Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program

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


Cumbres uses a cohort model to support education majors committed to becoming English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsed and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) teachers by having them live together, take classes as a group, and providing access to mentor teachers, advising and job placement guidance. Students are offered scholarships to ensure persistence in the program. Applicants are interviewed individually; the program looks for students that are committed to becoming ESL teachers and agents of change for underrepresented and ESL K-12 students. The focus is 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.

Program Description

The Cumbres program recruits, supports and mentors Latina/o and other undergraduate students who pursue a degree in education and who also declare an endorsement or emphasis in English as a Second Language (ESL) to work with and teach linguistically and culturally diverse students in K-12 public education. The program uses four main components to foster success among participants: living community, learning community, mentorship and leadership development. Cumbres graduates are licensed in ESL education and prepared to serve as excellent teachers and role models for underrepresented students.


The Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program at UNC has served and supported Latina/o students’ success in higher education since its inception. According to the UNC`s Fall 2015 Census, only 18% of the entire undergraduate student population at UNC self-identified as Latina/o students. However, the percentage of Latina/o students recruited, retained, and supported by the Cumbres Teacher Preparation program is over 40 percent. Since 1997, 328 students have graduated from the Cumbres program (as of July, 2017). Cumbres is comprised of 56% Latino/a students, 39% Anglo, and 5% other ethnicities Cumbres maintains a traditional ratio of 85% female and 15% male education students. The current new-student class (2017-2018) consists of:
1) 42 students from high schools in CO, as well as non-traditional and transfer students 
2) 56% Latino/a  
3) A total 103 active participants with average GPAs of 3.25

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