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Chicago Public Schools Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

15 September 2023

Month-long festivities honoring the Hispanic culture and community kick off today

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Starting today through October 15, students and staff across Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. District festivities this year include parades, Hispanic Heritage nights, Danza del Sol, reenactments of the Grito de Dolores, and much more. The District offers a multicultural curriculum and myriad extracurricular and co-curricular activities that recognize the Hispanic/Latino traditions and achievements every day but is proud to take time during this designated month to honor the heritage and culture of nearly half of the District’s student population.

“Hispanic Heritage Month offers our District both an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the Hispanic community and celebrate the unique culture of the Hispanic community while also recognizing that Hispanic culture is American culture,” said CEO Pedro Martinez. “As someone who emigrated with my family from Mexico to Chicago as a child, I am excited to celebrate this special month with the students, staff, and families of our District.”

This week, CEO Martinez and CEdO Chkoumbova shared a special video message with the CPS community about Hispanic Heritage Month in English and Spanish.

Benito Juárez Community Academy in Pilsen, in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Committee of Chicago and Counsel General of Mexico, will host the 2023 City of Chicago Mexican Independence Day Ceremony and Celebration from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday (today), September 15. CEO Pedro Martinez will attend the reenactment of the Grito de Dolores at 9 p.m. at the school’s Plaza de los Héroes Mexicanos on Ashland Avenue. The celebration is free and open to the public. Student performances by mariachi and folkloric dancers will take place outside on the plaza prior to the more solemn re-enactment ceremony and civic act.

On October 5, the CPS Network 8 schools will recognize pioneering leaders in the Chicago Latino community. This network of schools, one of 18 networks across CPS, will award the Agente de Cambio Award to Carlos Tortolero, the CEO and Founder of the National Museum of Mexican Arts, Hector Rico, the CEO and Founder of the Latino Organization of the Southwest, Melissa Hernandez, the President and founder of the Puerto Rico Project, and CEO Martinez.

The Hispanic Heritage Month activities reflect one part of the District’s mission to provide a high-quality and culturally-responsive education that promotes and preserves Spanish as a heritage language for the 47 percent of Latino students in CPS and the 83 percent of English Learners whose home language is Spanish.

This year, CPS launched a comprehensive Spanish Language Arts curriculum, Skyline Artes del lenguaje del español (ALE), in nearly 150 schools to complement Skyline ELA and support the expansion of dual language instruction and biliteracy in CPS. CPS is committed to elevating biliteracy and multiliteracy across the District through developing a first-of-its-kind comprehensive, contemporary, culturally relevant, and linguistically authentic K-12 curriculum for Spanish language arts.

First recognized in 1989, National Hispanic Heritage Month begins with days of significant importance to people from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their anniversary of independence on the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and Chile celebrates its independence on September 18.

The vast majority of Hispanic Heritage Month events and activities will take place in schools across the District as students and staff explore and celebrate the impact of the Latino community in their District, city, and beyond. Hallways and classroom doors will be decorated with special banners, flags, and images of notable Latino activists, artists and musicians. Students will be invited to wear traditional attire representing their culture and heritage. Spanish-language music from various countries will be played and traditional dishes like tamales, pupusas and empanadas will be made and shared in classrooms and school fiestas across CPS.

Media is welcome to any of the following events but must alert CPS via in advance. Please note these are just a sample of the many school-based activities taking place this month.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events 2023

  • September 15, at 8:45 a.m., Hernandez Middle School (3510 W. 55th St.) will host a celebration featuring a band from Solorio High School, a mariachi band, and a folkloric dance performance from Sandoval Elementary
  • On September 15, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Benito Juárez Community Academy (1450 W. Cermak Rd.) will host the City of Chicago’s Mexican Independence Day Ceremony and Celebration with a re-enactment of the Grito de Dolores at 9 p.m.
  • On October 5, CEO Martinez and other Latino leaders will receive the Agente de Cambio Award on behalf of the District’s Network 8 schools at Back of the Yards High School (2111 W. 47th St.)
  • On October 10, at 3:30 p.m., Schubert Elementary School (2727 N. Long Ave.) will host the school’s annual Hispanic Heritage event featuring face painting, games, a flamenco performance, and more.