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IE Latino Voices shines light on Latino-led and serving organizations.

August 30: IE Latino Voices

Dr. Edwin Gomez

English | Español

Yvette Walker With 91.9 KVCR News, I'm Yvette Walker. This is IE Latino Voices where we invite representatives from Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations to share their stories and their impact in our region. Today we've invited Dr. Edwin Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. Thank you so much for being with us today, Dr. Gomez.

Dr. Edwin Gomez

Thank you, Yvette. It's truly an honor to be here. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Yvette

Dr. Gomez, please talk about what it means to be a superintendent of schools.

Dr. Gomez

Yeah, I'm the proud Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. We work with our 23 school districts, we have 430,000 students, and our county is as large as the state of New Jersey. So, we're very large, we're very diverse. And so, one of my authoritative responsibilities is to ensure that all of our districts are fiscally solvent. So, we do a very good job in ensuring that we have the support and the customer service to ensure that our school districts are on the right track of being positive in their certification.

Yvette

Please talk about programs you are most proud of.

Dr. Gomez

We have four initiatives. And the first initiative is on Mental Health. As we know, mental health has been a very, very serious topic since the inception of COVID. But I think we've done a very, very good job of implementing an initiative that is student centered, empathy based, compassionate. And we've opened up eleven care spaces across the county, which offer free mental health services to all of our students. I think in the last couple of years we’ve serviced over 4000 students and families, completely free. And I think it's been very, very powerful. The second initiative that we're very proud of is our Equity & Inclusive Practices Initiative. I think it's important in this climate that we're in, in today's society, that we're very conscientious of being equity minded. And whether it's in math, in social studies, in literature, we want to ensure that our students are getting accessibility. We want to be mindful of equitable practices and hiring. Equitable practices in how we're delivering pedagogy and curriculum I think is very, very important. And then the next initiative is Financial Literacy. And I think financial literacy, especially for our Latino community, is something that is really, really critical for our high school students, for our middle school students as well, giving them that orientation on what it means to have a savings account, to have a checking account, to invest their funds and money, and to ensure that they can be the next generation of entrepreneurs and multimillionaires. And in a couple of months we are going to launch a financial literacy app. And it will provide free financial literacy to all students in Riverside County. So we're very excited about that. The last initiative is our Literacy by 5th Grade Initiative, basically focusing on the importance of literacy for all grades, making sure that our students are ready for middle school and high school, and obviously for college and career readiness. But with that notion of college and career readiness, currently at the Riverside County Office of Education, we have 85 career pathways that we offer our students. So, if they want to go into the medical field, if they want to go into engineering, if they want to go into mechanics, if they want to go into aviation, and the list goes on and on. We want to provide viable resources, viable programs where students can have the skills and the equipping so that they can be marketable, so that they can enter into these professions, and be truly in a space where they're ready to begin a career that pays well, that they can provide for their families and also be an asset to the community. And so we're very proud of that work. And we think that continuing on this notion of Career, Technical Education and Career Pathways is the way to go because obviously, not every student is wanting to go to a four year institution, which is okay. But we also want them to have the tools, the skills and the mentality to be successful in life.

Yvette

Please share what you're most proud of as Superintendent of Schools.

Dr. Gomez

I think for me, being able to connect with our students is the most important thing. And as stated, you know, we're a very diverse community. So being able to spend time with our students within RCOE, we we have our own student based programs and alternative education programs. We have students in the jail system. And so being able to work with them, and we have wonderful educators, teachers that also work in special education. Having that connection with our students I think is what makes us passionate about what we do because we see the potential in them. We obviously are very aware that many of our students face challenges, whether it's socio economics, whether it's trauma, whether it's issues with their families. We're very optimistic and we have very high expectations for our students and we know that they can overcome anything in life.

Yvette

Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us today, Dr. Gomez.

Dr. Edwin Gomez My pleasure. Thank you.

Yvette Walker

Join us again next week for IE Latino Voices. You can find this story and others on our website at kvcrnews.org/ielatinovoices. IE Latino Voices is produced by KVCR Public Media and is funded by generous support from the CIELO fund at IECF, uplifting and investing in the IE’s Latino community. For KVCR news, I'm Yvette Walker.

Español

Yvette Walker Con 91.9 KVCR News, soy Yvette Walker. Este es IE Latino Voices, donde invitamos a representantes de organizaciones lideradas por latinos y que sirven a latinos para compartir sus historias y su impacto en nuestra región. Hoy hemos invitado al Dr. Edwin Gómez, Superintendente de Escuelas del Condado de Riverside. Muchas gracias por estar con nosotros hoy, Dr. Gómez.

Dr. Edwin Gómez

Gracias, Yvette. Es realmente un honor estar aquí. Estoy deseando que llegue la conversación.

