LULAC National Educational Services Centers, Inc. (LNESC)

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LNESC and Verizon partner to launch first STEM educational program in NYC

For Immediate Release
Feb. 24, 2014
Contact: Sara Melton, SMelton@lnesc.org, 202.835.9646 ext. 116

LNESC and Verizon partner to launch first STEM educational program in NYC

Latino students sharpen “STEM” skills in Bronx program sponsored by Verizon in partnership with LNESC, The Sports Foundation and De Witt Clinton HS

NEW YORK — Hispanic students, the largest minority group in New York City public schools, are the focus of a new after school program in the Bronx designed to grow interest and skill in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The STEM Explorer Program for high school students is based at DeWitt Clinton High School, the first such program in New York City.. The program is sponsored by LULAC National Education Services Center, Inc. (LNESC) and the Verizon Foundation, in partnership with The Sports Foundation.

Latino high school students meet two hours each week for hands-on laboratory work, technology instruction and off campus field trips as part of a work plan designed to encourage them to pursue science, engineering or technology related courses in high school and college. The instruction is led by teachers who are certified in STEM courses, and volunteer professionals will offer career counseling to students.

“As part of its mission to become the high school of choice for all families in the Bronx, DeWitt Clinton is proud to partner with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the LULAC National Educational Services Centers (LNESC) to bring its first STEM program to New York City public schools. Thanks to a sponsorship by Verizon, a group of students at DeWitt Clinton High School have the opportunity to experience and participate in this hands-on STEM after school program,” said Santiago Taveras, DeWitt Clinton High School principal. “This program is meant to ignite an interest to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, areas that hold the promise of future employment and economic success,” Taveras added.

“At Verizon, we believe in the transformative power of our technology and its role in improving outcomes and preparing students for success in the 21st century. We are excited to continue our partnership with LNESC in support of efforts to inspire more youth to pursue STEM-related careers,” said Emilio Gonzalez, Executive Director for Strategic Alliances, Verizon.

With Hispanics making up the largest minority group at colleges and universities across the U.S., the Bronx initiative is now part of a national effort to help develop Latino students’ interest and skills in the STEM fields.

“Our program targets Latinos, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., so that we can increase the number of STEM career professions among Latinos,” said Richard Roybal, executive director of LNESC. “Once students are exposed to and become interested in these fields of study, they can aim for careers that will better serve their communities while also helping the U.S. remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

LNESC has seen results from other similar initiatives across the U.S., including higher grades in math and science courses recorded by participants, continued enrollment in high school STEM courses, and a rise in the number of underrepresented minorities in postsecondary STEM studies and careers.

Along with the Bronx, LNESC and the Verizon Foundations began this year a new round of STEM Explorer programs in other cities, including: Moody High School in Corpus Christi, TX; Kensington Health & Science Academy in Philadelphia, PA; McCollum High School in San Antonio, TX; Harrison High School in Colorado Springs, CO.

“LULAC Is proud to partner with the sports foundation & De Witt Clinton high school two prestigious organizations that have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the youth.” Ralina Cardona, LULAC Vice President for the northeast.

LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) was established in 1973 by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to provide educational programming to high-need students throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Throughout 14 education and technology centers, LNESC has served over 500,000 students, sent 150,000 students on to college, and awarded nearly $20 million in scholarships. LNESC’s results are made possible by a network of dedicated field staff, top-notch teachers, over 90 school partners, and the support of LULAC – the nation’s largest membership based Latino organization. LNESC works to change lives and build Latino communities, one student at a time. More information about LNESC and its programs can be found at http://www.LNESC.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with 100 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 184,500. For more information, visit http://www.verizon.com.

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Next-Generation Technologies Deliver Possibilities for the Future

When it comes to education, a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t provide our students with the best possible education. Some students grasp new concepts right away, while others may need a little more guidance.  That’s why dedicated educators are always searching for new tools and resources to strengthen the learning experience and help all students achieve more.  And today, teachers and schools across the country are using the Internet and other advanced communications technologies as those tools – to enhance the learning experience and teach the digital literacy skills our students need to succeed. 

This month marks the third annual Digital Learning Day, a celebration of innovative teaching and technology-assisted methods that can unlock the potential in any student. Digital Learning Day is also an opportunity to learn how robust digital learning environments can help students learn and give them essential tools for success.

Here at LNESC, we’re always searching for new resources and methods we can use to help Latino students, and to that end, we’ve embraced digital learning as an essential component to 21st century education.  We offer innovative programs that emphasize literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), as well as academic counseling and workshops on college access.  So far, LNESC has served over 500,000 students, sent 150,000 students to college, and awarded almost $20 million in scholarships.  Working with our network of 14 education and technology centers across the country and with over 90 partner schools, our programs are designed to help bridge the gap between Latino students and the opportunities they deserve.   

We utilize our essential network to reach high-need Latino students and to help them take their places as our future leaders.  But we also acknowledge the importance of access to a different key network: high-speed broadband.  Expanded access to fast, reliable broadband networks in our nation’s schools and libraries can help us reach more students, of course.  It can also help students find opportunities and access resources of which they might not otherwise know.  Without broadband access, teachers cannot enrich traditional classroom instruction with the digital learning features designed to prepare our students for future challenges.  

But right now, the quality of Internet in too many of our schools and libraries does not offer the capacity or speeds needed for today’s innovative learning tools.  That’s why The White House announced “ConnectED” initiative.  This program calls for expanded access to modern broadband connectivity—which supports the speeds and bandwidth that our students need—to 99 percent of K–12 students within five years.  Additionally, various private companies have stepped up, offering resources to help achieve the goals of this initiative.

This is just one instance of how the private sector and government must work together to move us forward and reach the goal of universal broadband connectivity.  These broadband networks deliver opportunities and new possibilities to our schools and all kinds of people. This connectivity can help ensure that everyone has a chance to achieve potential and to benefit from lifelong learning.  Our country’s networks must also be upgraded and enhanced to keep pace with innovation, and the shift to next-generation nationwide broadband networks will require modern rules that encourage investment and creative solutions.  Along the way, ensuring equality of opportunity—for our Latino students and for all students of all ages—must remain a key objective.

Perhaps the biggest consistent challenge in educating students is that we can’t prepare them for what’s expected—we must instead prepare them for a future that we cannot foresee.  Embracing today’s digital learning initiatives will help students develop the tools they need to succeed, and paving the way for tomorrow’s networks and innovations will lead us to a future of limitless possibilities and potential for every student.