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Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ii
Executive Summary…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
The Campaigns…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
The Student Campaign…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Next Steps and Implementation…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
The Latino Initiative is a comprehensive campaign by Youth Discovery Inc, a Cache Valley non-profit, meant to serve minority and low-income students in the Cache Valley area so they may reach their highest potential.
It is Youth Discovery Inc’s vision to make use of local connections and resources to provide academic, financial, networking, engagement, guidance, and service opportunities to the minority and low-income populations of Cache Valley. Our vision includes engaging not only students, but parents, the community, and educators in a movement that empowers participants to envision and build inter-generational and inter-cultural chains of knowledge and support that will strengthen ties throughout Cache Valley and carry our community into a future where all students are achieving their highest potential. Once we have made the Latino Initiative successful in Cache Valley, we envision propagating the Initiative to all universities in Utah and in the United States.
Utah’s minority and low-income students are under-performing in education and career preparedness:
The primary aim of the Latino Initiative is to increase minority and low-income student post-secondary school graduation rates. To do this we need to:
The Latino Initiative is a comprehensive program that will address multiple causes of minority and low-income student under-achievement with a set of four parallel campaigns:
The Latino Initiative is a long-term plan for the personal growth and success of minority and low-income populations within Cache Valley. The partnering organizations behind the Latino Initiative recognize that not every program and goal listed in this proposal will be immediately realized. Instead, the partnering organizations plan to begin implementation of the Latino Initiative by selecting a few of the highest-priority programs within each of the four campaigns listed below. Various schools and departments of the university will be invited to lead out on campaign programs that fall within their interest and expertise. The short-term goal, to be achieved in the next one to three years, will be to create and/or perfect the selected high-priority programs. Once those successful building blocks are in place, The Latino Initiative will have a foundation that will support its full growth and effectiveness. Implementation is estimated to be a continuous on-going process, with nearly full implementation completed by 2027. Nevertheless, as soon as the concepts are proven, there will be assignments made to transmit the success of the Initiative to other schools in Utah, starting with the Wasatch Front.
Youth Discovery Inc has developed four targeted campaigns: the Student Campaign, the Parent Campaign, the Community Campaign, and the Educator Campaign. Each campaign’s efforts are aimed at a unique Cache Valley population, and all are intended to run concurrently with one another.
An investment in students is an investment in our future. The Student Campaign will connect, strengthen, and create programs that provide continual academic and social support to minority and low-income students. Through participating programs, students will learn how to identify the resources available at every level and develop skills that will facilitate their continued success. If an unmet need is identified, the Student Campaign will also facilitate the creation of a new program.
Minority and low-income students experience an achievement gap that begins with pre-school and widens as they approach high school graduation. As they become discouraged, they decide to drop out; nationally, one student drops out every 26 seconds. This, in turn, leads to an economic and social underclass of citizens who are less likely to enter post-secondary education or become involved in the community, and are more likely to engage in delinquency.
At each grade level (elementary, middle, and high school) and into post-secondary education, the Latino Initiative partners and programs will facilitate the implementation and inter-connection of a series of programs that will target the specific academic and social needs of minority and low-income students, encouraging them to stay in school, enter careers, and serve their communities. The specific aims of the Student Campaign are to:
The Latino Initiative partners have identified existing programs and created frameworks for new programs that target the specific needs of students at each level in their educational careers.
Minority and low-income elementary school students primarily need help overcoming the achievement gap, as well as obtaining the support of older mentors and parents.
Latinos in Action (LIA) is a high school college preparatory, service learning, and cultural exploration class. As part of LIA, students are expected to tutor struggling elementary school students of all backgrounds. They are also required to learn and perform a cultural dance. LIA is offered in approximately 60 Utah and Idaho high schools. It currently has a 99% high school graduation rate and an 85% university/college matriculation rate. As the number of middle and high school students participating in LIA increases (see Sections B. and C., infra), more elementary schools and their students can be served by LIA tutor-mentors. LIA tutor-mentors help to close the achievement gap of students early in their academic careers and provide them with positive role models, motivation, and life choice guidance.
The 4-H youth development organization has partnered with a number of Utah State University programs, including the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SPHE), Spanish Ambassadors, Aggie Mentoring Program: Leading and Inspiring the Future You (AMPLIFY), Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), and other groups in order to provide a comprehensive after school program offering:
Each day will be dedicated to a specific theme with a service component and career exploration inserted every day. Monthly activities will bond mentors, students and families to best serve the high school student population.
The Latino Initiative partners will assist T.E.A.M. in finding volunteers and training workshops including mentorship, career readiness, scholarship acquisition and diversity.
