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Creating a Home for All Students: An LEI Photo Essay

on Friday, 26 April 2019.

One of the most important recommendations offered at the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) and Adelante each summer is to create a culturally responsive school environment. First impressions can have a tremendous impact on prospective families, whether it be culturally responsive imagery displayed prominently throughout the building, or simply a welcoming face and a familiar language spoken in the front office. These environmental markers—physical manifestations in the school building of students’ home culture, faith, and language—are important indicators to parents and children that the school values their specific Catholic and ethnic identities.

We asked some of the school leaders who are currently enrolled in the LEI to share a photo or two that captures their efforts to modify their school environment in a way that would resonate with the Latino families they serve. Scroll through the photos below to see some of the things that our LEI principals have been doing this year in their schools.

  • HolyCross GuadalupeMass
  • MetroCatholic 2
  • StJohnBosco 2
  • QueenOfAllSaints-3
  • St. Andrew School_Dia de Muertos
  • QueenOfAllSaints-4
  • StBasil DiaDeLosMuertos
  • StBasil OLG 1
  • St. Charles Borromeo_Milwaukee, WI
  • Metro Catholic_Bilingual Signage
  • StFrancesCabrini 3
  • MetroCatholic 1
  • StAndrewDelevan 3
  • "At Holy Cross School, we held a beautiful Mass to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our pastor retold the story of Our Lady's apparation to Juan Diego as our students reenacted it, which really helped illustrate this miraculous event. There was a procession of roses to the altar, followed by a fiesta in the gym, and our Pre-K and Kindergarten students all sang in front of the altar after the meal. The beautiful statue of Our Lady, as seen in the photo above, was a gift from last year's 8th grade class to the school and was brought here from Mexico by one of our families. It was such a beautiful event without all of our wonderfully devoted school parents who helped decorate and prepare the meal, as well as all of our teachers who taught our children about Our Lady of Guadalupe and prepared them to celebrate in such a beautiful way."

    Angie Budzinski | Principal
    Holy Cross Catholic School | South Bend, Indiana
  • "Every faculty member now has copies of four different cultural images of the Holy Family or Mary. These are on display in our hallways and in offices so that we can celebrate the four major cultures that are in our school."

    Mary Lou Toler | Principal
    Metro Catholic School | Cleveland, Ohio
  • "This past year the students of St. John Bosco Catholic School came together to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Under the direction of Spanish teacher Johana Bautista, kindergartners through 8th-graders created colorful sugar skulls from scratch and papel picado banners. These beautifully-decorated creations adorned the campus chapel altar for visitors to enjoy for two full weeks.The students also performed various songs in Spanish, danced to traditional rhythms, and even staged a fashion show! Coming together as a community to create such an event helps students and families better understand and appreciate this Mexican tradition and surrounds them with a taste of authentic culture."

    Anita Petitti | Principal
    St. John Bosco Catholic School | Phoenix, Arizona
  • "At Queen of All Saints, our entire community participated in a procession after a family donated a new statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the school."

    Marie Arter | Principal
    Queen of All Saints Catholic School | Michigan City, Indiana
  • "At St. Andrew School, we constructed an altar for Día de los Muertos and displayed it prominently in our hallway."

    Randy Green | Principal
    St. Andrew Catholic School | Delavan, Wisonsin
  • "Viviana Pacheco is our new bilingual school administrative assistant. She joined our school family last August."

    Marie Arter | Principal
    Queen of All Saints Catholic School | Michigan City, Indiana
  • "Our students were so excited to learn about and celebrate El Día de los Muertos this year. Here, they're showing off los esqueletos that they made."

    Camille DeLano | Principal
    Saint Basil Catholic School | South Haven, Michigan
  • "Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe has become a beautiful tradition at our school. Here, our students are placing roses on the altar we put together for la virgencita.

    Camille DeLano | Principal
    Saint Basil Catholic School | South Haven, Michigan
  • "On Wednesday, December 12, our fourth grade students led the school in the Feast Day for our Lady of Guadalupe. In preparation for this Mass, they spent time learning about the cultural significance, as well as collaborated with a mom of one of our fourth grade students on a painting of the Blessed Mother. This was the first time in recent years that we celebrated this feast day as a school community. The painting that the fourth graders made was blessed by Father Brian and is hanging proudly in our school."

    Courtney Albright | Principal
    Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic School | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • "This year we created a portable promotional sign, which we took to all of our meetings. We used it recently when connecting with Hispanic families at Esperanza, a local organization that helps families navigate educational and community options and resources."

    Mary Lou Toler | Principal
    Metro Catholic School | Cleveland, Ohio
  • This year, our 5th and 6th graders who honored/celebrated both Día de Los Muertos and All Saints Day. Our students researched the history, meaning, and traditions of both days and how they are relevant to our Catholic Church and identity."

    Victor Gonzales | Principal
    St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School | Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • "We have taught our students the sign of the cross in four different languages—one language each quarter—and use it over announcements every day during prayer. "

    Mary Lou Toler | Principal
    Metro Catholic School | Cleveland, Ohio
  • "For the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we built a beautiful shrine to la virgencita in our school hallway."

    Randy Green | Principal
    St. Andrew Catholic School | Delavan, Wisonsin

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