Margarita’s learning experience using maintenance heritage language

The ALAS (Advanced Language and Academic Studies) mission statement is “to provide every student with a rigorous curriculum that will enhance their opportunities for future study and career possibilities [and to] educate all students to be academically proficient in both Spanish and English. Students will graduate with a profound understanding and commitment to their communities.” To achieve this, ALAS integrates the notions of community-building, cultivation of relationships beyond school walls, and an atmosphere of collaboration, mutual responsibility and respect into their everyday bi-lingual curriculum.

The ALAS staff works to create a school where all parents, regardless of language, have a strong voice in planning and governance, feel valued and accepted, and feel more included in their child’s education. In the 12th grade, ALAS students are encouraged to enroll in the Youth Options Program, a program that allows seniors to take courses for both high school graduation and college credit at Marquette University, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Milwaukee Area Technical College. The program is designed to encourage students to explore the college option while experiencing the level of academic rigor that accompanies it.

About the teacher

Kevin Kuschel graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison with an education degree and continued his education with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He also spent several years in the Peace Corps in Honduras teaching English and History, among other things. He has worked in Milwaukee Public schools for over 20 years, helping to start the small learning communities at South Division High School and then becoming a founding member of ALAS High School. He has presented multiple times at the National Association of Bilingual Education and the National Council of Teachers of English conventions. His travel experience includes Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, China, Japan, Panama, Costa Rica, and France.

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