Posted on May 29, 2024 by Katelyn Juarez

Artistic poster for the MAS Teachers' Academy

Artistic poster for the MAS Teachers' Academy

SAN ANTONIO— The Mexican American Studies (MAS) Teachers’ Academy is entering its 10th year of advancing MAS in public schools, with this year’s theme titled “Floricanto”. The event is scheduled to take place virtually from June 17 to June 21.

Under the “Floricanto” theme, the academy will spotlight children’s and young adult literature, poetry, storytelling, teatro, performance, and other creative expressions that emphasize the human aspect of education. Other focal points for this year’s academy include celebrating heritage and cultivating social consciousness, recovering lost histories, preserving ancestral knowledge and storytelling, and engendering self-reflection with students as a way of deepening knowledge of the self in relation to community, the world and all our relations.

The academy was established in the fall of 2014 in response to the State Board of Education’s approval of Mexican American Studies as a high school elective course, alongside a movement to introduce MAS into Texas Pre-K-12 public schools.

In the last academic school year, nearly 11,000 students were enrolled in MAS courses across Texas.

Dr. Lilliana P. Saldaña, co-director of the academy and Associate Professor of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies (REGSS) at UTSA, explained the increase in enrollment numbers, “The academy has worked with at least 500 teachers over the past 10 years. We have seen a steady increase in enrollment of teachers participating in the academy because the students in MAS classes continues to increase every year.”

Teachers across the country will get designated to teach MAS the following school year, but unfortunately are not prepared with the proper resources of content, textbooks, and lesson plans to begin teaching the material.

Comparing the MAS Teachers’ Academy to a one-week crash course, Dr. Gloria V. Gonzáles, co-director of the academy and REGSS Lecturer, highlights this year’s lineup of Chicanx Studies scholars, primary and secondary education teachers who will facilitate workshops and share TEKS-aligned lesson plans that focus on literacy, language, history, and culture. 

Transitioning to a virtual format has widened participation, allowing educators nationwide and community members to engage in the workshops.

Dr. Gonzáles explains the importance of opening the academy to individuals beyond the education sector, “It is also about educating the community and letting them know that the academy is out there and maybe advocate for MAS in their schools.”

Registration for the MAS Teachers’ Academy is $127 for teachers and $50 for pre-service teachers and community members. Interested individuals can register for the event here.

Scholarships are available for students to participate in the MAS Teachers’ Academy.

For inquiries about the event or scholarship opportunities, contact Dr. Lilliana P. Saldana or Dr. Gloria V. Gonzáles.

— Katelyn Juarez