Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy: Maestros Program
The Maestros Program as a Teacher Academy provides the guidance, support, and training for students at Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy (RCLA). Program enrollees become effective and responsive educators and ultimately leaders in their communities. This bold and innovative program has been conceptualized and cultivated by Dr. David P. Lopez, former President of the National Hispanic University. Also assisting in the development of the Maestros Program curriculum is Dr. Lisa Goldstein, Professor and Chair, Department of Education at Santa Clara University School of Education and Counseling Psychology. Dr. Lopez has more than three decades of experience in teacher training practice and was the co-founder and developer of the Teachers for a New Tomorrow (“TNT”) Program while serving as a professor and administrator at California State University, Fresno (1990-2001). During that period, CSU, Fresno’s School of Education was recognized across the CSU system and credited for having the highest percentages of Latino, African American, and Hmong students in their teacher credentialing programs.
The students in the Maestros Program are referred to as “Maestros Cadets”. The Maestro Cadets meet twice a week with Dr. Lopez and Dr. Goldstein. On Tuesday’s, the Cadets work with Dr. Lopez and Dr. Goldstein on their professional development. Professional development sessions provide students with lessons on reading fluency, comprehension, pace, and animation. Professional development sessions also provide the Maestro Cadets lessons on social/emotional learning. On Thursdays, Maestro Cadets meet with second and third-grade students from Voices College-Bound Language Academy for one-on-one tutoring sessions. The Maestro Cadets and the Voices students engaged in tutoring using BookNook. BookNook is an online interactive reading lab that measures the struggling readers' pace, reading emotions, decoding and phonemic awareness. At the end of each week, BookNook distributes reports to Dr. Lopez and Dr. Goldstein on the student’s progress.
Emilio Kennamer is a Freshman at Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy and has been a Maestros Cadet since the Fall of 2017. Emilio believes that RCLA has been provided him with the support and guidance he needs to succeed in high school. “Being a maestro cadet is having an honor in what you represent. You are showing the children you are helping what you stand for at RCLA. You create stronger bonds with each visit and engage with tomorrow’s leaders. Most importantly, you improve your communication with every book that is read with your student. Not only do the kids learn, we gain professional skills too.”