A Conversation with Achieve60AZ

What Latinx Education Leaders are Doing to Help Their Students and Communities

Amanda Aguirre, Marla Franco, David Verdugo, Vince Yanez

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an indelible impact on education. It has forced us to take a hard look at how we deliver education, and highlighted the inequities that exist in terms of access to technology and resources. We spoke with four Latinx education leaders about these challenges, and how we can meet the basic needs of all students so that they are ready and able to learn.

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Addressing the Education Challenges for Native Students

Serena Denetsosie, Karen Francis-Begay, Jim Larney, Charles “Monty” Roessel

The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected many students, but one student group that may be affected more dramatically than others is Native Americans. Many of our tribal reservations across the country, and here in Arizona, have been dealing with the digital divide since long before schools closed in March, hindering students’ abilities to complete their coursework. On top of that, many tribes were hit hard by the virus – often due to a lack of resources, like access to grocery stores, or even running water. We spoke to four Native American educators about what their students have been experiencing and the steps we need to take to help Native students and all of Arizona.

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The Steps Community College Leaders are Taking to Help Arizona

Lee Lambert, Stacy Klippenstein, Darcy Renfro

Community college is a crucial piece of the education system for learners throughout Arizona, and an important tool to drive Arizona’s economy. As unemployment numbers continue to rise, more people are looking for ways to reskill and upskill. Community colleges become especially important in helping people prepare to enter the post-COVID workforce. We spoke to three community college leaders from across the state to hear what they and their institutions are doing to help students and communities during this time.

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How College Students are Feeling about Changes to Education Surrounding COVID-19 Pandemic

Roxana Figiel, Celso Bahena Jr, Betsy Muñoz

Students in every sector of education have been affected by the pandemic – having to transition suddenly to online learning, and many university students having to return home, sometimes with only a few days’ notice. Like many of us, these students are worrying what next semester will look like, and they’re left wondering if this will affect the job market they’ll enter after college. We spoke with three current college students from around Arizona to get some ideas on what they’re thinking about right now and where they are finding hope for Arizona’s future. We believe strongly that student voices need to be heard and valued – so we wanted them to be the first people we spoke to for our Road to Attainment series. We also wanted to ensure we were getting a wide range of voices and opinions, so we spoke with 3 students from different backgrounds including an adult learner– a critical population to reach for the achievement of our 60% educational attainment goal.

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A New Normal for Education that Really Works

Rachel Yanof, Executive Director

There is a lot of talk about “returning to normal” and what that means, post-pandemic.

Over the past few months, in the scramble to move to online and distance learning, the challenges of our education system have been exposed like never before. As a former teacher, principal, school-system leader, and now head of an organization that supports the statewide goal to see 60 percent of Arizonans have a certificate or degree by 2030 – I propose that we can never go back to “normal” in education.

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