In the future, with proper funding, a similar structure in the elementary schools should be incorporated. Afterschool programs extend opportunities for tutoring and mentorship/guidance beyond the classroom. The modified T.E.A.M. Program will be encouraged to look to the Discovery Programs (see Section B, infra) as a model and resource for modifications to the elementary school level.
The Latino Initiative partners will identify schools that are having difficulties in putting on well-attended parent-teacher conferences and parent nights, and will help them to model their programs after more successful schools. A corps of volunteers (including high school and Utah State University students and faculty) will be recruited to provide child care and translation services at these events. They can also provide written and verbal event reminders to parents in their native languages. By helping parents to overcome logistical concerns and to feel more welcomed at school, schools can provide parents with the information and encouragement they need to become more involved in their students’ education.
Dual-language immersion programs provide instruction in both English and a target language. In Utah, target languages include Chinese, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Nationally, research has shown that dual-language immersion programs lead to English mastery, target language mastery, and mastery of other subjects. They have been shown to be particularly effective in helping English Language Learning (ELL) students to truly master the language to the level of a standard native speaker. Based on this data, the Latino Initiative will support the implementation and evaluation of additional dual-language immersion programs in areas that approve them. Dual-language immersion programs will be encouraged to look to the Discovery Programs (Section B., infra) as a model and resource. There are two formats for dual-language immersion programs, and they will be target to meet the needs of the students at each particular school:
(i) One Way Dual-Language Immersion Programs target students who use English as their primary language or who demonstrate a high level of English mastery and little to no knowledge of the target language. It provides standard English training and a class period dedicated to mastering the target language. As students gain mastery in the target language, their other subjects (mathematics, science, social studies, etc.) are increasingly taught in the target language.
(ii) Two Way Dual-Language Immersion Programs target students who already have some knowledge of the target language and have not yet mastered English fully. It provides intensive work in mastering both languages, and other subjects rotate which language they provide instruction in.
In addition to a need for academic and mentor support, middle school students need targeted guidance to continue on to high school and to avoid substance abuse and pregnancy.
The Discovery Programs were created by a group of teachers, parents, and concerned citizens. It is a set of three middle school programs, which include:
(i) Discovery, in which minority and low-income sixth graders that are performing below their grade level read a book featuring minority and low-income protagonists engaging in outdoor activities. The students then engage in outdoor activities that parallel those of the book’s protagonists. During these activities, students are taught scientific concepts and maintain a journal about their experiences.
(ii) ESL Discovery is a version of the Discovery class that has been modified to address the specific needs of English language learning students.
(iii) Summer Discovery is a version of the Discovery class that can be used in place of traditional summer school. Both English-speaking and ESL students can be placed in Summer Discovery.
Following its first year of implementation at Mt. Logan Middle School, participating students gained an average of two grade levels in reading and writing proficiency. The Latino Initiative partners will work to expand the Discovery Programs to other middle/junior high schools that have an identified need for such programs. These programs allow students to better connect with their school texts and to experience literacy and hands-on science in the outdoors. This program allows students to gain background knowledge, identity, and motivation that otherwise would have gone unrealized.
A Junior Latinos in Action will be developed to fit the needs of low-income and minority middle/junior high school students. Middle school aged students will participate in service learning and cultural exploration activities during their time in the class. Non-Latino students who are identified by teachers and administrators as in need of additional academic and/or social support will also have the option of enrolling in Junior Latinos in Action (JLIA). JLIA will build students study skills, identity, and motivation to continue in school. This program also serves as a feeder program to the Latinos in Action Program in the High Schools, giving students a familiar structured program they can turn to once in secondary school.
Please refer to Section A. 1. (c), supra.
In addition to the Latino Initiative program referred to above (Section A. 1. (b)), the Latino Initiative partners will encourage existing Boy and Girl Scout Troops to expand their programs to minority and low-income students that they may not currently reach.
Please refer to Section A. 2. (a), supra.
In addition to a need for academic support, mentor support, and life choice guidance, high school students need information on financial aid and post-secondary education and career pathways.
A version of the Discovery Programs will be developed for minority and low-income high school students who are performing below their grade-level, learning English, and/or in need of summer remediation. It will be expanded to high schools that have an identified need for such programs. As applicable, the Latino Initiative partners will facilitate collaborations between the Summer Discovery Program and other summer camp programs such as Stokes Nature Center and The American West Heritage Center in order to provide the most enriching program possible. Additionally, the Summer Discovery Program may be combined with an ACT-prep and summer bridge program (please see Section C. 2. (b), infra). The Discovery Programs allow students to better connect with their school texts and to experience literacy and hands-on science in the outdoors. Students gain background knowledge, experiences, identity, and motivation that they otherwise would not have had.
