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July 25, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

Bi National Student Electronic Transcripts

  |   Video
  • There is a new initiative led by the Arizona-Mexico Commission to assist immigrant students who have gone to Arizona schools and who need help on their return to Mexico. The goal is to simplify the process for Arizona and Sonora students by validating some records electronically. Deputy Associate Superintendent for the Arizona Department of Education, Ralph Romero, discusses the initiative.
  • Ralph Romero - Deputy Associate Superintendent, Arizona Department of Education
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, immigrant, transcripts,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: There is a new initiative led by the Arizona-Mexico commission to assist immigrant students who have gone to Arizona schools and to help them on their return to Mexico. The goal is to simplify the process for Arizona and Sonora students by validating some records electronically. Joining me to talk about this initiative is Ralph Romero, deputy associate superintendent for the Arizona department of education. Welcome to "Horizonte." You've been here before. This is an initiative, the chair the education committee; give us the background for this process and why it was something that needed to be fixed.

Ralph Romero: This issue came up about five years ago, six, seven years -- About 5 years ago. The problem that was identified is that students when they leave Arizona schools are -- Or schools in the United States in general, and they arrive in schools in Mexico, they require Mexican schools require that the records contain a notarized statement from the state indicating that those records are authentic. That requirement is part of the Hague Agreement that was signed in 1961--

Jose Cardenas: An international treaty.

Ralph Romero: An international agreement. The problem is that many students that leave Arizona and go back to Sonora or other states, or other states in the United States and go back to Mexico, many times leave, don't know about the requirement for the document, they arrive in a Mexican school, and they are not admitted, especially if they're going into a prepatoria, Which is considered the first three years --

Jose Cardenas: Like a prep school here.

Ralph Romero: It's 10th, 11th, and 12th. That's where the problem existed. So many students that arrive in Sonora schools, our neighbor to the south, and other states, were not allowed in school because they did not have the documents.

Jose Cardenas: Just to be fair, it's a very formal diplomatic process for certification of records as authentic.

Ralph Romero: That's correct. The entity in the states that gives the document is the secretary of state's office. So a student literally needs to get a record from the school, take it to the secretary of state's office, and then get an apostille fixed before they leave the state, when they arrive in a school, they will ask for the record with the apostille. If there's no apostille they will not be enrolled in school.

Jose Cardenas: So the process, which would take some time even if they were here, becomes almost impossible when they're back in Mexico and have no way to get back here to pursue the certification.

Ralph Romero: That's correct. And that's what the problem is. Many students actually gave up, they dropped out of school, because they were not able to get the records in time for them to register for that current year. Once you lose one year, they potentially lost out on schooling in general.

Jose Cardenas: Give us a sense of the magnitude of the problem. I know it was with the advent of the economic downturn and SB 1070, we had a lot of families leaving Arizona, some of them going back to Mexico. But specifically in the state of Sonora how many kids are we talking about?

Ralph Romero: They believe there's about 10,000 students from Arizona that return to Sonora over the past five years.

Jose Cardenas: And many of these would be students facing this precise difficulty.

Ralph Romero: Exactly. Especially those kids that were going from high school into prepatoria.

Jose Cardenas: Let's talk about the solution that you're commit -- That your committee and others have worked on.

Ralph Romero: What we did, after discussing the issue both educator from Sonora and Arizona and discussing the issues with the U.S. department of education in Washington and in Mexico city, we discovered that there was language in the Hague Agreement that basically gave the state the authority to implement an alternative system for the apostille. At that time the problem was getting Mexico to agree to do that, and to some extent the United States government also to agree to that because of the FERPA requirements, the Federal Responsibility and Privacy Act, which controls the confidentiality of records.

Jose Cardenas: Student records.

Ralph Romero: Student records. Once we got the two governments, federal governments to agree, which was just a few months ago, we were able to then put together a team to develop an electronic transfer system which basically will allow a student to request a record from the secretary, who then makes an electronic request of the Arizona department of education, the Arizona department of education will make an electronic request of the appropriate school in Arizona, and then the record will follow the same route.

Jose Cardenas: Now that's when it's all set up. But you're starting with a pilot program. Why don't you describe that.

