This story has been updated.
MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The Mamaroneck Union Free School District was called one of the nation's "Bright Spots" in Hispanic education during a White House press conference.
Mamaroneck schools -- along with 230 other programs, leaders, schools and partnerships -- were honored on Tuesday for helping increase school opportunities, improve academic achievement and deliver a complete and competitive education for all Hispanics, according to White House officials.
The announcement coincides with the launch of Hispanic Heritage Month and marked the initiative’s 25th anniversary in Washington, D.C. A tweet from the White House read: mCentroNia kicking off #HHM w announcement of over 230 Bright Spots in #HispanicED .
Mamaroneck was recognized for its PALMS and PATHS programs -- being added to a national online catalog of model programs for Hispanic students. About 28 percent of Mamaroneck's public school population is comprised of minorities including 19 percent identified as Hispanic.
PALMS stands for Post-Secondary Access for Latino Middle Grade Students. PATHS is short for Program Alignment Team for Hispanic Students -- which formed Hispanic PTAs at all Mamaroneck public schools, summer and after-school programs (JumpStart), over 32 local television shows in Spanish (Vistazos) and school information translated into Spanish.
“We’re proud of the work we have accomplished in providing opportunities for all of our students and in helping to close the achievement gap," Mamaroneck Superintendent Robert Shaps said in a statement. "We’re thrilled to be selected as a 'Bright Spot'."
“Our data reveals a significant increase in the graduation rate among Hispanic students, including improved school attendance and better grade performance,'' Shaps said.
Shaps shared his school district’s philosophy of having high expectations for all students and reiterated the importance of establishing a school-home connection with every child. “Our efforts focus on encouraging a high level of parent engagement,” he said. “We are tremendously grateful for our outstanding community partnerships -- such as the Hispanic Resource Center.”
Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, said, “There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots."
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