Reaching Latino Students and Their Families

October 6th, 2014

Across Oregon educational providers are working together to improve high school graduation rates, which are among the lowest in the country. Schools in rural Oregon communities struggle more than others, and Latino student gradation rates are significantly lower than rates of other student populations.

In 2010, Madras High School reported a 57% graduation rate for their Latino students, and of those who graduated, xx% went on to pursue post-secondary education.

juntos2-300x200Over the past four years, the school district has committed to improving those numbers by focusing on creating a college-going culture, and they have seen some significant progress.

One program that has been a key component of this success is JUNTOS, a college readiness program targeted at first-generation college students and their families. Originally developed by North Carolina State University, JUNTOS was launched in Madras in 2012 through a partnership between Jefferson County School District 509-J and Oregon State University.

The JUNTOS program, taught in English or Spanish, meets for 2 hours once a week for six weeks in the evenings. During this time success coaches and college age-mentors facilitate weekly afterschool clubs and activities with the participants.

After two years of running the program, MHS has seen the following improvements with the targeted population:

  • Decreased dropout rates
  • Increased postsecondary education access
  • Increased understanding of high school graduation requirements
  • Increased completion of college applications and FAFSA

 

JUNTOS is also offered in Culver, Tillamook and Sisters, with plans to expand to more locations in the next year.