Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted on 09/12/2022
Mondays with Maria Cover Image



Dr. Maria Vazquez (00:08):
Hello, I'm Maria Vasquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, and this is Mondays with Maria.

Nancy Alvarez (00:16):
Hi everybody, I'm Nancy Alvarez.

Jamie Holmes (00:18):
Hello, I'm Jamie Holmes,

Dr. Maria Vazquez (00:20):
Our first Mondays with Maria. This is exciting. I hope these conversations help you get to know me and our growing school district. This first segment is one that touches me personally. Hispanic Heritage Month. A lot of people don't know this, but Orange County Public Schools is 43% Hispanic.

Nancy Alvarez (00:40):
Wow incredible. I am a proud Cuban OCPS mom, so I will claim two of those kids, two of those the belong to me, but <laugh> watch it. But, uh, I was really surprised by that number.

Jamie Holmes (00:51):
So Dr. Vasquez, how do you go about leading the district so large, so diverse, and what kind of support systems are in place to help?

Dr. Maria Vazquez (00:58):
So, first and foremost, we want our families to feel that they are included, um, that they are welcome and that we need them in order to educate their child. Uh, so there are lots of resources available to them. Some of them may feel that because they don't speak the language, they may not be able to get assistance. But we have individuals at our schools that speak, uh, Spanish and other languages. And then we have the language allowing that helps with the translations. Additionally, for our children, we provide training and professional development for our teachers on cultural awareness. There are resources that we have available that help them acquire the English language and additionally we have, uh, tutoring that's available to them, but we want them to feel that we are partners in educating their children.

Nancy Alvarez (01:45):
Yeah, it's important to note that that language line also includes Creole because we have such a huge Haitian population as well in the district. And you recently held a back to school news conference and you shared some pretty incredible numbers. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Uh, we have over 200 countries represented in OCPS speaking, 166 different dialects. You, yourself came to the US as a child, not speaking a word of English that has to help you really connect with so many of these children that are new here and struggling in classrooms.

Dr. Maria Vazquez (02:16):
It absolutely does. And as a matter of fact, on the very first day of school, um, I was in a classroom where there were two little girls, um, that were recently, uh, here from Honduras. They had left their grandmother behind. You could see the angst, um, and how scared they were, and I was able to speak to them in Spanish, um, and help comfort them. And you could see a little smile emerging by the end of our conversation. It certainly brought back memories of my first day of school.

Jamie Holmes (02:46):
All right. Well, we're very excited and thank you so much for inviting us to be a part of Mondays with Maria.

Nancy Alvarez (02:49):
It's important to note that we're also gonna have this conversation in Espanol.

Dr. Maria Vazquez (03:02):
You got

Jamie Holmes (03:03):

Dr. Maria Vazquez (03:06):
Thank you all for watching. Hispanic Heritage Month begins this week and I am so looking forward to seeing the many activities that I know will be happening all month long and our schools across the district.

Jamie Holmes (03:20):
Stay tuned next week for Mondays with Maria

Dr. Maria Vazquez (03:23):
Adios. Bye.