A growing number of school districts and universities are working together to push more Latino youth to pursue a college education.
At the same time, school districts also are seeking to boost Latino parent involvement.
A program called Juntos, which means “together” in Spanish, tackles both goals. The program originated at North Carolina State University and now is being replicated at middle and high schools in several states. It is intended for students in the eighth- through twelfth-grades.
As part of the program, Latino teens and their parents attend a six-week-long series of workshops that tackle topics including goal-setting, the college admissions process and seeking financial aid for college.
The Tulsa World newspaper reports that Oklahoma State University and the Tulsa Public Schools are now partnering to implement the program.
“Many Latino parents don’t know how to navigate the American education system and because of where they come from, these parents see the school as the one in power,” said Antonio Marín, a grant coordinator at Oklahoma State. “They need to know they can come to the school to talk to the principal and the teacher and the counselor, and that college is an option for their kids.”
Oregon State University is also leading a Juntos program for students in Madras, Oregon. It is part of the university’s “Open Campus” initiative, which aims to work with K-12 schools, colleges and local government to create higher education opportunities.
Open Campus coordinator Jennifer Oppenlander told KTVZ News that involving parents and their children in the activities makes the program distinctive.
“By attending Juntos together, the experience gives families a comfort level and makes them feel as if they have a support group,” she said.
Are colleges and school districts in your community partnering to work together on similar programs? If not, what is the state of relations between K12 and higher education institutions in your community?