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National Latinos in Action Organization Honors Rookie School of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year in the District

Posted 4/10/2024


Rookie teacher of the year and rookie school of the year awards.

A Palm Beach County District high school and teacher took home prestigious awards from the national Latinos in Action (LIA) organization. Lake Worth Community High School received the 2024 LIA Rookie School of the Year award, an impressive achievement for the school which just started its LIA program this school year. 

The award is given to a school that is in their first two years of having LIA on their campus. The winning school must demonstrate excellence in the four essentials of LIA; servicing their community, tutoring at their local elementary schools, being college and career ready, and demonstrating strong student leadership. 

Lake Worth High earned the award out of all the participating LIA schools in Broward and Palm Beach County. This came after a rigorous review process that included monitoring by LIA leadership team members and a local program manager who visited the school. That was followed by a comprehensive evaluation by the LIA corporate leadership team, who then selects the winner.

“We are very grateful to be able to receive this award in our first year,” said Maria De La Cruz-Gutiérrez, the school’s Dual Language Coordinator, World Language Department Chair, and LIA teacher. “We have achieved it after much effort, sacrifice, and dedication.” 

Frank Torres, a U.S. History Teacher at Spanish River Community High School, received the 2024 LIA Teacher of the Year Award. Torres earned the recognition out of all of the LIA teachers in Broward and Palm Beach County. He is in his fourth year of teaching at the school, and is passionate about educating students through the LIA program.

“It is such an honor, I have loved being able to sponsor LIA at Spanish River High. We have some amazing students and I am so proud of each of them as we continue to grow our program at our school,” Torres said. “This is just the beginning of something special that we get to create together.”

The District has 17 schools that offer LIA classes. The LIA program works to bridge the graduation and opportunity gap for Latino students, working from within the educational system to create positive change. The goal is to empower Latino youth to lead and strengthen their communities through college and career readiness.