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Board approves recognition of Filipino Heritage and History Month (01-14-20)

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Shannon Haber, 213-241-6766                                      January 14, 2020

 Board approves recognition of Filipino Heritage and History Month            

First resolution by Student Board Member Frances Suavillo

LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing Filipino Heritage and History Month starting next October. The sponsor, Student Board Member Frances Suavillo, is originally from the Philippines, and moved here at the age of nine. She is a senior at Carson Senior High School.

“Los Angeles Unified is so diverse and rich in culture,” Student Board Member Suavillo said. “This resolution directs all schools ‘to accurately represent and celebrate Filipino history and heritage,’ and also provide ample opportunities for students to explore the historical and cultural aspects of the Filipino-American community, and of the Philippines.”

Under this resolution, the superintendent will explore establishing dual language instruction in Tagalog or any of that country’s major dialects. Currently, dual language instruction is offered in English and Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Arabic, Armenian or French.

“Los Angeles Unified is the most diverse big city in the country, where America comes to see its future, a future where all students have an understanding of the world around them and are prepared for all of the opportunities in an increasingly global economy,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “We are pleased to celebrate our Filipino students, educators, employees and families.”

All board members signed on to co-sponsor this resolution.

“I am proud to support our Filipino students and families and to be a partner in celebrating Filipino heritage and history,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “I commend our Student Board Member Frances Suavillo, for her leadership and initiative on this resolution. She is truly a great example.”

“Students who can think, read and write in two or more languages have an advantage in life,” Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg said. “Our dual-language programs offer class-level instruction in two languages including students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. It is high time we add Tagalog and other Filipino languages to our course offerings.”

“Diversity is one of our District’s greatest assets,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “We are pleased to lift up the contributions of Filipinos in Los Angeles and beyond with the addition of the Filipino Heritage and History Month.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution along with our Board Member, Frances Suavillo,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Thank you Board Member Suavillo for your leadership on this matter and for honoring the identities of our Filipino students, families and staff. We welcome Tagalog dual language programs in my District!”

“It is an honor to celebrate the rich history of the Philippines and recognize the many extraordinary contributions that Filipino-Americans have made to the development and growth of our nation,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “We should continue working hard to expose our students to different languages and cultures so that they will join the next generation of global leaders.”

“Our diversity makes us stronger, as a district, a city, and a country—no matter what we hear from the White House,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I’m proud to support this celebration of our Filipino community and look forward to October 2020 when we will kick off this celebration of Filipino Heritage Month!”

“I’m proud to recognize the culture, history, and contributions of Filipinos in Los Angeles and beyond,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “We are fortunate in Los Angeles Unified to serve a diverse student population, and I’m eager to look at expanding our dual language programs to be inclusive of our Filipino community members.”