Ralph Romero: Yes. We decided we would pilot this program for no more than six months because this is a first, this is the first program process in the United States. We did not -- We wanted to make sure we didn't jeopardize the confidentiality of student records both in this state and across the country by releasing a process that had not been tested.

Jose Cardenas: How are you going to do that?

Ralph Romero: We have a high school which -- Here in Arizona, Yuma High School, which has agreed to pilot this program for us in conjunction with the secretary. We will pilot the system, we will have individuals that need these records go to Sonora, we'll make the request of the origin, and see how this process works out.

Jose Cardenas: And how are you making it known to people? I assume in some respect it's self-executing, somebody goes to school in Mexico and they're told they need this, and hopefully the people will know to make the request of the schools in Arizona.

Ralph Romero: We will be informing the schools in the state to ensure that students and parents who come in requesting their records for transfer down into Sonora, that they be made aware of this new process. We also intend to engage the Mexican consulate to make sure that they know, so they can notify parents and students who come to their office for this type of information. And at the same time also Sonora is doing the same thing. They're going to their schools and notifying them of this new process --

Jose Cardenas: So there's an outreach process. We're almost out of time. When does this kick off?

Ralph Romero: This will kick off soon after the gypping of the school year, I would say probably within the next month.

Jose Cardenas: And hopefully within a year --

Ralph Romero: I would think within six months we should be in a position to determine if there are any problems with the system, and if there are none, then we will implement it statewide and at the same token we'll release it to other states in the country that want to do the same thing. And there's a lot of interest throughout the country.

Jose Cardenas: I'm sure there is. Ralph, thanks for joining us.

Ralph Romero: Thanks for having me.

Boys & Girls Clubs State Youth of the Year

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs named Johana Lopez the 2013 State Youth of the Year. Award recipient, Johana Lopez and Vice President of Club Operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, Bridget McDonald talk about the competition and award.
  • Johana Lopez - Recipient, 2013 Boys and Girls Clubs State Youth of the Year
  • Bridget McDonald - President of Club Operations, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix
Category: Community   |   Keywords: award, competition, arizona,

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Jose Cardenas: The Arizona alliance of boys and girls clubs named Johana Lopez the 2013 state youth of the year. She was chosen from among candidates from across the state. She just returned from the regional competition in California. Joining me now to talk more about this special award is Johana Lopez, also here is Bridget McDonald, vice-president of club operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of metro Phoenix. First congratulations on your success. I want to talk about your background and what led you to pursue this, but before we do that, give us some background about the award itself, how it came to be and what the process is.

Bridget McDonald: Absolutely. The youth of the year program was designed to recognize the outstanding young people that go through boys and girls club programs, that take advantage of opportunities that use the resources that we have to move themselves along. It could be longevity in a program, it could be their commitment to their community, some of what they do with their home and family, it's their school, their community service. It's their moral values, really. And all those things put together really create this award that recognizes a child that just has the highest of standards in those areas.

Jose Cardenas: How many years has it been in effect?

Bridget McDonald: Boys and Girls clubs has been in existence over 100 years, and I believe the first boy of the year was probably in the mid 30's, maybe 40's. And it's been ongoing ever since. But with our organization, 1946. So we've always had someone represent.

Jose Cardenas: And you're too young to have been involved all those years, but you've been as it for 20 plus years.

Bridget McDonald: I have.

Jose Cardenas: This particular nomination comes from the individual club. They decide who they want to support.

Bridget McDonald: Exactly. There are 12 branches, and each one of those 12 sites recognizes one outstanding teenager, puts them into the group and they all vie for the title of youth of the year for metro Phoenix. They're already all winners, so it's just a representative, we don't want winners, and they’re all winners. But they do, they spend four months getting ready, so that means they have training in toastmasters, so they get speaker training, they participate in team building, they do storytelling, they're virtually telling their stories, they're out there explaining what it means to be a Boys and Girls club member, what it has done for their lives, how they've overcome obstacles. So they get this -- All this training to be able to stand up there and present their stories and represent their clubs as they're vying for this title of youth of the year.

Jose Cardenas: Johana, in your nomination, which I understand -- It does talk about one of those obstacles that Bridget was referring to, being the traditional Mexican culture and dealing with the fact that your parents have -- Had a certain view, anyway of what a young woman should be, what her as inspirations should be. And you didn't even tell them you had been admitted to six colleges.

