K-12 Educational Programs
Manhattanville College/El Centro Hispano
Last year Hispanic students at White Plains High School received academic support during the school year through this tutorial program, which was inaugurated in 1989. The program, which helps students successfully complete their studies at the high school, is in place this year also. The students are provided with tutoring, information on career opportunities, and with direct assistance regarding post-secondary educational options, college choices, application procedures, and financial aid. From January through June we had an enrollment of 111 students. From September through December and continuing this year, 95 students are currently enrolled. That number will increase as the school year progresses. In 2018 the program was funded by the White Plains Public Schools, Manhattanville College and the Westchester County Youth Bureau.
The Lanza My Older Sister Mi Hermana Mayor
This mentoring/tutorial program, which was inaugurated in the fall of 2010, pairs 20 sixth grade female Hispanic students at the White Plains Middle School – Eastview Campus with Hispanic “sisters” attending Manhattanville College, Lehman College, Mercy College, Iona College, Manhattan College, Brooklyn College, City College and Westchester Community College as well as White Plains and Scarsdale High Schools. These young women and volunteers encourage the academic success of their “sisters” and support their college aspirations as they tutor them in Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, French and Spanish. Program participants have community/corporate role models. The program was designed around an environment that values the students’ Latino heritage, culture, and language and demands full parent participation and commitment. It operates three times a week (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays) from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. during the school year.
It is a collaborative program between El Centro Hispano and the White Plains Public Schools. In 2018 it was funded by, the Lanza Family Foundation, the Patrina Foundation, Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, and the Westchester County Youth Bureau.
The Lanza My Older Brother - Mi Hermano Mayor
Because of the success of The Lanza My Older Sister Program, a similar program was designed to support Hispanic sixth grade boys attending the White Plains Middle School. The program was inaugurated in September 2013 at the Middle School’s Eastview Campus. The program is offered three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) during the school year from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. In 2018 it was funded by, the Lanza Family Foundation, the Hitchcock Presbyterian Church and the Westchester County Youth Bureau.
The program pairs 15 sixth grade male Hispanic students with tutors from surrounding colleges, and White Plains High School. The older tutors encourage the success of their “brothers” and tutor them in Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, French and Spanish.
The Lanza My Older Sister/Brother –
Mi Hermana(o) Mayor
The Academy, inaugurated in 2012 and redesigned in 2013, is an intensive Saturday tutorial program for middle and high school students from the White Plains Public Schools. It includes focused one-on-one tutoring in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Spanish, and French.
In 2018, 50 Hispanic seventh through twelfth grade students participated in the tutorial program from January - June. A total of 50 students were enrolled in the program from September – December.
In 2018 the program was funded by the Perkins Family.
Summer Literacy Academy
El Centro Hispano inaugurated a Summer Literacy Academy for Hispanic children in July of 2010. The program offers reading comprehension support and enrichment activities to second and third graders four days a week for two months during the summer. The Academy is divided into two sessions of two hours each: one session for 25-second graders Mondays and Wednesdays and another session for 25 third graders Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since 2014 this program has been housed at Post Road Elementary School, thanks to the generosity of the Post Road staff and the White Plains School System.
The children in the program were selected because their performance in school and on standardized tests demonstrated a need for support in reading. They came from families where the parents were not able to help them because of their own unfamiliarity with English, because they were working several jobs and did not have time to help their children, or because of lapses in their own education. In 2018 the Academy was funded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau and St. Faith’s House Foundation.
El Centro Hispano Early Literacy Program
This afterschool program began in January 2013 thanks to the generosity of Sr. St. John Delany, Associate Professor at Pace University’s School of Education and Director of the Center for Literacy Enrichment. It serves 10 kindergarteners and 15 first grade Hispanic students from September through May. The program offers pre-literacy and literacy support two days a week during the school year from 4:30-5:30 p.m. to kindergarten children and two days a week to first graders at Post Road Elementary School.
Several volunteers from El Centro Hispano help with the tutoring. In 2018 St. Faith’s Foundation funded it.
Culture through Technology Program
The Culture through Technology Program which began in 2001 met last year on Saturdays at the Technology Center and 20 fourth and fifth graders participated in the program from January - June. 20 students were enrolled in the program from September – December.
Half of the class time is devoted to developing students’ reading ability and to tutoring them and thus strengthening their academic skills. During the rest of the class time, students discuss topics such as: the importance of nutrition, responsibility, bullying, school environment, relationship with parents, manners and etiquette, and global warming. After each discussion, the students talk about how these themes differ across cultures. Every student develops a project as a culmination of their time in the program. The project demonstrates the students’ technological, academic, and cultural knowledge as a result of taking the class.
In September 2014, to continue helping the students who had participated in the program as 4th graders and were no longer eligible for the program, we added a new component with the purpose of improving their study skills. The 17 5th grade students meet every Saturday from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at El Centro Hispano’s Technology Center throughout the school year. In this program, students are taught different study strategies and techniques that they can use to improve their academic progress. Some of the topics that are discussed include: how to be organized, the importance of setting short-term and long-term goals, how to improve reading comprehension, test-taking strategies, and many others. In 2018 the program was funded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau.
Bilingual Girl Scouts Troop
This troop, founded in 1974, is one of the oldest continually running programs of El Centro Hispano. In 2018, our Girl Scouts troop was composed of 65 actively participating girls: 8 Daisies, 20 Brownies, 6 Juniors, 12 Cadettes, 9 Seniors /Ambassadors, and a Mixed Group (2 Daisies, 5 juniors and 3 Cadettes) that was created to accommodate the girls who could not meet on the dates their group was meeting. The girls met twice a month for one hour and a half on Mondays, except the Mixed Group that met four times a month on Fridays. The Girl Scouts participated in scouting activities and performed countless hours of community service while learning to become better citizens.
Bilingual Scouts Pack and Troop
For the first time in 13 years since its establishment, the former Boy Scouts troop has admitted girls into the program. This past year (2018) the former troop was divided into El Centro Hispano’s Pack and El Centro Hispano’s Scouts Troop. Under this new regulation, the following numbers reflect the integration of actively participating boys and girls: 6 Lions, 1 Tiger, 8 Bears, 3 Wolf, 15 Webelos and 14 Boy Scouts for a total of 47 children. The pack meets every other Tuesday for one hour and a half, and the scouts’ troop meets every Friday for the same length of time. They participated in scouting activities, cultural events, and educational programs. Like the Girl Scouts troop, they also performed countless hours of community service while learning to become better citizens.
Since the early 80’s, educational workshops have been offered to parents of children in the White Plains Public Schools. Planned together with staff from the White Plains Public Schools, the workshops were held on weekday evenings at the Chapel Hall at St. Bernard’s Church. This year parents attended sessions
on how to prepare their child for Regents’ exams, the importance of the exams, college planning and post-secondary school options, how to apply for financial aid, and the regulations and mandates of the Special Education Program. The workshops were led by school district staff.
In addition to these workshops, parents of all students in all our educational programs are required to attend an orientation training meeting during the year on what steps to take to ensure their children’s academic success.