Sal Castro Academy for Urban Teacher Leaders

About Sal Castro

Sal Castro was a distinguished teacher, mentor, advocate, and community organizer, remembered for his role in the 1968 East Los Angeles Blowouts – a series of historic protests led by Mexican American high school and college students to demand an equitable education. Throughout his career, Sal Castro inspired countless students to succeed in college and serve their community.

Modeled after Sal Castro’s storied Chicano Youth Leadership Conference, the Sal Castro Academy for Urban Teacher Leaders will inspire a new generation of teacher-activists through a transformative and empowering curriculum.

Sal Castro

Program Description

In the legacy of distinguished educator and alumnus Sal Castro, the Academy for Urban Teacher Leaders will train teachers to be student-centered advocates in their work educating the next generation. 

Participants in the Sal Castro Academy for Urban Teacher Leaders will learn alongside other educators, community leaders, and advocates in a year-long professional development course. The overarching aim is to affect systemic change in education and their communities, through a transformative and empowering curriculum interweaving Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), Ethnic Studies, and Community-Based Activism. 

Based on outreach to educators in several districts in the Los Angeles area, a current concern is building the capacity of their Ethnic Studies programs. This year’s academy aims to meet that need while also staying true to the vision and work of Sal Castro to train student leaders.

Sal Castro East LA BlowOut

To that end, The curriculum of the Academy will encompass a few key areas. These are general areas of focus, and the depth of exploration will be tailored, as much as possible, to meet the specific needs and questions of inquiry of participants, as well as the expertise of the presenters. We will focus on:  

  • Building the capacity of your Ethnic Studies teaching team  
  • Advocacy and leadership in the current policy and political context 
  • Civic and community engagement and youth participatory action research  
  • Overview of Ethnic Studies pedagogies and current research in the discipline

Program Benefits/Goals

  • Examine the legacy of Sal Castro and the relevance of his work for teacher activism
  • Identify advocacy strategies for equity and justice within the education system
  • Analyze the transformative potential of education projects using YPAR, Ethnic Studies, and Community-Based Activism
  • Engage in critical self-reflection and strategies of self-care
  • Join a community of transformative urban educators oriented toward social activism and advocacy.
  • Learn alongside colleagues and other like-minded educators to develop their own knowledge and expertise and proactively address a problem of practice
  • Explore and develop civic engagement and student activism projects that meet the criteria of the State Seal of Civic Engagement.

This year’s academy will take place during nine separate sessions during the ‘23-’24 academic year. Sessions will be hosted by El Rancho Unified School District (9333 Loch Lomond Drive, Pico Rivera, CA 90660) on Thursdays from 01:45 PM-05:00 pm on the following dates:

In 2023: August 31st , September 28th, October 26th , and November 30th. 

In 2024: January 25th, February 22nd , March 21st , April 25th, and May 16th  

Lunch will be provided and parking is available.

The course will be limited to 20 secondary educators (classroom, administration, district level, etc.) who are involved in the development of their district’s Ethnic Studies program and/or the development of student leaders committed to civic and community engagement and activism. In the spirit of building capacity and connections, we encourage districts and schools to think about sending a team that includes teachers, administrators, counselors, and district officials.

The registration deadline is August 24, 2023, and participants will be accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is filled. The participation fee is $1000 per person.

Contact information

For more information about the academy and to register, you can contact the College of Education at (323) 343-4300, or email [email protected].