K-12 Educational Programs
El Centro Hispano Tutorial Program at White Plains High School
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.
For the 2020-2021 school year, we had an enrollment of 40 students. From September to December, and continuing this year, 85 students are currently enrolled. That number will increase as the school year progresses. The number of students has been limited due to COVID-19 precautions.
In 2021 the program was funded by the White Plains Public Schools 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 local colleges 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 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.
For the 2021-2022 school year, our participating students were able to return to the classroom setting. Although our students had to adjust to the “new normal”, we had a very successful first half of the school year. All participating students were required to wear masks at all times and practice social distancing.
This is a collaborative program between El Centro Hispano and the White Plains Public Schools. In 2021 it was funded by the Lanza Family Foundation 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 2021 the program was funded by the Lanza Family Foundation, 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, and other academic subjects.
For the 2021-2022 school year, our participating students were able to return to the classroom setting. Although our students had to adjust to the “new normal”, we had a very successful first half of the school. All of our participating students were required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
The Perkins Saturday Academy
The Perkins Saturday Academy Program, 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. Thanks to the generosity of Archbishop Stepinac High School, the Academy was held in their state-of-the-art Computer Room every Saturday from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. from its inception until June of 2016 when the program was moved to Eastview Middle School.
Since 2017, to better accommodate students' schedules, the program has been offered from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. to seventh and eighth graders and from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to ninth and twelve graders. In 2021 we were delighted to open the enrollment to Middle school students from Elmsford. We presently have 53 students from White Plains and Elmsford. Students from Elmsford have the option of participating in the program in person or virtually.
The program began the new school year back in the classroom setting, strictly enforced by CDC safety guidelines. In 2021 the program was funded by the Perkins Family and the Elmsford Union Free School District.
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. 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.
In response to COVID-19, the program was revised, and the curriculum fitted to be taught virtually. Unlike previous years, we extended the program for Kindergartners and First graders to better assist our students to navigate the “new normal” in their schools. A total of 50 K-3 students were served. In 2021 the Academy was funded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau and St. Faith’s House Foundation
The Marcia and Richard Cohen Early Literacy Program
This after-school 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. All of the components of the curriculum aid students to thrive in the program and in school.
The goals of the program are to help students with weaker literacy skills, build confidence in tackling difficult assignments, create a fun learning environment that keeps the interest of every student, encourage strong writing ability, and have every student reach reading level by the end of the program. Several volunteers from El Centro Hispano help with the tutoring.
In response to COVID-19, the Early Literacy Program was revised and fitted to be taught virtually. To maintain our children and staff safe, participating students had been required to actively engage with their Program Coordinator three times a week for at least an hour and half to ensure all assignment completion. In order to continue having a successful program, parent and student participation has been strongly encouraged by the Coordinator’s constant communication with all participants.
The program was funded by St. Faith’s Foundation and Marcia’s Light Foundation in 2021.
Culture through Technology Program
The Culture through Technology Program which began in 2001 met last year on Saturdays via Zoom due to COVID-19. A total of 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. These parameters remained the same regardless of the virtual classroom setting.
In 2021 the program was funded by the Westchester County Youth Bureau.
Bilingual Girl Scouts Troop
This troop, founded in 1974, is the oldest continually running program of El Centro Hispano. As a result of COVID-19, all troop activities were moved online from January to August. At the end of 2021, our Troop had 47 girls enrolled. This total includes: 9 Daisies, 8 Brownies, 4 Juniors, 18 Cadettes, and 8 Seniors. The Girl Scouts were able to go back to their regular activities in September at Post Road School.
Bilingual Cub Scouts Pack
El Centro Hispano’s Scouts Troop, which was founded in 2005, closed its chapter in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, the Cub Scouts Pack were very active virtually in 2021 from January to August and resumed their scouting activities in person in September at Post Road Elementary School. Presently, El Centro Hispano’s Cub Scouts Pack has 19 children enrolled.
Planned together with staff from the White Plains Public Schools, parents are given special workshop sessions on college planning and post-secondary school options, and how to apply for financial aid. 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. As a response to the safety regulations mandated by the CDC, our Director of Educational Programs has been meeting with the parents via Zoom or in person at Druss Park, weather permitting.
This year, El Centro Hispano and the White Plains High School Guidance Department hosted a FAFSA workshop on October 14 in-person at the First Baptist Church of White Plains with an attendance of 77 families
Workshops on Other Issues
Since the 1980’s, El Centro has offered workshops on nutrition, major illnesses affecting Hispanics, domestic violence, rights of immigrants, abuse of women, the stock market, housing trends, safe communities, investments, and safe banking practices. These workshops have drawn hundreds of community members eager to learn.
Due to COVID-19, no workshops were offered this year to ensure the safety of our workshop participants. Instead, El Centro kept its social media active with important information for our clients throughout the year.
Internship Program for High School and College Students
The Internship Program, which began in 1985, has included college students attending local colleges and high school students from White Plains High School and Scarsdale High School. Since 2019, the program was revised to be a paid internship, primarily for high school students. This year we were able to hire 1 high school intern, thanks to the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.