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Lincoln College Preparatory Academy Spanish teacher Josué Aguilar leads a discussion about families on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Mr. Aguilar is the 2021 Latinx Educator of the Year for the nonprofit Latinx Education Collaborative.


‘This is My Gasoline’: Student Voice Motivates 2021 Latinx Educator of the Year Josué Aguilar 


In Josué Aguilar’s classes, students converse fluently in Spanish about their friends, their families … and their unusual pets. 


“Today we were talking about new families. What is a family? And one of them says, in Spanish, ‘I have an iguana.’ And it was true!” Mr. Aguilar said with a laugh.


Mr. Aguilar, who teaches the Spanish V and International Baccalaureate Spanish classes at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, loves listening to his students share their opinions in Spanish.


“Our society is changing, and it is incredible to hear what they think about diversity, about inclusion, about everything. For me, this is my gasoline, to hear what is on their minds,” Mr. Aguilar said.


It was his deep connection to his students that led Dr. Alberto Villamandos to nominate Mr. Aguilar for the the Latinx Education Collaborative’s 2021 Latinx Educator of the Year award. 


“Josué contributes to their pride in their cultural identity and sense of belonging,” Dr. Villamandos, Spanish Department Chair at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said. “He proves to them that their culture, their language, has value, and that they have knowledge and skills they don’t even realize.”


WHY LATINX? Click here to read about the terminology we’re using in this story on the Latinx Education Collaborative’s website.      


The nonprofit Latinx Education Collaborative provides resources for Latinx students and teachers while trying to recruit more teachers of color. About a quarter of all students in the U.S. identify as Latinx, but only 8% of educators. 


Mr. Aguilar, who identifies as Mexican and grew up in Oaxaca, said all students, not just those who identify as Latinx, benefit when when they have Hispanic teachers.



Lincoln College Preparatory Academy Spanish teacher Josué Aguilar leads a discussion about families in the International Baccalaureate Spanish class.


“Because we are here. We are part of the city. And we teach and do many important jobs. It is important to be noticed,” Mr. Aguilar said.  


KCPS World Languages Coordinator Diane Bosilevac praised Mr. Aguilar for creating a classroom culture where all students feel comfortable sharing.


“His classes discuss difficult topics that most Americans want to avoid,” she said. “He has also created a book club with his students and the students of UMKC. When students gather from different environments to learn from one another, magic happens.”


Both students who speak Spanish at home and students who only speak Spanish at school take Mr. Aguilar’s classes. He’s been senior Sidney Richardson’s Spanish teacher since tenth grade.


“He handled COVID very well,” Sidney said. “My biggest exposure to Spanish is through my Spanish class, and he created assignments that challenged us to read, write and speak. He also showed us different cultures, which is a big part of the IB program.”


For his part, Mr. Aguilar said he’s lucky he gets to teach so many highly motivated students.


“The Spanish level here is really, really good. We have students who come from Foreign Language Academy who are fluent,” Mr. Aguilar said. “Yes, I can tell which of my students speak Spanish at home, but in my classroom, they are all participating, they are all reading, they are all doing the work.”


Congratulations, Mr. Aguilar, for representing LCPA and KCPS in the 2021 Latinx Educator of the Year contest!


Did you like this story? Click here to share it online!




KCPS Updates COVID Guidelines, Mask Policy


Throughout the pandemic, KCPS has been dedicated to following the science. As a result, we currently have a less than 1% positivity rate in our schools. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance regarding face masks in schools. With guidance from our trusted community health partners, the Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors and administration agreed on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, to end our mask mandate, effective immediately. KCPS will no longer require face masks be worn while on KCPS campuses, at KCPS sites, on KCPS transportation or at KCPS events at this time.


The exception is Head Start. Head Start remains under a federal mask mandate. Head Start students and employees should continue to mask while those guidelines are reviewed. 


We are grateful for this good news but also recognize the virus will continue to evolve. We also know that some employees and students, particularly those at high risk because of medical conditions, will choose to continue wearing masks. We encourage you to make the choice that is right for your student and family. 

