Did you know that White and Asian students are 1.8 times more likely to enroll in AP and IB courses versus their Black and Latino peers regardless of grades and desire? Schools, teachers, principals, superintendents and PTOs/PTAs can help to address this disparity. Today’s episode shines a light on some of the inequities that exist in K-12 schooling, how they manifest, and how school districts, teachers, and PTA/PTO can address these inequities.
About Our Guest: Dolores Caamano, Managing Director, Partnership Development, Equal Opportunity Schools
Dolores Caamano knows what it feels like to have to work six, and most times, 10 times harder just to be seen, just to be heard. As a Latina student who grew up in poverty in a single-parent household, nothing came easy. Not the nice clothes. Not the home-cooked meals. And definitely not the perfect family. She did well in school – in fact, school was the only place where she didn’t have to be the poor girl from an unstable family. At school, she could be the smart, aggressive, go-getter. That had a better ring to it, so she went with that.
Dolores thrived off her positive adult interactions with her teachers. Why? Well, because she didn’t get them at home. And even though her teachers thought the world of her, she never quite fit the mold of the ideal student. Maybe it was the smell of smoke on her clothes or the fact that her mom never showed up for a PTA meeting, but Dolores realized that there was only so much she could do alone. Fortunately for Dolores, all that changed her freshman year. Mrs. Padalecki (P for short) was her journalism teacher. P pushed, encouraged, and supported Dolores in ways no adult had ever done before. She didn’t lower the standards for Dolores because she knew life was hard at home. No, she did the opposite. She made sure Dolores was involved and had access to every opportunity that she knew would get her to where she wanted to be. By senior year, Dolores was a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar, which gave Dolores a full-ride scholarship to any university of her choice.
Dolores always had a passion for journalism, but once she graduated from The University of Missouri, she knew she wanted to be to students what Mrs. Padalecki was to her – their Trusted Adult. After 8 years as a high school teacher, Dolores joined Equal Opportunity Schools as a Partnership Director to ensure schools all over the country had the tools and support they needed to truly SEE students who so often go unseen – outside of GPA and test score – a full, 360-view of who they are and who they want to be. EOS was the only thing that could take Dolores out of the classroom. Now, as the Managing Director for Partnership Development, Dolores uses her lens as a low-income student of color, teacher, and Partnership Director to guide her conversations with prospective districts across the country.
This show is brought to you by K-12 Clothing. K-12 Clothing is a PTA-Dad created business focused on providing high-quality school apparel while increasing access to educational resources through fundraising in schools. Learn more at k12clothing.com