Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program

Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program
State
Colorado
Academic Level
Baccalaureate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,
Development of Teachers

Overview

The Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program is a scholarship and support program for undergraduate students at the University of Northern Colorado who are planning to become English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Cumbres’ goal is to increase the graduation rates of all program participants and enhance their job placement post-graduation.

Program Description

Established in 1997, Cumbres was designed to address the shortage of Latinx teachers in K-12 education. Cumbres recruits, supports, and mentors undergraduate students who pursue a degree in education (Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, Special Education) and declare an endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL) to work and teach culturally and linguistically diverse students in K-12 education. Applicants are interviewed individually to ensure students' commitment to becoming ESL teachers and agents of change for underrepresented and ESL K-12 students. In addition, students are offered scholarships to ensure persistence in the program. The current new cohort of Cumbre participants (2020-2021) is 75% Latinx.

Cumbres is grounded in three high-impact educational practices designed to bridge the service gaps for Latinx and all program participants:

  1. Residential Community: During their freshman year, participants live in a residential community. An upper-classman Resident Assistant (RA) who is also a Cumbres student serves as a mentor and tutor to students to provide meaningful, ongoing support helping students successfully engage with peers, faculty, staff and student affairs professionals on campus.
  2. Learning Community: As part of their general education requirements, participants take classes together with their Cumbres cohort. This allows students to be in classes with their residential community to build a community that supports each other academically and socially.
  3. Mentorship: First-year participants (including transfer and non-traditional students) meet with a peer academic advisor and a mentor teacher in K-12 education.

Outcome

  • Increased 6-year graduation: In 2020, 61% (14 of 23) of participants who began the program in the 2014 cohort graduated within six years. In comparison, 50% of all students at the University of Northern Colorado graduate within six years.
  • Increased persistence: In the 2019 cohort, 71% (12 of 17) of participants persisted from fall 2019 to fall 2020. In the 2016 cohort, 81% (25 of 31) of participants persisted from fall 2016 to fall 2017.
  • Increased job placement: Each year, approximately 90% of participants secure ESL teaching positions in K-12 either prior to graduation or before the start of the next K-12 school year or term.