Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Launches Sister Schools Program Across Four States and the Territory of Puerto Rico

Program has eight predominantly Latino-serving schools work together on STEAM projects throughout the year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 23, 2023) – The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) today announced the launch of the ALAS Sister Schools Program, a year-long partnership in which teams of students from schools in the continental US and Puerto Rico collaborate on projects focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

A total of eight schools have been selected to participate in the inaugural program. For the program, which launched during Hispanic Heritage Month, students work together to develop solutions to real-world challenges. Each sister school team will develop their own solution and the project will culminate in April 2024 with each team creating a TED Ed Student Talk about their solution.

“We created the Sister Schools Program to connect and enrich learning for students at predominantly Latino-serving schools across North America including our territorial affiliate, Puerto Rico,” said ALAS Executive Director Dr. Maria Armstrong. “It’s an amazing opportunity for these students to go beyond their traditional lessons and we’re excited to follow their experiences and their progression in academic and 21st Century skills, and to celebrate their successes at the end of the year.”

The schools for the 2023-24 ALAS Sister Schools program are:

Pair #1

  • Abelardo Martinez Otero School (high school) in Arecibo, Puerto Rico
  • Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont

Pair #2

  • Pablo Casals School (high school) in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
  • Hanover Elementary School in S. Meriden, Connecticut

Pair #3

  • Dr. Ramon Emeterio Betances (middle school) in Caguas, Puerto Rico
  • National School District (6th grade) in National City, California

Pair #4

  • Lila Maria Mercedes Mayoral School (high school) in Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Peekskill High School in Peekskill, New York

ALAS developed the Sister Schools program focused on STEAM teaching, and learning concepts to prepare historically marginalized youth to engage and lead in related STEAM fields. Benefits include:

  • Bicultural understanding and biliteracy language acquisition
  • Development of 21st Century skills
  • Development of a broader network of perspectives
  • Increased awareness of different perspectives needed when working in teams

ALAS, with the support of a Gates Foundation and Community Wealth Builders grant, is providing schools with $5,000 each to spend on their project to pay for materials, teacher planning and other related costs.

ALAS also provided the schools with the opportunity for an early viewing of the film “A Million Miles Away” during the first week of Hispanic Heritage Month, before it was available to the public. The film, available on Amazon Prime, is based on the real-life story of NASA astronaut José Hernández (played by actor Michael Peña).

For more information about ALAS, visit https://www.alasedu.org.

About the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents (ALAS)

The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents [ALAS] is committed to providing a perspective to all aspiring school and district administrators including superintendents through programs, services, advocacy and networks rooted in Latino experiences and culture. Our Vision, Mission and Goals are to provide leadership at the national level that assures every school in America effectively serves the educational needs of all students with an emphasis on Latino and other historically marginalized youth through continuous professional learning, policy advocacy, and networking to share practices of promise for our students and the communities where we serve.

By the year 2026, Latino children will make up 30 percent of the school-age population. In the nation’s largest states – California, Texas, Florida, and New York- all of whom are ALAS State Affiliates– Latinos already have reached that level. It is of vital interest to invest in the education of every child, and the professional learning of all educators who serve Latino youth.