Fostering Latino student success


These programs are the five finalists in the associate-degree category for Excelencia in Education’s 2023 Examples of Excelencia. In total, there are 19 finalists — including the categories of baccalaureate, graduate and community-based organizations — that are prime examples of advancing Latino student success through culturally relevant, evidence-based practices.

Teaming to succeed

Excelencia has posted the profiles of the programs on its website. A common thread that runs through the five community college programs: partnerships.

RACC, for example, teamed with United Way on its program to provide an English-as-a-second-language coach. It also leverages student peers who serve as mentors. In addition, bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff support students in and out of the classroom. These are just a few examples of how the Pennslyvania college intentionally developed its program to guide incumbent early childcare education workers, who are largely Latino.

Another common thread through the programs: There is evidence that they work. In the RACC program, the success of the United Way partnership resulted in a 6% increase in Latino student participation and allowed RACC to replicate it for more students from Latino-operated childcare centers, according to Excelencia.

“Replication increased the number of Latino students earning credits for the Child Development Associate credential, which in turn helped area childcare centers improve their statewide quality rating,” the profile said.

In addition, for the 2021-22 school year, the average success rate of Latino students in these courses was 74%, compared to 66% for Latinos in all 100-level courses, Excelencia reported.

Related article: For homeless students, housing and more

For its housing project for homeless students, called The Village, Cerritos College found that participants have a higher GPA, complete their programs faster and are more likely to transfer than non-participants of their housing programs. A quarter (25%) of Latino participants earned an award within their first two years, compared to 10% of Latino non-participants and 15% of all non-participating students, according to Excelencia. Also, 14% of Latino participants have matriculated at four-year institutions, compared to the overall campuswide transfer rate of 11%.

Excelencia will announce the winners of each category on September 28.

Another one to watch

In addition to the finalists, Excelencia noted eight “Programs to Watch,” described as “up-and-coming programs, [that] have positively impacted the success of their Latino students, and are growing their evidence of effectiveness.” Among them is a scholarship program at Florida’s Valencia College that aims to increase the college-going rate in the county. In its first year, the program supported a 16% increase in Hispanic student enrollment this past spring; of the students who started in the program, 83% were retained from fall 2022 to spring 2023, of which 68% were Hispanic, according to Excelencia.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.