Shannon L. Ortiz
The current statistics on the New Haven Public School's demographic is as follows:
20,759-student enrollment Asian American: 1.24% African American: 54.82% Hispanic: 30.95% Indian American: 0.05 White: 11.08% Other: 1.86%
These numbers demonstrate the amount of Hispanic students within our district from various Latin American and Caribbean countries. This influx has caused a need for more bi-lingual education along with English as a Second Language support for students who have difficulties adjusting to the English Language expectations and standards set forth by the State of Connecticut. This unit will give students who deal with the effects of assimilation and diaspora an opportunity to contextualize their experience. Additionally, native students will have an opportunity to become familiar with the circumstances that affect their peers and others within their community.
Furthermore, there is very little Puerto Rican Literature taught at our school. This is often because many English teachers do not know the nuances and complexities of the Puerto Rican experience or the difficulties with assimilating into the United States. However, it is essential that a district with over a third of its students identified as Hispanic expose its students to a diverse Hispanic literature. Our school does teach Mexican authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Dominican authors, such as Julia Alvarez, and Columbian authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez to expose students to a variety of literature. Yet many of our students have not been exposed to Puerto Rican authors, which is disheartening because most of our Hispanic students are Puerto Rican. This unit will allow me and my colleagues an opportunity to expose our students to different Puerto Rican artists whose experiences here vary as much as our students' experiences vary.