Lake Worth, FL, October 01, 2018 — This month, teacher and author, Rebecca Hinson was notified by Florida International University that her proposed book series for grades 3-8 which explores six different cultures of South America through authentic art has been underwritten by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI NRC grant.

“As a teacher, I understand that a child’s connection to their culture is a powerful tool,” stated Rebecca Hinson. “If a child sees their culture honored in my classroom, it makes school a place where they belong. If a child sees affirming representations of their culture in my classroom, it is a mirror which says, ‘I can succeed here.’ This South America series will mirror and validate the identities of my South American students and provide a window for other students to explore their cultures.”

Why multicultural books? The best indicator of future high school graduation is this. Does a child read on grade level by the end of third grade? Of all the large urban school districts in Florida, Miami-Dade County Schools has the highest third grade reading scores, in-spite of the fact that 50% of their students were born outside the U.S.A. Being an immigrant himself, their Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho understands that culture is a great motivator. He says, “The exploration of heritage excites and motivates.” He encourages the use of culture as a powerful academic tool district-wide.

Hinson’s series will be written for practical application in the K-12 art, history, reading, social studies, ESOL, and foreign language classrooms, with text-dependent questions for each title. “This new series will complement my other series, Art of Central America, Art of the Caribbean, and Art of the United States of America,” stated Hinson. “Many thanks to Liesl Picard and F.I.U. for their continued support!”

Liesl B. Picard, Associate Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs of Florida International University stated, “I appreciate Rebecca’s continued partnership and hard work. I am very excited to support her efforts and look forward to working together over the next 4 years and beyond.”

As a part of the grant, teacher and author, Rebecca Hinson will continue to partner with F.I.U. and Miami-Dade County Public Schools to provide professional development for Miami-Dade County teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded LACC's 2018 proposal, designating it a National Resource Center (NRC) and granting it a Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowship (FLAS). Both grants allow LACC to continue its support of research, training and access to scholarship funds for languages and understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. The grant and fellowship run for the next four years. This is the thirty-fifth year LACC has been named an NRC since its founding 39 years ago.

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