Rogers Heights Elementary School in Bladensburg, Md., has seen an increase in Hispanic population – from 68 percent to 83 percent – in just four years. In order to have better and more effective communication with parents, Kevin Maxwell, the Prince George’s County school system’s chief executive officer, recognized the need for a liaison. He hired Maritza E. Gonzalez, community outreach assistant, who is the first diversity officer in the area to focus on Latino affairs.
Gonzalez is one of the first diversity officers who works full-time in the Washington D.C. area. She will partner with the county government and businesses to ensure that the children are receving proper academic and social support services. Gonzalez will also look over the school policies and procedures regarding diversity and develop new strategies.
According the The Washington Post, Prince George’s County’s population has dropped by 50,000 Whites and has gained 72,000 Hispanics over the last decade; about 17 percent of the county’s population is made up of Hispanics.
Gonzalez received her degree from the University of Maryland, where she completed her doctoral in higher education, student affairs and international policy. She plans to organize mentoring and tutoring programs for students who may not be at the level that is recommended.
What do you think? Should there be a “diversity officer” or liaison at every public school? How would that help bridge communication between parents, students and the school system?