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Seminar Teaches Hispanic Leaders About School Issues

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — In Cumberland County, the estimated number of Hispanics has almost doubled in the past five years. Up until now, many parents did not know anything about their kids' school system or their rights as parents. A 40-hour course is quickly changing that.

"We have for the first time in North Carolina: Hispanic PTAs, parent teacher associations that have been created," says Greg Malhoit of theNorth Carolia Justice and Community Development Center. "We didn't have those organizations before the seminar was offered."

The free seminar teaches Hispanic leaders from 10 counties about subjects like school discipline, special education and charter and alternative schools. The leaders in turn give the information to all Hispanic parents.

"From last year to this year, we have a 30 percent increase in limited English proficiency students and 50 percent are Hispanic Latino," says Matty Lazo-Chadderton, a Hispanic parent trainer

Malhoit says the parents need to be involved in more than just PTA bake sales.

"We need to have parents leading efforts, generating creative ideas and then supporting both the students and the schools," Malhoit says.

The seminars have led to school supported PTAs in both Henderson and Durham counties. They are offered through the state's Justice and Community Development Center.

Organizers believe a Cumberland County Hispanic PTA will be formed in the next couple of weeks.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
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