By Felicia Medellin, NCLR Escalera Program Manager
On August 13–14 in Chicago, the NCLR Education team convened 22 Affiliates for training of the Escalera Program, a 15-month college- and career-readiness program for high school students.
The training focused on the program’s senior-year curriculum and began with asking the Affiliates to reflect on what they have learned thus far. One attendee said, “I appreciated having the opportunity to learn from my peers and hear about their struggles and successes with the program.” Attendees had fun selecting a song or movie title that reflected their experience with the program and sharing it with the group. They also had the chance to co-teach lessons with their peers, sharing teaching and developmental strategies to apply with their specific student populations. Another attendee said, “I most benefitted from the opportunity to develop lessons as a group and get immediate feedback.”
Research demonstrates that culturally-competent support services, such as those offered by NCLR Affiliates, can ensure that Latino students do well in their studies and are prepared for 21st century career success. NCLR will continue to support the Affiliates’ program implementation efforts through site visits, webinars, and other meetings. This initiative is a long-term commitment to ensure that Latino youth are prepared for academic and career success and have equal opportunities for economic advancement.
The senior-year curriculum tool kit consists of 41 lessons grouped in 13 module units. The lessons guide students through the process of applying for college, scholarships, and financial aid, while others focus on leadership skills, financial literacy, and practical job training. This skills development is a continuation from the junior/summer curriculum consisting of 52 lessons in 15 modules. Together, NCLR has created a robust curriculum to assist its Affiliate Network with changing the lives of more than 700 Latino high school seniors.