LIA is a high school college-prep, service-learning, and cultural exploration class. As part of LIA, students are expected to tutor struggling elementary school students of all backgrounds and to learn and perform a cultural dance. As part of the Latino Initiative, LIA will:
It is hoped that high schools can be induced to provide enough periods of LIA that at least half of the Latino students have an opportunity to be part of LIA>
LIA is offered in approximately 60 Utah and Idaho high schools. It currently has a 99% high school graduation rate and 85% university/college matriculation rate.
Please refer to Section A. 1. (c), supra.
The 4-H youth development organization has partnered with a number of Utah State University programs, including the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SPHE), Spanish Ambassadors, Aggie Mentoring Program: Leading and Inspiring the Future You (AMPLIFY), Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), and other groups in order to provide a comprehensive afterschool program offering:
The Afterschool Coalition (T.E.A.M.) will be offered at Sky View High School, Logan High School, and Mt. Crest High School beginning in August 2014. Cache Valley 4-H itself has 100 years of demonstrated success in providing students with motivation and life choice guidance. Utah State University and its programs have 125 years of demonstrated success in improving the lives of students and families through education. A long-term goal of the Latino Initiative partners is to expand this program to other high schools that have an identified need for such a program. Additionally, The Latino Initiative partners will encourage existing Boy and Girl Scout Troops to expand their programs to low-income and minority students that they may not currently reach.
The Bilingual Youth Corps, a division of the Utah Conservation Corps, employs bilingual college and high school students to work during the summer on conservation projects at Golden Spike National Monument, the Wellsville Mountains, and other locations across Utah. The college students (crew leaders) also provide the high school students (crew members) with literacy, science, and career information in both English and Spanish throughout the summer. The majority of participants continue/enter post-secondary education, and every summer one student earns a permanent position with a federal agency.
The Latino Initiative partners will help the Bilingual Youth Corps to find funding for additional student participants. It will also explore the addition of new programs that provide emphases on other career fields and that target students with misdemeanor criminal offenses to create a first-time offenders program in conjunction with the police department.
Please refer to Section A. 2. (a), supra.
Utah State University offers a one-week summer course to incoming freshmen entitled Connections. The Connections course focuses on helping new college students in developing critical college study skills, time-management techniques, and test-taking strategies, as well as promoting an awareness of the campus and community. Connections also allows students to develop a support network of classmates, faculty, and staff to help ensure a successful start to an academic career. Students receive two credit hours upon successful completion of the Connections course.
Utah State University could offer free or discounted enrollment to Cache Valley students who are or would be financially eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.
Utah State University’s Financial Aid Office sponsors workshops and provides financial aid guidance for matriculating high school students in the Cache Valley community and beyond. Utah State University could expand these programs to train a dedicated group of student volunteers to go into the community and provide individual or small group financial aid counseling and assistance to minority and low-income students. The student volunteer corps would be housed within the Val R. Christensen Service Center, and new students would be continuously trained so that the corps is always serving high school students in need.
In addition to the needs typical of high school students, post-secondary students need more intensive resiliency and professionalism training, as well as financial aid counseling, in order to complete their programs of study and to enter careers successfully.
The Latino Initiative partner organizations will:
The Latino Initiative partner organizations will:
Utah Valley University has a highly successful Summer Bridge Program that could be a model for USU. USU could offer free summer semester courses to prospective and incoming freshmen. These courses would provide students with strategies for success in college and university credit. They could be incorporate into existing USU resources such as Student Services, Access and Diversity Center, Academic Resource Center, SOAR, Career Services, Advising Department, A-team, ASUSU and other programs and resources. The summer bridge program serves as a recruitment tool as well as an opportunity for minority and low-income students to get ahead in their education that they might otherwise not be able to afford.
Youth Discovery Inc’s Latino Initiative is among the most comprehensive plans in Utah – and possibly the nation – to increase minority, low-income and whole community achievement. However, planning is only the first phase. Youth Discovery Inc will begin implementation of the Latino Initiative in June 2014.
With a comprehensive plan in place, Youth Discovery Inc has determined the next steps, which will eventually lead to full implementation of The Latino Initiative.
Together, we can ensure that Cache Valley remains a great place for all of its residents to live, and serve as an example to the rest of the United States.
 Lambert, J. Utah State Office of Education, (2009).Achievement gap. Retrieved from website: http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Assessments-Student-Achievement/ScienceGapData.aspx
 Utah State Office of Education, (2011). Cohort graduation and dropout rate by district and school: Class of 2011. Retrieved from website: http://www.schools.utah.gov/data/Educational-Data/Graduation-Dropout-Rates/FinalCohortGrad2011b.aspx
 Complete College America. (2011). Utah 2011- complete college America report. Retrieved from http://www.completecollege.org/docs/Utah.pdf
 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010). Labor force statistics from the current population survey. Retrieved from website: http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm
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