Johana Lopez: Yes. My culture as well as my family expectations wanted me to have a family when I was 16, hi that support going on of being married and the man going out and financially supporting us. And I didn't want that. I didn't feel like that was specifically for me. While I do respect my family and what they believe in, I prefer in showing them instead of just running away and doing what I wanted, I prefer to demonstrate to them that that piece of my life will come later on, but I first want to develop myself intellectually and in a career base.

Jose Cardneas: Part of the inspiration was your involvement in boys and girls clubs.

Johana Lopez: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: How so?

Johana Lopez: The boys and girls club really allowed me to find role models. The females really demonstrated hard working women are respected, and the males show me my gender does not limit my capabilities. It was the first place I found -- It wasn't just expected for me to become a housewife, but it was expected of me to become what I wanted, and I had all the keys available for me to do that.

Jose Cardenas: While the nomination indicates you are a very remarkable young woman. Hundreds of hours of volunteer activity. Tell us about that.

Johana Lopez: Yes. I was always very involved in my community. I feel that the kids in my community should really get a better influence in educational purposes. So I started with -- After the program that was allowed in my area in school, and I would go back into it, and I volunteer with the teachers, I volunteer, mentored with reading and English, and as well as math and not only did I get a taste of what a teacher does, but a base of what career purpose I wanted to pursue.

Jose Cardneas: Bridget, how does boys and girls club take advantage of this remarkable talent? Is it like some other contest where the winner becomes almost ambassador for the program, they go on and meet with others and inspire them in a similar way?

Bridget McDonald: Really, that is almost the exact -- They become a spokesperson for Boys and Girls club, and the opportunities that can be found there to take the remarkable children even further down the path to where they want to go. The program overall really does help develop. And the youth of the year piece is important, but Johana was seen as someone with so much potential in the first place, and just providing her some of those tools that she talks about, somebody that said to her she could do this, somebody that said her dreams were value it, and that education was a possibility. Those are the things that really made a difference and what the boys and girls club can provide. But it is an ambassadorship, if you will. As they get further doubt road in the competition, she went from the local competition, to the state competition, where she competed with representatives from the organizations across the state. We have 23 of them. They all are eligible to send a Johana to that competition. So she won at that level and for boys and girls clubs of America they participate in a regional competition, which is where we went last week in California, and there are nine states across the Pacific region, the western parts of the United States, so she competed with the winners of those nine states. That's culled down to five representatives, and one military representative for boys and girls clubs.

Jose Cardenas: And that's all still ongoing.

Bridget McDonald: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: Among the people you convinced apparently that this is something that you could do, were your own parents. And I understand you will be going to college. Tell us your future as inspirations in terms of the areas you want to focus on and we'll wrap up the interview with that.

Johana Lopez: This upcoming fall I plan to attend Grand Canyon University as an honors student, I will have a double major with the goal of joining the FBI.

Jose Cardenas: Best of luck to you. I'm sure based on everything we've seen you'll have no trouble getting there. Thanks for joining us on "Horizonte."

Paraguay's Recycled Orchestra

  |   Video
  • Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra is set to make its debut at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). The orchestra is made up of young musicians who make music with instruments made out of trash. The MIM curator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr. Daniel Piper talks about the details of the visit.
  • Dr. Daniel Piper - MIM Curator, Latin American and the Caribbean
Category: Community   |   Keywords: music, musicians, orchestra, instruments,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Paraguay's recycled orchestra is set to make its U.S. debut at the Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM. But first hear here is a clip from the documentary "Landfill Harmonic" which is about Paraguay's recycled orchestra. Joining me now is Dr. Daniel Piper, MIM's curator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Welcome to "Horizonte." This is a remarkable story, one we've covered recently when we had the person who's responsible for making the documentary that will be released next year. In fact we used that same teaser. The MIM's interest in this started with bringing those instrument and making them part of your exhibition.

Daniel Piper: That's correct. We saw this story and the instruments as really resonating with our mission. We're a global music organization that covers music from everything corner of the world, covers folk music, art music, and this particular story and these instruments made from recycled materials from the landfill actually we see in other parts of the museum, other instruments made from recycled materials. We celebrate the steel pan from Trinidad, for example, made from 55 gallon oil containers back starting in the 1930s. We have a Castro oil guitar in our South Africa exhibit, and various other stories like this. But this one is very unique because the instruments, violin and cello and flutes we associate with elite western culture and centuries of refining and making these instruments of classical music. And here they're made from the landfill, trash, in order to benefit these children that didn't have an opportunity to make music.

