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Feature_NHU_380Santa Clara University and the National Hispanic University Foundation announced, last week, a new collaboration to create educational opportunities for Latino communities.

Through the University’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology, the Foundation and SCU will offer a premier graduate studies program for the development of culturally responsive educational leaders. Graduate students will be able to earn a master of arts in teaching and California single or multiple subject teaching credential.

The effort is primarily focused on English Learner and Latino education in the Silicon Valley. While American education has traditionally placed high value on English as the primary language, the collaboration insists on curriculum that places equal significance on bi-literate education, and the critical role students’ primary languages play in their success.

Importantly, a focus on Latino teacher preparation is needed as the nation and California grow more diverse. Teachers of color and Latino teachers, in particular, are significantly underrepresented in K-12. According to the National Education Association, only 18% of all public school teachers in the United States are non-White, compared to over 40% of students being non-White. More than 40% of schools do not employ even one teacher of color. Latinos only comprise less than 8% of all K-12 teachers.

The partnership advances educational opportunities for Latinos at all levels, particularly leveraging the efforts of three east San Jose charter high schools developed by the Foundation — Latino College Preparatory Academy, Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy, and Luis Valdez Leadership Academy.

Latino College Prep focuses on providing its students with a rigorous curriculum and environment made up of high expectations and community. The mission of the Latino College Prep is to enable underserved high school English Language Learners to become bi-literate in English, Spanish, mathematics, and science. These skills will ensure their ability to successfully complete requirements for a high school diploma and pursue post-secondary educational opportunities of their choice.

LCPA has been successful in increasing college access and success for Latinos, which comprise nearly 99% of the high school.

In 2012, 51% of seniors were CSU-eligible, and 31% UC-eligible, and 92% of students are placed at the top college of their choice. This is particularly significant as 94% of LCPA students are first-generation college students. A majority, 60%, of LCPA parents do not have high school diplomas.

The Foundation will expand its service to the Latino community as it opens the doors to another charter high school supporting on Latino education. Luis Valdez Leadership academy opens this summer, and Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy will open next year with a focus on the dramatic arts.

The Foundation will also establish a research and policy institute focusing on Latino educational advancement later this summer. The first of its kind collaboration will integrate research, policy, and practice to provide a national focus on advancing Latino students with a concentration on educational achievement, attainment, and advancement.

The SCU-NHU Foundation partnership is primed to develop other opportunities to support Latino community development and Latino educational success, including increasing Latino college access in the Silicon Valley.