Abriendo Puertas

Academic Level
Community-Based Organization
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
College Prep


Abriendo Puertas (AP) works to increase college access for Latino students in the Mid-South. They provide weekly after school meetings at five partner high schools in Shelby County. They follow a national curriculum called Escalera, created by UnidosUS  (formerly the National Council of La Raza). These meetings are supplemented with one-on-one advising and extra curricular activities that include college prep advice, ACT workshops, leadership development, civic engagement trips, and other professional and academic support. Their services help students feel empowered to pursue their goals and to become leaders in their communities.

Program Description

The mission of AP is to increase post-secondary access for Latino students in the Mid-South through academic support and leadership development, ensuring that juniors and seniors are empowered with the tools and support necessary to graduate on time and pursue post-secondary opportunities. They work towards these goals using two primary objectives:

  1. Latino high school students will graduate on time and are college ready, and
  2. Latino high school graduates will enroll in a post-secondary degree or certificate program in the fall after their graduation.


Abriendo Puertas students have out-performed their peers by graduating and pursuing post-secondary education at the following rates:

  • 99% of AP students graduate high school on time, compared to a 75% HS graduation rate for students in Shelby County, and 70% for Latino students in Shelby County
  • The average ACT scores of AP student’s are 3-points higher than that of their Latino peers not served by the program, and 2-points higher than all of Shelby County students
  • 100% rate of acceptance to a post-secondary institution for those of our students who graduated on time, and a 67 percent rate of post-secondary enrollment.