Yvette

Dr. Gómez, hable sobre lo que significa ser superintendente de escuelas.

Doctor Gomez

Sí, soy el orgulloso Superintendente de Escuelas del Condado de Riverside. Trabajamos con nuestros 23 distritos escolares, tenemos 430.000 estudiantes y nuestro condado es tan grande como el estado de Nueva Jersey. Somos muy grandes y muy diversos. Por eso, una de mis responsabilidades autorizadas es garantizar que todos nuestros distritos sean financieramente solventes. Por lo tanto, hacemos un muy buen trabajo al asegurarnos de contar con el apoyo y el servicio al cliente para garantizar que nuestros distritos escolares estén en el camino correcto para obtener una certificación positiva.

Yvette

Hable sobre los programas de los que se sienta más orgulloso.

Doctor Gomez

Tenemos cuatro iniciativas. Y la primera iniciativa es sobre Salud Mental. Como sabemos, la salud mental ha sido un tema muy, muy serio desde el inicio de la COVID. Pero creo que hemos hecho un muy, muy buen trabajo al implementar una iniciativa centrada en los estudiantes, basada en la empatía y compasiva. Y hemos abierto once espacios de atención en todo el condado, que ofrecen servicios de salud mental gratuitos a todos nuestros estudiantes. Creo que en los últimos años hemos atendido a más de 4000 estudiantes y familias, completamente gratis. Y creo que ha sido muy, muy poderoso. La segunda iniciativa de la que estamos muy orgullosos es nuestra Iniciativa de Equidad y Prácticas Inclusivas. Creo que es importante en este clima en el que nos encontramos, en la sociedad actual, que seamos muy conscientes de tener una mentalidad equitativa. Y ya sea en matemáticas, estudios sociales o literatura, queremos asegurarnos de que nuestros estudiantes tengan accesibilidad. Queremos ser conscientes de las prácticas y la contratación equitativas. Creo que las prácticas equitativas en la forma en que impartimos pedagogía y currículo son muy, muy importantes. Y luego la siguiente iniciativa es la Educación Financiera. Y creo que la educación financiera, especialmente para nuestra comunidad latina, es algo realmente crítico para nuestros estudiantes de secundaria, también para nuestros estudiantes de escuela intermedia, dándoles esa orientación sobre lo que significa tener una cuenta de ahorros, tener una cuenta corriente, para invertir sus fondos y dinero, y para garantizar que puedan ser la próxima generación de empresarios y multimillonarios. Y en un par de meses lanzaremos una aplicación de educación financiera. Y brindará educación financiera gratuita a todos los estudiantes del condado de Riverside. Así que estamos muy entusiasmados con eso. La última iniciativa es nuestra Alfabetización para 5to Grado iniciativo, que básicamente se centra en la importancia de la alfabetización para todos los grados, asegurándose de que nuestros estudiantes estén preparados para la escuela intermedia y secundaria y, obviamente, para la universidad y la carrera profesional. Pero con esa noción de preparación universitaria y profesional, actualmente en la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Riverside, tenemos 85 carreras profesionales que ofrecemos a nuestros estudiantes. Entonces, si quieren ingresar al campo de la medicina, si quieren ingresar a la ingeniería, si quieren ingresar a la mecánica, si quieren ingresar a la aviación, y la lista sigue y sigue. Queremos brindar recursos viables, programas viables donde los estudiantes puedan tener las habilidades y el equipamiento para que puedan ser comercializables, para que puedan ingresar a estas profesiones y estar verdaderamente en un espacio donde estén listos para comenzar una carrera que bien pagado, que puedan mantener a sus familias y también ser un activo para la comunidad. Y por eso estamos muy orgullosos de ese trabajo. Y creemos que continuar con esta noción de carrera, educación técnica y trayectorias profesionales es el camino a seguir porque, obviamente, no todos los estudiantes quieren ir a una institución de cuatro años, lo cual está bien. Pero también queremos que tengan las herramientas, las habilidades y la mentalidad para tener éxito en la vida.

Yvette

Maravilloso. Muchas gracias por compartir su tiempo con nosotros hoy, Dr. Gómez.

Dr. Edwin Gomez

Un placer. Gracias.

Yvette Walker

Únase a nosotros nuevamente la próxima semana para IE Latino Voices. Puede encontrar esta historia y otras en nuestro sitio web en kvcrnews.org/ielatinovoices. IE Latino Voices es una producción de KVCR Public Media y está financiada por el generoso apoyo del fondo CIELO de IECF, que anima e invierte en la comunidad latina de IE. Para noticias de KVCR, soy Yvette Walker.

Yvette Walker is a Spanish bilingual, Southern California native and owner of Premier Marketing & Public Relations, a full-service, digital media and traditional media marketing and public relations firm and produces and hosts ABC News Affiliate - Southern California Business Report.