By Felicia Medellin, Escalera Program Manager, NCLR
21 + 1,000 = National Impact
What do these numbers mean? Twenty-one represents the number of NCLR Affiliates selected to implement the Escalera Program over the next year. And, these Affiliates will provide career- and college-readiness services to nearly 1,000 Latino high school students through the Escalera Program.
The Escalera Program was established by NCLR and its partners in 2001 to promote the upward economic mobility of Latinos by increasing youth’s educational attainment and access to information about professional careers and postsecondary options. Its purpose to promote educational access and success is demonstrated by the 90 percent graduation rate among participants. Furthermore, 96 percent of the graduating 2012 Escalera cohort immediately enrolled in college compared to 69 percent of the national Hispanic graduate cohort in the same year.
NCLR convened the selected Escalera sites for a three-day training hosted in Los Angeles from January 28-30, 2014. Attendees experienced an intensive agenda that included the opportunity to participate in and present the newly revised curriculum for the 15-month program. The lesson demonstrations were planned in small groups and allowed the Affiliates the chance to view the curriculum from multiple perspectives and learn from others’ instructional strategies. The training also included charlas about incorporating parent engagement, special needs modifications, and cultural and linguistic competence along with the curriculum implementation. The Escalera team from AltaMed Health Services Corporation was also invited to present workshops on their models for case management and youth internships.
In addition to the main goal of convening the Affiliates for learning about the implementation of the Escalera Program and bringing the curriculum to life, NCLR also hoped to create a supportive learning community among the Affiliates. “I want to remember that there is a network of great people who will be doing the same work,” said one attendee. Together, they will be implementing and testing the curriculum, allowing NCLR and its Affiliate network to learn from their experiences. But more importantly, they will also be making a difference in nearly 1,000 young lives, families, and communities.
NCLR would like to thank the following sponsors of the Escalera Program: the PepsiCo Foundation, Shell, and the UPS Foundation.