Families interested in learning from first-generation University of Wyoming students will have the opportunity to do so Tuesday night.
In a partnership, Teton County School District No. 1’s dual language immersion program, Teton Literacy Center and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztian at UW will host a panel, presented in Spanish, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Jackson Hole Middle School. The event’s goal is to promote access to post-secondary education for Teton County’s Latino students.
Four college students from Jackson, Gillette and Loveland, Colorado, will speak to attendees about their experiences applying for college, gaining admission and working toward their four-year degrees. The students will visit Jackson Hole Middle School and Jackson Hole High School on Monday, as well as meet with students at Munger Mountain Elementary School on Tuesday.
Munger Mountain Elementary School counselor Jose Rivas, Principal Scott Eastman and Assistant Principal Sandra Dudzik will facilitate the Tuesday night presentation.
There’s good reason for the community conversation. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Latino English-language learners are less likely to complete high school and attend college than their Anglo peers. In Jackson, the disparity is apparent, too.
Average scores from Wyoming’s standardized tests show an academic achievement gap between Anglo and Hispanic students in Teton County School District No. 1 that mirrors national trends.
The school district’s board of trustees and leadership have repeatedly said that narrowing the achievement gap is a top priority and have devised strategies and improvement plans to do so on a school-by-school basis.
Several factors impact Latino students’ academic achievement, including insufficient resources, acculturation issues, attitudinal barriers, immigration factors and struggles with English-language proficiency.
The district is attempting to combat some of those factors by creating a group of biliterate, bilingual students prepared to lead the workforce and the community in the future. A college degree, event organizers say, is one pathway for students to realize their fullest potential.
With Tuesday being “college day” at Munger Mountain, staffers will be wearing apparel from where they went to school and talking up their alma maters — just another way to help students see themselves as college bound.
Food will be available for purchase Tuesday night, and sales will benefit the Tlaxcala Children’s Library. Free child care will also be available.