Twenty-four partners from the Kentucky Latino Education Alliance, a partnership championed by Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s (BCTC) Office of Latino Outreach, pledged their commitment to support efforts that will increase Latino student college completion. In 2012, BCTC received $600,000 from Lumina Foundation to create a cross-sector, cross-agency partnership called the Kentucky Latino Education Alliance (K’LEA). Since then, leaders from agencies across the region have been working together to promote student success. In addition to partnership pledges, K’LEA recently awarded more than $100,000 to partner agencies.
In December, partners including the Council on Postsecondary Education, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, universities, K-12 districts and community based organizations from across the region publically signed K’LEA’s Latino student success pledge committing to work intentionally within their organizations and communities to improve Latino student access to and success in college. Partners have agreed to use data to identify Latino student needs and to improve public policy and institutional practices to increase Latino student success in higher education.
All partners recognize that to ensure a bright future for the Commonwealth of Kentucky efforts must be made to improve college completion rates of all community members. Currently only 30 percent of Kentuckians ages 25-64 hold an associate’s degree or higher. Yet, only 17 percent of Latinos in Kentucky have an associate’s degree or higher. The number of Latinos enrolled in public school increased 63 percent from 2006-2011. According to CPE, in 2011 nearly 31 percent of Latinos entering Kentucky’s four-year colleges or universities and 71 percent entering a two-year college were not college ready in at least one subject. Lack of academic preparation and support services within colleges and universities make completion difficult for students.
In addition to the impact that will be made by K’LEA’s collaborative commitments, the organization has also provided mini-grants to partners who applied to a call for proposals last fall. Funds will build, implement and sustain “place-based” programs and services that enhance local Latino student success efforts. Sub-grant recipients include Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) Division of Family Services, the University of Louisville, and Midway College. Descriptions of the activities that will begin in March are detailed below:
LEAP: Centro Latino of Danville, Centre College, and EKU will continue to build on sustainable cradle to career initiatives that positively impact Latino student success. Centro Latino will provide Spanish-language GED programs and support preschool enrollment. The LEAP Partnership will work with the K-12 schools to identify students to participate in Saturday clinics, which are a college prep programs, and the "Actividades Bilingues" tutoring program at the Madison Public Library. EKU will further create a sustainable Latino Student Success Center by partnering with peer mentor tutors. LEAP Partnership will host two summer programs, one for K-5 students aimed at maintaining academic readiness, and one for grade 6-12 students, aimed at introducing Latinos to college life. To better facilitate these activities with the Latino community and area schools, faculty, staff and volunteers from the LEAP partners will have shared ESL, cultural competency and admission/financial aid training.
Americana Community Center (ACC), the University of Louisville (UofL), the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will undertake a comprehensive plan to increase the number of Latinos in higher education through a pipeline of holistic services spanning from cradle to career. Americana’s Family Education and Youth Programs will work with family units as a whole, ensuring parental involvement in children’s educations and provide a College and Career Readiness class to teens. UofL will offer freshmen additional services to promote a positive transition into higher education. NSHMBA will mentor college students to promote graduate-level education. This ongoing contact and motivational messaging from potential employers and professional role models/mentors will promote retention rates and allow Latino students to plan and begin their careers.
Family Care Center: The LFUCG Division of Family Services “Family Care Center,” will provide a bilingual Student Success Coordinator along with outside professional services for interventions targeting two areas of the cradle to career continuum. The first target group consists of Latina high school students enrolled in the Family Care Center’s “Parent Education Program.” Students will receive college readiness support; enhanced remedial academic instruction provided by Fayette County Public Schools; and, expanded college related courses on-site by Bluegrass Community and Technical College. The second target group consists of families with children ages 3-4 enrolled in the Family Care Center/FCPS Pre-school program. Pre-school families will receive college readiness information and programming via the family literacy program offered by the Village Branch Library.
Midway: Midway College’s Providing Academic Transitions to Higher education (PATH) provides understanding of a pathway to higher education and improves leadership skills among minority female students. Thirty-seven Midway College students mentor 78 female students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Leestown Middle School, Woodford County High School and teen mothers attending the high school and GED programs at the LFUCG Division of Family Services Family Care Center. Each month Midway College hosts an informational session focused on the college admission process and improvement of life skills. In addition, Midway College mentors will visit each school monthly, where group sessions between the mentors and mentees will occur. Two field trips will also occur with all participants each year.
For more information about K’LEA including upcoming events and professional development sessions, please visit kylatinosgraduate.org.
Partners participating in the Latino Student Success Pledge of Support: