Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program

Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,
Development of Teachers


Since 1997, The Cumbres Teacher Preparation program has served students at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) providing an inclusive learning community and scholarship. The mission of Cumbres is to recruit, support, and mentor undergraduate students who pursue a degree in education and who also declare an emphasis/endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher.

Program Description

The Cumbres Teacher Preparation program uses a cohort model and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) teachers by having them live together, take classes as a group, providing access to mentor teachers, advising, and job placement guidance. Students are offered scholarships to ensure persistence in the program. Applicants are interviewed individually to ensure students' commitment to becoming ESL teachers and agents of change for underrepresented and ESL K-12 students. The program focuses heavily on leadership and social justice to help scholars be effective teachers and role models to English language learners and other underrepresented students in their school districts.


Latinos represent 40% of Cumbres Teacher preparation program participants.

As of July 2017, 328 students have graduated from the Cumbres program, 56% of them identifying as Latino.  

Cumbres boasts a 49% graduation rate (over 6 years) and a 73% fall to fall retention rate of students, making it one of the most effective programs in their campus regarding student retention and support.

Approximately 90% of Cumbres students who graduate with licensure are hired within a month of graduation and 95% remain in the region following graduation.