Celebrating Excelencia

As National Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close on October 15, we are continuing the celebration by highlighting our joint partnership with Excelencia in Education. At the Center for Equity in Learning, we are grateful for partners like Excelencia, which is actively pursuing acceleration in Hispanic student success in higher education. With Excelencia by our side, we stand together to bridge the equity gap in education for our growing Hispanic population. This year a record number of students – nearly 2.1 million – took the ACT with Hispanic student participation up 44 percent since 2012, demonstrating that Hispanic students have high postsecondary aspirations, but there is work to be done to help them make their dreams a reality.

Excelencia recently honored its 2016 Examples of Excelencia in Education in Washington, D.C. – programs that are actively and successfully helping Hispanic students succeed in higher education. These honorees were college- and community-based programs creating pathways to Baccalaureate and Postbaccaluareate opportunities for Hispanic students.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) was recognized for the success of its Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program. NOVA has developed an award-winning associate program model that has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in college readiness, access, success, and completion.

Saint Augustine College, in Chicago, was recognized for its Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. It is the only BSW program of its kind in a Midwest college with a bilingual curriculum and was started in response to a need for bilingual social workers in local agencies, and a more empowered Hispanic community.

California State University –Fullerton (CSU) was also recognized for increasing Postbaccalaureate opportunities for Hispanics with its extremely successful program titled EPOCHS – Enhancing Postbaccalaureate Opportunities. The overarching goal of the program is to increase the number of Hispanic students who achieve a master’s degree by increasing enrollment and improving graduation rates.

In addition to the higher education honorees, Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) was recognized for its community-based approach in creating a college-going culture for Hispanic families and gives students college-prep services. The mission of BLCI is to prepare disadvantaged students to be among the first in their families to attend and succeed in college.

We salute Excelencia and all the honorees for their tremendous success in creating access to success in post-secondary education for Hispanic students. The Center and Excelencia share a common goal to create equity in education. Excelencia and ACT partnered together to produce The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015: Hispanic Students which found more Hispanic students took the ACT test and aspired to attend college in 2015 than any prior year. These findings are exciting but also show there is work to be done to better support and develop more pathways to success for Hispanic students. Partnerships like this are central to the work of the Center and will be critical to our shared success. We celebrate Excelencia and look forward to all the good work we can do together!