During a panel discussion on “Building Resilient Leaders & Students,” Brawley Elementary School District Trustee Gil Rebollar (top, right) and California State Board of Education Trustee Haydee Rodriguez, of El Centro (directly below Rebollar), and actor Edward James Olmos participate in the first day of the California Latino School Boards Association 2020 Unity Conference on Thursday, Nov. 12. The conference was held virtually through Zoom. | COURTESY IMAGE

Brawley’s Rebollar, El Centro’s Rodriguez Take Part in 2020 CLSBA Unity Conference

Brawley Elementary School District Trustee Gil Rebollar and California State Board of Education Trustee Haydee Rodriguez both participated in the first day of the California Latino School Boards Association 2020 Unity Conference on Thursday, Nov. 12, according to a press release.

Held virtually this year, the annual CLSBA Unity Conference brings together school board members, educational leaders, administrators, teachers, and many more from across California for candid discussions on education, equity, and overcoming adversity.

Rebollar kicked off the conference with a 45-minute one-on-one discussion with actor and humanitarian, Edward James Olmos, to discuss the topic, “Unlocking the Power of Learning through Filmmaking.”

Olmos shared about the mission and vision of the Youth Cinema Project, a “project-based learning program that produces competent, resilient, real world problem-solvers and bridges the achievement and opportunity gaps by creating lifelong learners.” The YCP has been in place at Barbara Worth Junior High School in Brawley for the past six years and was recently renewed by the BESD board.

Olmos concluded the conversation by personally thanking outgoing BESD Trustee Cesar Guzman for his 45 years of service to students and families in Brawley.

Following the conversation was a panel on “Building Resilient Leaders & Students,” which featured El Centro’s Rodriguez, who in addition to serving on the state Board of Ed is also a teacher at Central Union High School; CLSBA president Jorge Pacheco Jr.; San Bernardino City Unified School District board president Gwen Rodgers; Anaheim Union High School District administrator Jose Lara; and moderated by co-executive director of the California Association of Latino Superintendents & Administrators (CALSA), Martha Martinez.

“The experience was exhilarating on all fronts, as an educator who has always used video as a teaching tool because of the way filmmaking transforms students’ lives. They become writers, planners, editors, and they become creators filled with possibility,” Rodriguez stated in the release. “As a state policy maker, I was excited to share how the State Board and Governor’s Office have worked arduously to keep our students and school staff safe and healthy.”

Rebollar added, “I am just humbled and grateful to be part of an amazing conference with so many advocates of education and to also be able to listen to Mr. Olmos share his experiences in witnessing the life-changing impacts the YCP has on a student’s life and community. The YCP gives a voice to and empowers those that deserve to be heard: our children.”

The Unity Conference was to continue through Saturday, Nov. 14. The final day can be viewed live starting at 9 a.m. on the CLSBA’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CLSBA Videos from Nov. 12 and 13 can also be seen.

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