Triangle for Latino Student Success is a joint project of the Adelante Educational Coalition and Hispanics in Philanthropy, both of which have a rich history of working in North Carolina’s Latino communities. Currently in the planning phase, the project will target three counties in the vicinity of North Carolina’s Research Triangle: Durham, Johnston, and Wake. The project’s design is based on the belief that advancing Latino student success requires the meaningful and deep engagement of Latino leaders and communities. With this in mind, the project will involve coalitions between Latino families, educational institutions and key stakeholders from multiple sectors. The project makes use of a three-pronged or “triangular” strategy:
The Triangle program will expand and scale up a number of interventions that already have a proven track record of creating pathways to success for Latino students:
- Develop a coordinated system to provide year-round after-school college preparation and leadership development for high school students and their families
- Provide one-on-one mentorship and support for college students
- Deliver professional training for educators to provide school administrators and teachers with better knowledge of the Hispanic student population and the factors that interfere with their educational success
- Create a regional system for measuring and monitoring Latino student success, including specific numerical goals for increasing high school graduation rates, college entry rates, and college completion rates for Latino students
- Advocate for state, local, and institutional policies that promote Latino student success
According to the census, North Carolina’s Latino population grew by nearly 600% between 1990 and 2008. Latinos now make up eight percent of the state’s population and 14 percent of the state’s under-18 population. In the project’s target counties of Durham, Wake, and Johnston, Latino students have a dropout rate of over 50 percent—which means they are twice as likely to drop out as other students in the region. In these three counties, anywhere from 84 to 91 percent of Latinos do not speak English at home. Administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors often lack cultural and linguistic support systems to effectively serve the Latino population, whose fast emergence in the area has presented them with a new and unfamiliar challenge.
Nevertheless, the Triangle region offers strong assets to build on. With 25 institutions of higher education, more educational resources are clustered here than in any other area of the state. Productive partnerships exist between the region’s community-based organizations, such as the members of the Adelante Coalition, K-12 schools, and universities, offering clear opportunities to create culturally relevant support systems.