Pa'Lante Tech Center

Programs operated by the Richmond Region Council is primarily focused on older youth and young adult education, Civic Engagement, Advocacy, and family and community technology.  All of these efforts exist under the Pa'lante Tech Center program.

 

BACKGROUND
The motivation to establish the LULAC Pa’lante Technology Center is in direct response to new data released October 2018 by the VA Department of Education showing the on-time graduation rate for Richmond Public Schools students fell to 75.4 percent last year, down from 76.9 percent in 2017 when it posted the state’s second-worst rate. The breakdown of the report lists RPS Latino students as having the lowest (38%) graduation rate and highest (60%) drop-out of all the districts within the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The urgent need to develop the Center was based on the findings uncovered at the conclusion of the Huguenot High School LULAC – Ford Driving Dreams 2017-19 Grant cycle on June 15, 2019: 

  • Below-average levels of language proficiency and reading comprehension were identified as tremendous barriers to passing the VA Department of Education Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Hours were directed towards helping the youth find resources to overcome this challenge. 

  • As a result of the 2017 RPS School Board decision to rezone students in effort to address student population imbalances in the schools resulted in increasing disadvantages for Latinx students, particularly newcomers to our country who have little to no language skills.  As a result of the rezoning, ESL teachers and ESL resources were not sufficiently allocated to newly assigned schools. 

  • Assessments of the greatest barriers and challenges to learning and personal development were conducted with students in collaboration with bilingual guidance counselors, home visits, and individual conversations.  These assessments uncovered significant needs for additional learning opportunities to ESL students in the school system.

PURPOSE            
The Tech Center aims to create a safe environment as a resource where students across a broad age range and their parents can confidently gain technology skills in collaboration with the Richmond Public Schools Welcome Center, Office of Community Wealth Building, and Richmond City Parks and Recreation. The environment is designed to encourage an interactive, safe learning space for Latino students and their families with a specific focus on guiding new arrival to this country through the education process. Various learning skills are woven throughout programs in addition to: 

  • exposing Latino students to high-quality, engaging digital tools that integrate language and literacy development with deep content learning 

  • engaging parents in every stage of the learning process 

  • working to develop parents’ familiarity with technology to increase their confidence in using them alongside their children.

 

The Learning Lab will be open during office hours to supplement or augment the Spanish- speaking students’ instructional time in specific academic disciplines or more intensive academic assistance on course-related work—with the goal of tutoring these students keep pace with their peers. Identified areas of persistent difficulties include: 

WHAT WILL IT OFFER? *

  • Computer literacy 

  • Art & graphic design

  • Google Suite/Microsoft Suite

  • Email 101 and internet navigation

  • Financial literacy

  • English & Spanish conversation

  • Reading/writing comprehension tutoring 

  • SOL preparation 

  • College & scholarship search

  • STEM related activities & educational opportunities

* Classes are offered by demand and developed and taught in partnership with community members 

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