After the devastating earthquake in September shook partner schools in Puebla, Mexico, the faculty, staff, and students in the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education knew what they needed to do — rally allies and friends to support partner schools in the historic Mexican city that has been so welcoming for more than a decade.
The BUENO Center, based in the CU Boulder School of Education, has partnered with schools in Puebla for more than 10 years to offer the semiannual Puebla Summer Institute in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City. First established by Professor Leonard Baca and Lorenso Aragón and then continued by Professor Kathy Escamilla, the relationships with several local schools and other partners in Puebla have allowed hundreds of U.S. teachers to experience firsthand literacy instruction in our neighbor country through the Puebla Summer Institute.
Last month, the BUENO Center's David Nieto and Manuel Escamilla visited partners in Puebla to prepare for the 2018 Puebla Summer Institute, and they brought with them an added surprise — more than $7,000 in total donations from students, staff, and friends of the BUENO Center to contribute to the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged local schools, such as Escuela Héroe de Nacozari.
“When we heard that the earthquakes had seriously damaged our school partners’ buildings, there was no hesitation to find ways to help,” said Nieto, director of the BUENO Center. “For that purpose, Professor Sue Hopewell established a Go Fund Me account so that we all could contribute to the rebuilding of the schools.”
The effort, perhaps even more important than the dollars raised, offered a gesture of gratitude for the longstanding partnership and support of partner schools that have been so hospitable to BUENO Center instructors and local teachers and students.
“This is especially significant given the historical connections between the U.S. and Mexico and the number of students currently in our classrooms who were born in Mexico or whose heritage is from Mexico,” Nieto said. “Our friends in Mexico were moved and honored that so many people had decided to contribute. I was truly humbled by the whole experience they had to go through because of the earthquake and amazed at the strength and courage they continue to show in the face of adversity.”
This summer, the BUENO Center and local teachers will return for the Puebla Summer Institute from June 10-15. The immersive bilingual institute in beautiful Puebla is for educators interested in learning more about the comprehensive biliteracy model, Literacy Squared, that has been designed to accelerate the development of biliteracy for Spanish-English speaking children.