Our Annual Luncheon is Cancelled for 2020

Sadly, we at SKCE have decided that we must cancel our annual luncheon “Celebrating Latino Parents – the First Teachers,” that was scheduled for April 23rd.

After Governor Brown closed public schools and limited gatherings to 25 people, the decision was made to not live-stream or even postpone the luncheon. SKCE is committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19, so we have taken every precaution by cancelling all programs. Staff have been working remotely since March 13th.

SKCE relies on our annual luncheon to support our programs and services. The pandemic has caused a financial setback that has required us to rethink the way we provide support to parents. We are actively working on a plan to provide services remotely so we can continue to coach and mentor on parenting and child development. We will also continue to provide books, activities and art supplies to support academic achievement for children at home. This means purchasing equipment and materials that SKCE had not otherwise budgeted.

If you would like to contribute, please visit our donation page. This would be a great time to sign up for ongoing monthly gifts!

An email letter will be sent out to individuals, organizations and businesses that have made reservations or have sponsored the event.

If you have purchased a ticket, please read here.

If you sponsored the luncheon, please read here.

SKCE’s First “Forming Strong Families” conference at Waldo Middle School

Our first Formando Familias Fuertes parent conference (Forming Strong Families) on Saturday February 22nd was a success!

About 35 Spanish speaking parents and 36 children attended the parent conference at Waldo Middle School from 10:00am to 3:00 pm.

The morning began with introductions and welcoming statements from Joe Valencia, Assistant Principal of Waldo; Javier Quiroz, Director of the Parent Organizing Project of SKCE, and Christy Perry, Superintendent of the Salem Keizer School District.

Superintendent Perry shared an overview of the Student Investment Account process, and the final recommendations that the School Board would be voting on the following Tuesday (Feb. 25). (Testimony and voting begins on 1:19:44.)

Next, Carlos Ruiz, Assistant Principal of North Salem High School, introduced the Keynote Speaker, Teresa Tolento, Principal of Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Her speech struck a chord of the hearts of the families and brought tears to many listeners. She spoke of her immigrant Mexican parents and the struggle learning English while trying to hold on to her culture and language of her family, and the divide between the families and the schools. See the video here.

Participants had a variety of classes they could attend regarding the districts’ Positive Behavioral Interventions System (PBIS) program, addressing mental health issues of children and youth, addressing mental health issues of adults, bullying and harassment policies, helping children structure their time at home, effective parenting for preteens and teens, and effective advocacy for school success.

The overwhelming majority of parents attended the classes addressing mental health issues of their children and youth, showing that the ideas behind the Student Success Act’s funding are hitting the target. Programs for children of color, additional mental health supports, increased attention to school climate and culture, among others.

Lunch was donated by Tony’s Tacos and Don Panchos. Twenty organizations and businesses provided popular resource tables during lunch and thanks to our local United Way’s Give360 program, Amazon products were donated for both conference supplies and wonderful free raffle prizes!










The grand prize was donated by Castro Monroy Group: a beautiful bicycle!

Waldo Middle School is a Title I school, where 100% of the students receive free breakfast and lunch. Donations and sponsors are critical for our Nonprofit Organization to provide services and continue our work helping thousands of Latino/a/x children succeed in school.

Many thanks to the Salem Keizer School District for helping fund the project, and to Waldo Middle School for hosting the conference. A special thanks goes to Joe Valencia who worked with our conference coordinator and program staff for months in preparation and provided all we needed for classrooms, childcare, lunch, gym activities, and student volunteers. The dedication of our Latino/a/x staff, teachers and administrators in the Salem Keizer District is amazing to behold. School staff who dedicated their Saturday to Latino/a/x parents:

  • From Cesar Chavez Elementary School: Principal Teresa Tolento, Assistant Principal Teresa Alfaro, and Instructional Mentor Nubia Green.

  • From Auburn Elementary School: Assistant Principal Erica Manzo.

  • From Parrish Middle School: Alyssa Darnell, Math teacher.

