News - Reflections on the New School Year 2021/2022

November 8, 2021

Dear Carlos Rosario School Community,

The 2021-22 school year is off to a successful start with 2,000+ adult learners enrolled in one of our three modalities of learning: Hybrid; In person; and Virtual. Welcome everyone.

We are delighted to offer this update to the community: In service to our exceptional student body and in partnership with our extraordinarily talented faculty and staff, we are poised for a strong academic year and our efforts to provide additional support and improvements to enrich the entire school community are well underway. We are placing attention on the staffing needs of the community to ensure departments have the resources they need to meet this unique moment.

Having weathered what we hope is the worst of COVID-19, we enter this school year grateful for the resilience and commitment of our students, fully enrolled and determined to meet the trust that they place in us with excellent and innovative teaching, supportive services, and a holistic approach. Over the past 20 months our student body has been disproportionately affected by COVID and the economic, health and social upheaval it has wrought. We are in awe of their spirit and the drive with which they continue to fight for an education and invest in themselves and their communities. We honor that spirit in our commitment to them.

We wanted to share some of our plans for the year. We are particularly excited about:

    • Seeing our students back in our buildings and in virtual classrooms;
    • The launch of our innovative Small Business Program Virtual Marketplace project, through which we supported 20 of our Carlos Rosario School vendors with one on one technical assistance for their business to not only survive, but thrive;
    • The continuation of Project Altruismo, a new workshop project which expands equitable access to education for English language learner parents in the District;
    • A new partnership with Amazon supporting digital literacy, technology career training, and higher education scholarships for our graduates.

In addition, we have undertaken important diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work in partnership with our Board of Trustees. We have been enriched by all we have heard from our colleagues about our culture, policies and practices. Our leadership team as well as our Board have created spaces to engage in deep listening over the last couple of years and that will continue going forward. Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is in our very DNA. Our organization was originally founded to serve immigrants and facilitate their going beyond survival so they could thrive, support their families, and fight discriminatory practices to ensure a better life when there was no such support for them. Since the beginning, our school has worked towards building a more equitable world through the power of education.

Today we serve 2,013 students from 94 different countries. The majority of our students come from Latin America and the Caribbean (aprox 71%) and from Africa (aprox 21%). We serve community members from around the world of all races and religions, and our highly diverse staff reflect many of the countries most represented within our student body. As an institution, we are committed to challenging racist thoughts and behaviors, and we have created a plan of action that will allow us to go deeper into our DEI journey. Our plan will allow our school community to create a timeline for progress and a process to develop the metrics by which we will hold ourselves accountable and honor our commitments.

We understand that neither our commitment to being anti racist nor the diversity of our community and the students we serve makes us immune to some of the same challenges our nation grapples with. We have work to do and we must remain vigilant in fighting discrimination in all its forms. Our voices are diverse voices and we value each and everyone of them. We are listening and we are learning.

These are exciting yet trying times for our students and for those of us working so diligently in their service. We are humbled by the hard work that our students and faculty are engaged in to redesign and redefine the expectations for a 21st century education for adult learners.

We have committed ourselves to becoming a stronger, better team, knowing that these internal improvements will allow us to strengthen our school and better serve our students. We appreciate your partnership and support as we engage in this work and hold ourselves accountable to our students, faculty and staff and other stakeholders. Working together, the future is bright.

Allison R. Kokkoros, CEO                                                                                         Patricia Sosa, Board Chair