Chancellor Fariña Kicks Off Prepárate
Chancellor Fariña Kicks Off PrepárateMaria Eugenia Alcón-Heraux, Director, Communications
What better way to start Prepárate than with Carmen Fariña, New York City School Chancellor, welcoming more than 700 conference attendees.
“Our immigrant kids are an asset, not a deficit,” Chancellor Fariña began. “In this global market, we need students who speak more than one language.”
Chancellor Fariña, who oversees the education of 1.1 million students, told the audience a story about how, when she was in high school, she was forced to take a non-college bound track. Not until a teacher intervened did she get closer to her dream, which was to become a teacher.
“We always seem to have some kind of expectation of kids — based on their looks, their last names, or family income. And that’s got to stop,” she said.
As a daughter of immigrants parents, Chancellor Fariña understood firsthand and early on that parent engagement and support are crucial to college success. She said that many Latino parents expect their children to help contribute financially to their household after high school, but she wants to help these families understand that allowing children to go to college will help them more in the long run.
During her time as Chancellor, Fariña has developed Parent Academies that help parents learn what to expect when their children get to college. When she realized that many younger students also didn’t know what to expect from college, she implemented “College Awareness Day” — an annual event in all NYC schools during which teachers and educators wear their college t-shirts and talk to students about their college experiences.
To make sure New York City students get into college and stay there, Fariña also launched a successful alumni program. Once a month, current college freshman are invited to speak to students at their former high school for dinner, mentoring, and college planning. These conversations allow students to learn about the realities of college life and build their alumni network while in high school.
Chancellor Fariña closed her speech by emphasizing the importance of college for underrepresented groups of students.
“College is not just about an education in terms of book learning— it’s an education in social networking, it’s an education in thinking about the future, and in finding the people you are going to keep in touch with for the rest of your lives so you support each other,” she said.
Sound advice for all students and parents.