  • From the school district: Jed Thomas, Psychologist and Victor Juarez, LSCSW, both from the Office of Behavioral Learning.

Formando Familias Fuertes, Forming Strong Families, is also a program of SKCE throughout the year. We look forward to making this parent conference bigger and better, and making it a collaborative tradition in the years to come.

Latino/a Parent Leaders Work with Salem Keizer School District

Last Wednesday, February 12, was the culmination of a series of meetings between the SKCE Parent Leadership Group and school board members, which began last August. School board member Sheronne Blasi, our Liaison, and Superintendent Perry were invited to discuss the concerns the parents had brought to the school board last June, and how they might be addressed through the SIA recommendations. The superintendent answered a number of questions and explained the next steps in the SIA process.

We have been involved with the Salem Keizer School District since last fall, working on the Student Investment Account (SIA) Task Force.

The district pulled together a diverse group with many people of color—teachers, staff, community members and parents—to help develop their plans for using the $35 million from the state’s SSA (Student Success Act) fund. This new fund from the legislature is intended to help the students who are struggling the most, with the goal of Oregon’s students having a 100% graduation or completion rate!

SKCE’s representative on this task force is one of our parent program directors—a Latina mom whose voice is critical to the process in identifying issues from a mother’s experience and all the mothers and fathers she works with. On November 21, SKCE staff recruited over 80 parents, 18 teens and cared for over 40 children! School board members, district leaders, even the superintendent came to watch and participate! They appreciated our contribution to this important work of the SIA committee.

Read more about SKCE’s work with the SSA and SIA.

Kaiser Permanente Partners with SKCE and Salem Keizer Public Schools to Tackle Chronic Absenteeism

“In 2018, Kaiser Permanente awarded more than $1 million in grants to five nonprofits and two school service districts in the Northwest. One of those partnerships involves the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality. The nonprofit utilizes funding support to provide workshops for Marion County Latino parents to encourage involvement in their child’s education while highlighting the importance of regular attendance.”


“The collective efforts supported by Kaiser Permanente to address absenteeism are making an impact. This year, 75% of Salem-Keizer Public Schools grew their attendance rates when comparing the 2017-18 to the 2018-19 school years. At the same time, more than 400 additional students are now considered to be regular attenders.”


Read the full article:

Another way to keep children from being absent: back-to-school medical checkups help keep Mid-Willamette Valley kids in school Why a wellness check is important to your child’s academic future



Back to school: Look what’s happening around the Salem Keizer School District!

a. Five Benchmarks Parents Should know


b. Increase Mental Health Services, Dismantle Prejudice


c. McKay’s August Graduates


e. https://www.salemreporter.com/posts/1232/photos-salem-keizer-students-head-back-to-school

After SKCE Parent Leader Testimonies about Child Safety Concerns, School Board Adopts New Version of Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution

The first Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution 3 year ago was created directly because of work

on the Latino students’ and families’ behalf by SKCE.

Each year since, SKCE has worked with the Salem Keizer School Board and Superintendent Christy Perry to update the resolution.

The goal each year is to edit and reaffirm the Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution so that it addresses issues current for the coming school year.

At June’s School Board meeting, SKCE Parent Leaders testified about concerns they have regarding their children’s safety. The two most pressing concerns were bullying due to racism and potential actions by immigration officials.


Parents talked to the school board again in August.

The passing of the 2019 adjusted and reaffirmed Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution was announced at the August meeting.


This CCTV recording is of the August School Board work session and public meeting.

The School Board work session ends and the School Board public meeting with testimonies

begins at about 1 hour and 40 minutes.



On the Salem Keizer Public Schools website the announcement of the Safe and Welcoming Schools Resolution press release can be read. Spanish translation is also available – choose the word English in the upper right corner, and then from the dropdown menu, choose Spanish. The text of the resolution itself in English or Spanish can also be viewed.


