California Educator

April 2014

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Learning T H E Y M AY N O T share the same parents, but they are BROS. In fact, there are more than 300 BROS attending high schools throughout Anaheim. BROS sounds like the name of a street gang, but it's not. In their matching BROS T-shirts, the teens explain that they belong to a unique band of brothers who are bound for college and success in life. "Being a BRO is something good to be involved in," says Jaime Villa. "It betters you." BROS, which is not an acronym, is somewhat like a fraternity, say stu- dents. Their goal is to support one another in the quest to graduate from college and become contributing members of society. BROS is not just for high achievers; members range from English learners to students with spe- cial needs to honors students. It's not your typical fraternity. BROS comes from a community in the shadow of Disneyland that is 98 percent Latino, where gangs, vio- lence, drugs and poverty are common. Many BROS learned English as BROS breaking Latino stereotypes They may not share the same parents, but they are BROS. By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin a second language. Some are undocumented and living in fear of deportation. Rya n R u e l a s , t h e A n a h e i m H i g h S c h o o l h i s t o r y and psychology teacher who created the BROS pro- gram, understands the challenges Latino males face in his community. "I'm an Anaheim boy who witnessed a lot of stuff grow- ing up." In 2009, Ruelas was invited to attend a conference at UCLA on the topic: "Why are Latino males not going to college — and why are those who go to college often not successful?" The Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association (ASTA) member found more questions than answers, but decided he was going to do something about the problem. Egbert Arias and Gregory Santana are among the more than 300 members of BROS in Anaheim. Best practice 44 A P R I L 2 0 1 4 Educator 04 Apr 2014 v2.5 int.indd 44 4/15/14 2:21 PM

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