Celebrating Latino History and Culture 

CPS introduces new Interdisciplinary Latino & Latin American Studies curriculum

March 12, 2015

Following the success of the African and African-American Studies Curriculum introduced in 2013, CPS has launched a second interdisciplinary program steeped in heritage and culture. 

Rich in history, literature and art, the Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin-American Studies Curriculum challenges students to explore how the themes of culture and identity help shape a society. 

“Latinos are now the largest student demographic in Chicago Public Schools, but for far too long, their ancestral story was relegated to the back pages of our history books,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The history of Chicago cannot be written without celebrating the contributions of immigrants from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Their triumph over ignorance, prejudice and discrimination is the quintessential American story – and finally that story will be told in every grade and in every school across CPS.”

The curriculum was launched this month at a reception hosted by Chicago’s Museum of Mexican Art – an event that featured entertainment by the mariachi ensemble at Cooper Dual Language Academy and the CPS ALT-City Electronic Music Ensemble (BEATS). Catering was provided by Gallery 37 Advanced Arts Program and included small plates from the Americas.

With more than 45 percent of CPS students identifying as Hispanic, (ILLASC) gives many of the District’s youth an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and gain a greater sense of self. 

“This is a curriculum that engages Latino and Latin American content in a deep and meaningful way,” said Jesse Ruiz, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education. “It goes way beyond Hispanic Heritage Month, allowing students to explore, analyze and investing culture, dignity and identity.”

In development for over a year, ILLASC was a collaborative effort across CPS departments and was informed by numerous partners, including the CEO’s Latino Advisory Council. It contains content in a variety of subjects, such as arts, literacy, math and science and serves students in grades K-10. Materials are available for teachers on the district’s Knowledge Center, and related professional development will take place in Summer 2015. 

Page Last Modified on Thursday, March 12, 2015