Did you know that a quarter of CISLA’s students are English Learners? That's approximately 320 students with whom we directly engage, providing additional resources and support to navigate school while learning to speak English. Our support includes translating critical information for parents, ensuring access to bilingual resources, and creating safe spaces for students to feel seen and comfortable.
One of the remarkable students we have the privilege to support is Ashley, a 5th-grade student at 107th Elementary School. Ashley's Site Director, Miss Ortiz, describes her as well-rounded, with a deep love for learning and a go-getter attitude – someone who can accomplish anything!
What many may not know about Ashley is that her family recently left El Salvador, making personal sacrifices to start a new life in the United States.
Upon joining 107th Elementary, Ashley struggled to acclimate to her new school environment. Feeling out of place, she hesitated to open up to her peers, join clubs, or seek help. Recognizing her need for additional support, she was recommended to CISLA. Once Ashley joined CISLA and began working with Ms. Ortiz, her confidence blossomed.
Ashley became an active participant in CISLA’s Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) group, "Estudiantiles de la 107th." The group engages in activities and discussions that teach responsible decision-making, foster self-awareness, and instill a hopeful attitude. Through this group, Ashley not only found close friends but also established a connection with Ms. Ortiz, who guides her in peer relationships and academic challenges. She now has access to food, utensils, and a supportive community that stands behind her.
Despite the challenges Ashley faced in her past, she is already envisioning her future. In just 5th grade, she aspires to become a veterinarian due to her love for animals. While living in El Salvador, Ashley had five cats, learning about their personalities, behaviors, and even nursing them back to health. Recently, she had the opportunity to dog-sit her neighbor’s German Shepherd, deepening her understanding of both canine and feline behaviors.
Miss Ortiz, shared a beautiful message with Ashley: "I see you volunteering for animal shelters, where you can learn about general animal care, medical conditions, and treatments. This will open the door to internships where you can glean from some of the top veterinarians in the state and beyond."
When Ashley graduates from 107th Street Elementary, her family plans to keep her in LAUSD, where she can continue honing her English skills and achieving success inside and outside the classroom.