Since its inception in 1996, the Puente Project at College of the Sequoias (COS) has served more than 400 students, of whom approximately 99% are Latinos. At present, Puente reaches 100 to 150 students per year. Puente has four main components: (1) First-year students take English 251 (Intro to Academic Writing) in the fall and English 001 (College Reading and Composition) in the spring. The content of both courses focuses on Latino authors and issues. The same instructor teaches both classes ad offers extra support to assist students in developing their writing skills. These classes are taken concurrently with Counseling 120AB (Student Success), a study skills class. (2) Puente students work closely with their counselors, meeting several times each semester to develop educational plans designed to facilitate transfer to four-year institutions and for personal counseling. (3) Students are matched with professionals from the community willing to share their knowledge and experience. (4) Puente students take educational field trips to universities each year and attend an annual statewide Puente Conference.
The COS Puente Project seeks to improve student persistence and college transfer rates in a county that continues to hover near the bottom of several socio-economic measures. Tulare County ranks 54th of 58 counties in California in the percentage of children living in low-income households and is 47th in terms of the percentage of high school students eligible for admission to one of California's public universities.
The overall COS one-year persistence rate for 2005-06 was 62%; however, the Puente one year persistence rate for the same period was 83%. For students enrolled in English 001 (Transfer), the one-year persistence rate from 1997-2004 was 83%. The two-year persistence rate for the same time period was 70%. The average retention rate for Puente students taking English 251 in fall 2006 continuing to English 001 in spring 2007 was 72%, compared to 62% for non-Puente students during the same period. Puente students transfer at rates more than one and a half times the general student population (students completing at least 12 units and attempting to transfer English or Math courses). From 1997 to 2003, 52% of COS Puente students transferred to four-year institutions, compared to 34% of all other COS students. Fifty two of the 223 students enrolled in Puente at COS between 1997 and 2003 earned Associate degrees; 42 went on to earn Bachelor's degrees; and five earned Master's degrees.
Programs & Initiatives
- Ensuring America's Future (EAF)
- Examples of Excelencia
- Growing What Works Database
- Growing What Works
- ALASS: Accelerating Latino Student Success