Despite the drop in COVID cases and hospitalizations, we are still in a global pandemic. If your child has COVID-19 symptoms, please do not send them to school. KCPS, the Kansas City Health Department, Children’s Mercy Hospital, along with area pharmacies, offer free COVID-19 testing. Click here to find a free COVID-19 test or contact your school nurse for more information about testing at school. 


Vaccination is the leading public health strategy to end the pandemic. Boosters offer additional protection against Omicron and other variants. Vaccines are available for free for everyone 5 and older. Click here to make a free vaccine appointment today. 


If you have questions, concerns or input regarding our COVID-19 safety plans, please email [email protected] or click on the “Let’s Talk” feature at the top of every page on our website. We commit to clear communication as details continue to be refined and adjusted based on data, CDC and health department guidance. 



KCPS Launches 2022-23 New Principal Searches


KCPS is seeking parents, staff and community members to serve on Principal Search Advisory Committees for four schools:

·       Carver Dual Language School

·       Garfield Elementary

·       Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

·       Pitcher Elementary

Community involvement is a key part of the success of the effort to identify the next leader for these schools, and committee members will play a vital role in the search process. If you are interested on serving on a Principal Search Advisory Committee, please apply by Friday, March 18. 




Sign Up for a Child Advocacy Week Workshop!


We are one week away from kickoff of the 40th Annual Missouri Child Advocacy Dayfestivities, and we want to get more KCPS families involved! Child Advocacy Day is an annual event where advocates meet to fight for legislative action on policies that support and uplift Missouri children and families. This year, we will meet online to show Missourians that we envision a Missouri where all kids are #ReadytoThrive! #MOCAD2022 will be an opportunity for all of us to expand our policy knowledge, sharpen our skills and interact with policymakers and fellow advocates to ensure our decision makers are prioritizing our children. 


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most of this event will be virtual again this year. Hopefully, KCPS will be able to take parents to Jefferson City in 2023! Still, it is easy to get involved! Register now for workshops that focus on the health and well-being of Missouri kids and families:


Tuesday, March 15

12-1:30 p.m. 2022 Child Advocacy Day Lunch Kick-Off, Preview and Advocacy 101 Training

6-7:00 p.m. Child Advocacy Day Advocates’ Social Hour and Networking Event


Wednesday, March 16

11-12:00 p.m. Supporting Postpartum Coverage for Every Mother


Thursday, March 17

9-10:00 a.m. Policy and Insights into Missouri Early Learning


Friday, March 18

11-12:00 p.m. Children’s Issues and the State Budget

12-1:00 p.m. The Bridge from Child Welfare to Child Well-being – a Panel of Perspectives on the State of Child Welfare


Monday, March 21 

1-2 p.m. Child Advocacy Eve Prep Session – Hot Topics and Engagement Tips

2-3:00 p.m. The State of Children’s Mental Health in Missouri: What’s next?

Tuesday, March 22

8-9 a.m. Morning Kickoff and Updates with the Office of Childhood

9:15 a.m. Ready to Thrive – the 2022 Child Advocacy Day Rally



March KCPS Parent Engagement Opportunities


Looking for ways to get more involved in your child’s education and KCPS? We are excited to share two opportunities for parent engagement with you!



Tuesday, March 15, 6 p.m., virtual via Zoom

Help your student get a jumpstart on their future by gaining the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and beyond! High school students will be selecting their courses for the 2022-23 school year very soon. Join us on Tuesday, March 15, to learn about KCPS programs and opportunities that provide FREE college credits, career training and credentials, internships, hands-on learning experiences, advanced coursework, college access assistance and much more!



Wednesday, March 16, 6 p.m., virtual via Zoom (Spanish interpretation available)


The District Advisory Committee addresses school issues and concerns, allows you to share ideas and solve problems cooperatively and helps advise the district’s Board of Directors. During next week’s meeting, attendees will review and provide feedback on the Code of Student Conduct. Your perspective is essential to ensuring the code fairly serves and supports all students. Our schools can’t do it alone; we need the involvement and support of parents, guardians and community members to succeed. Join us to make your voice heard.







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