Inside ECS – Luis Alvarez
Building relationships is the key to student success. No one knows this more than Luis Alvarez, ECS’ Hispanic District Parent Coordinator.
While this is a new role for the district, it’s familiar territory for Luis who has worked with ECS students and families for nine years. In his current position, Luis takes the lead on finding resources and communicating opportunities to our Hispanic community.
“We have so many great programs and resources available,” said Luis. “The biggest challenge is informing the community.”
Luis’ work includes outreach on Spanish radio, building relationships with local Hispanic businesses, and developing a Hispanic professional network to help share information.
“I want to be sure our families know about opportunities before, during, and after school,” said Luis. “For example, our adult education programs where adults can learn about technical careers. There is a large interest in these programs.”
The aspect of his job that he enjoys the most is truly connecting with families and serving our community, something he’s done over the past nine years, first with the Elkhart Academy (LIFE) program, then with Pierre Moran Middle School, and now in his current position.
“Working with students who are frustrated, helping them work through the frustration – those are the moments that really stick with me.” Luis cites former LIFE principal Clyde Riley as a great partner in helping reach kids. “Mr. Riley knew me and trusted me. He learned that I had a way of building trust and relationships with kids. Kids bring problems with them to school, and we’re not here to make more problems for them. When they act up, let’s work through it. We don’t know what a kid experienced before he walked in those doors, so we should smile and tell them ‘good morning’ and make school a positive place for them.” Some of his favorite moments are when formerly frustrated students reach out to him and thank him for his advice, support, and respect.
Creating a positive environment is something that’s followed Luis through his transition into his current role. When he was the Parent Resource Coordinator at Pierre Moran, he remembers hearing from a parent who was hesitant to send her child to Pierre Moran based on what she’d heard from other people. “When I was at Pierre Moran, I met with many parents, showed them the school, shared personal stories. We’ve had parents who were hesitant coming in, but later became strong advocates for us, and became very involved in the school. I think it’s important to build these relationships with our families.” This formerly hesitant parent later told Luis how thankful she was and that she couldn’t imagine her child anywhere beside Elkhart Community Schools.
Luis was drawn to the field of education out of a desire to be a strong example for his three sons. Luis himself was the last born into a family with ten children who moved from Mexico to California when he was young. It was a niece who brought him to Elkhart, and he’s called it home ever since. He loves the Elkhart community and loves the way people treat one another. Outside of work, he loves to be involved in Elkhart’s community events, especially athletic events.
His three sons are Giovanni, Jose, and Emmanuel, and it’s clear the pride and joy that they bring to him when he speaks about them. Giovanni and Jose are both Elkhart Memorial graduates, and Emmanuel is a junior at Elkhart Memorial. All three are unique in their interests (geology, art, drawing, adrenalin, band), but the one thing he’s made clear to all three of them is – do what you love.
It’s this message he delivers to students and families across Elkhart – do what you love – when he helps connect families to resources to better their lives. And it’s clear that Luis is following his own advice – doing what he loves.
Luis is currently reading: Wild at Heart by John Eldredge