Rose Lewis, co-founder of SKCE

Civil rights activist, founder of Salem Speaks Up, and co-founder and supporter of the Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality passed away on May 28th. We will miss her dearly. 

             January 17, 1934 – May 28, 2019

Details of a celebration of life for Rose and following potluck are listed below. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.




Rose’s last interview with Annalivia – in March 2019

Rose talked about racism – “It doesn’t happen all the time, but it can happen any time. And it’s devastating.”



The Summer Language and Culture Institute is in Session!

Salem Keizer teachers and staff are once again giving up some of their summer break to attend the Summer Language and Culture Institute at SKCE. This set of Spanish language lessons, workshops, classes and field trips is provided as an aid to teachers and staff in connecting with and understanding Latino students and their families. The Institute is provided over two weeks. It includes morning Spanish classes so teachers can begin to communicate with students in basic Spanish. The afternoon sessions are either at SKCE or by taking field trip. The field trips introduce teachers to Latino neighborhoods and businesses, and to immigrant classes and organizations. The on-site SKCE workshops are a combination of meeting Latino students who discuss problems they face, classes covering equity vs equality, Popular Education, and meeting Latino business people.


In the first week, Annalivia Palazzo-Angulo talks with the Institute attendees while everyone keeps cool in the shade at Northgate Park.


Phil Decker speaks with attendees at SKCE.

Some teachers get the feel of long, flowing skirts for a Mexican folk dance.

A visit to PCUN in Woodburn to talk with Ramon Ramirez, past President of PCUN




Student Attendance in Salem Keizer schools Improves and SKCE was a Part of This Improvement

Here’s the notice from Salem Keizer Public Schools

Press Release

For Immediate Release

June 21, 2019



More Than 400 Additional Students Attended School Regularly in 2018-19
Seventy-five percent of SKPS schools increased their attendance rates from the previous year


SALEM, Ore. – In Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS), 49 of the district’s 65 schools grew their attendance rates since the 2017-18 school year, and more than 400 additional students are considered to be regular attenders.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, SKPS launched “Every Day 24J” to raise awareness with students and families, schools, community organizations and local officials regarding chronic absenteeism. Since the start of the campaign, schools and community organizations have been collaborating to identify barriers to attendance for students across the district. The work has centered around connecting students and families to community resources, providing incentives for positive attendance trends and most importantly, building relationships with each and every student.

“We know that students succeed when they know that there is someone who believes in them,” said Superintendent Christy Perry. “Regular attendance is a key indicator of student success and habits start with our very youngest learners in pre-kindergarten. Building connections with students from day one and encouraging them to be there every day is the first step toward helping our students reach the graduation stage.”

Chronic absenteeism is defined by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) as missing 10 percent or more of the school year. In SKPS that equates to as little as two days a month–18 days a year.

Across the district schools are working to improve their attendance rates through identifying resources for their students, community engagement and more. At Highland Elementary School, students improved their attendance rate since the 2017-18 school year by nearly nine percentage points.

“We worked to find the root cause of our attendance challenges,” said Principal Christi Cheever. “As we continued to make personal calls each day, we identified barriers for our students such as transportation and lack of housing or clothes that made it difficult for our students to be at school. We worked with the district and our community partners to wraparound and support our students’ needs, and ultimately help boost attendance.”

Through a grant with Kaiser Permanente, the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality is also working to develop attendance supports for families in the North Salem High feeder system. At North, students improved their attendance rate this year by 6.3 percentage points.

“The sense of urgency regarding attendance has never been stronger,” said Assistant Principal Carlos Ruiz. “Our strengths are making relationships, which are foundational in education. It doesn’t matter what your title is; we all have the capacity and power to connect with kids.”

During the summer, the district will continue to collaborate with community organizations to develop additional supports and resources for families, students and educators to continue to improve attendance.

“The improvements to our attendance rates across the district are so encouraging,” said Perry. “However, we still have a lot of work to do, and this is work that we will continue to do until we help each and every student be there every day in District 24J.”