Home English The Unidos Project in New Mexico is organizing the Albuquerque community to increase Latino student success
English - December 1, 2015

The Unidos Project in New Mexico is organizing the Albuquerque community to increase Latino student success

“This case study highlights Unidos’ community efforts to improve Latino student success and can inform other community and national strategies,” said Deborah A. Santiago, Excelencia in Education’s COO and vice president for policy. “Excelencia in Education is known for highlighting partnerships that improve Latino student success—Unidos is an exemplary effort by an exemplary community of leaders.”

The Unidos Project uses knowledge of New Mexico’s history, culture, and the Hispano/Latino community to develop a culturally responsive organizing approach that engages local, state, and institutional partners in supporting Latino student success. For example, they use the Acequia — a centuries-old, community-operated, irrigation water delivery system native to New Mexico — as a metaphor for their community organizing approach. The Acequia describes students’ educational pathways and the roles, responsibilities and respective tasks of community members that are necessary to optimize the “student flow” to success. Components of the Acequia include:

  1. Abriendo La Compuerta (Opening the Gate) to provide access and ensure that greater numbers of students are graduating college-ready.
  2. Aumentando La Corriente (Increasing the Flow) to help students and families understand the transformational power of education.
  3. Recuperando La Corriente (Reclaiming the Flow) to bring back students to complete their high school equivalency diplomas or their credential or degree programs.
  4. La Limpia (Removing the Barriers) to identify and remove institutional barriers that perpetuate disparities through inequity, exclusion and institutional racism.

The authors of the case study are Jozi De León, vice president and chief diversity officer in the University of New Mexico’s Division for Equity and Inclusion, Teresa Brito-Asenap, Unidos Community Liaison, and Jennifer Gomez-Chavez, director of Student Academic Success at the University of New Mexico.

To download the complete case study, “Community Organizing on Behalf of Latino Student Success: A Case Study of the Unidos Project in New Mexico,” visitwww.EdExcelencia.org.

The Unidos Project is one of 13 Lumina Latino Student Success efforts funded by the Lumina Foundation in 2012 to increase graduation and postsecondary education attainment. These communities brought together diverse community partners for collective action focused on increasing Latino student success. Excelencia in Education provided technical assistance and communications support, and these place-based efforts have become models for other communities around the country helping our nation achieve the goal of 60 percent of Americans earning college degrees by the year 2025. 

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission.  Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership. For more information, visit: www.EdExcelencia.org.

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