Jose Cardenas: We'll be running pictures of these instruments as we're talking. In the teaser one of the people talking said that the violins -- A real violin would be the cost of a house there, and now have you them going out and making these things out of trash.

Daniel Piper: That's right. Many of these -- These are from a shanty town, you have migration from rural sectors, into the city. And there's the infrastructure is not able to support the population, many people don't have work, don't have access to clean water or health care. And are basically kind of living on the edge in these shanty towns. So, yeah, a violin really is something you would never find there.

Jose Cardenas: The exhibit itself has been on display for some time at the museum. And it will continue to be there for some time to come. How did you come about to decide that you were going to bring the musicians themselves?

Daniel Piper: Sure. We saw this as an opportunity because we noticed there being such a tremendous public interest in this story, as soon as the documentary teaser came out, as soon as we started talking about this story, outside of Paraguay, people were sending emails, people were sharing this nationally and internationally. It just really resonated with a lot of people. So this was an opportunity as we were sitting down with the documentary team as well, we thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if these children could come and see their own exhibit, see how their work is being honored at a major institution in the United States, and then also to give them an opportunity to interact with the Phoenix public, perform, also to work with local students of the same age, in this case we were partnering with the Arizona School for the Arts, also an elementary school, and through that sort of cultural exchange, we developed a really powerful program with Fabio Chavez, the director of the orchestra.

Jose Cardenas: When is this going to take place?

Daniel Piper: This will start on Wednesday, August 7th, with the concert, and then the programs run through Saturday August 10th.

Jose Cardenas: And the concerts at the MIM itself, I'm not sure a lot of people realize in addition to being a museum the MIM has performance space.

Jose Cardenas: We have a wonderful, 300-seat performance space, concerts with national, international artists every week. And the acoustics there are remarkable. So it's an opportunity for a real intimate experience with the recycled orchestra.

Jose Cardenas: You have a lot of things to reach out to the community, one of them is family day.

Daniel Piper: Family day is a great opportunity, because -- This is going to be an all-day event on Saturday in which we will have a couple opportunities for the recycled orchestra, will perform, demonstrate their instruments, talk about the work, we also have a local artist who is -- Makes sound sculptures from materials that are recycled and repurposed, and perform and creates these installations. So the public can actually, one of his pieces will be able to play that, play that installation. We also have instrument making crafts for the public all day, and an exhibit dedication in which I, and the director of the orchestra for Paraguay, will talk and show the exhibit to the public and honor these children, you know in their first U.S. visit. The first time they'll be here in the United States.

Jose Cardenas: You made some reference to collaborations with local schools, Arizona schools for the arts, what are they going to be doing? As I understand, one of the things they'll do is go with their counterparts in Paraguay to our own landfill here in Phoenix.

Daniel Piper: Exactly. This was part of the idea, because of course the idea -- What we do with our trash and recycling is very different in Latin American countries than the United States and Phoenix in particular. So both the Paraguay kids and the Arizona school for the arts kids will start by getting a tour of the north transfer station through the Phoenix department of public works, and then from there after seeing that experience, will go and have a workshop where they will be making instruments from recycled materials they have selected, and also that's -- Our local artist Joe Willie Smith has provided, and also materials from Phoenix department of public works.

Jose Cardenas: And then as I understand it, at the concert itself, the students from the school for the arts will be performing at least for a couple of --

Daniel Piper: Exactly. Coming out of this experience of working together they will come -- Have one or two pieces of repertoire on Friday and Saturday night and will be asked to come up on stage and join the kids from Paraguay.

Jose Cardenas: How can people get more information about the visit and ways they might participate and again, particularly for family day?

Daniel Piper: Sure. They should visit www.MiM.org at our website we have a landing page with information about all the programs. And also our box office is open for concert ticket sales, we still have a couple hundred tickets for our Wednesday night concert as well.

Jose Cardenas: And I'm sure it will be a sellout. These kids are fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us to talk about it.

Daniel Piper: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: That's our show for tonight. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.