up with the information and pick the top four individuals. It's really by this committee they go through and select the individuals that win.

José Cárdenas: It looks like you've picked another deserving crop of recipients for the award. Congratulations.

Martin Quintana: We think so too.

José Cárdenas: Thanks for joining us to talk about it.

Martin Quintana: Thanks for having me.

José Cárdenas: To find out more information about what's on "Horizonte," go to www.azpbs.org and click on the "Horizonte" tab at the top of the screen. There you can access many features to become a more informed "Horizonte" viewer. Watch interviews by clicking on the video button or scrolling down to the bottom of the page for the most recent segments. Learn about more specific topics like arts and culture and immigration. You can also find out what's on "Horizonte" for the upcoming week. If you would like an RSS feed, or you want to buy a video, that's on our website too. Other features include our collection of website links and a special page for educators. While you're there, though your support for "Horizonte" with just one click. Discover all that's on "Horizonte," visit www.azpbs.org/horizonTE today.

Martin Quintana:Chief Financial Officer, Chicanos Por La Causa;

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