LOS ANGELES — LAUSD Student Board member Frances Suavillo introduced the Filipino Heritage Month Resolution and dual language program at last week’s school board meeting, and she got the support of the board and community.
“It was definitely something that I thought was long overdue. Filipinos make up such a large part of the district and theres a lot of contributions, academically, economically and politically in Los Angeles, and having it be my first resolution and having it a part of me, something that represents me, is something that is so meaningful to my heart.”
2 percent of the district’s 650,000 student population, spread through nearly 1,000 schools, are Filipino.
Several major Filipino concentrations in areas like Carson and Eagle Rock are under LAUSD.
“Each school is required to celebrate Filipino history month all throughout the district whether that means putting out books written by influential Filipino authors, or putting out little trivia facts, or having food at the little Filipino clubs at their own school, our culture will be celebrated throughout the district. It’s the second largest school district in America — so a lot more people will learn about our culture and heritage.”
Also included in the Tondo-born Suavillo’s resolution, a dual language program that will bring in Tagalog classes — something that’s been pushed by many community members for years.
“I do want to encourage everyone on the board to provide institutional support so its not just community organizations that are filling in the gaps but that we’re keeping our institutions accountable,” said Ivy Daulo from the Council for Teaching Filipino Culture.
“Tagalog, according to the American community survey, is the third most common language behind in English and Spanish in California and I know that you have the numbers here in Los Angeles.”
As schools look forward to some extra Pinoy pride this October, board members will know look at ways to implement the dual language program for both Filipino students still trying to learn English, as well as non-Filipinos looking to learn a new language.
”Ako nagpapasalamat sa pagtangkilik ng lahing Filipino. And that means in English I’m very proud of the board recognizing the Filipino heritage,” said Luis Bondilla, District Controller.