Chaffey’s English Learner Program Shows Significant Growth in A-G Completion
Ontario, Ca – It can be difficult enough to excel in college prep courses and meet the requirements for admission into California’s state universities. Imaging doing it in a completely different language.
For English Learner (EL) students at Chaffey High School, qualifying for college is no longer just a dream, but an opportunity very much within their reach.
On Friday, September 20, 16 EL students took another bold step toward transforming their lives when they began a four-day tour of 10 college campuses – part of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District’s commitment to promoting college and career readiness for all students.
“For any student, college can be an abstract concept. This makes it very real, and for these students especially, a life-changing experience,” said EL Teacher Leonard Sanchez, himself a first-generation college graduate who experienced how difficult it could be to navigate the college enrollment process after his high school years. “When we visit campuses, they’ll see students who look like them and sound like them, and it will make it that much more a reality for them.”
This is the first time Chaffey EL students are taking the trip. They boarded school vans at Chaffey High School and headed north, visiting Cal State Bakersfield, UC Merced, Fresno Pacific University, Cal State Fresno, Cal State Stanislaus, University of the Pacific, UC Davis, Cal State Sacramento, UC Berkeley and Stanford University, as well as the state capitol.
Most of them are seniors, giving them just a few months to complete their college applications; but the vision is to use the AVID junior trip as a model.
Jose Rangel, Chaffey’s EL Counselor and himself the son of immigrants, said many of the students had been part of the Newcomer program when they began at the school, meaning they had been in the country for one year or less and had limited or no English proficiency. While in the Newcomer program, students English-language courses, including math and science. A goal is to then get students to the point where they can be mainstreamed into the traditional high school, where they can qualify to take college prep classes.
The results have been impressive. In two years, the number of English Learner students meeting or on track to meet the A-G requirements for admission into the California state universities has grown from zero to 16.
“It’s rewarding to see these kids just go for it,” Rangel said. “They’re lining up to be future leaders of our community, and now we have the opportunity to provide them with some exposure to what college is all about.”
Chaffey Principal Christina Martinez said “the growth in A-G success underscores how the Newcomer program is helping to meet the needs of the community the school serves”.
“Not only have these students successfully participated in rigorous curriculum, they have done so while learning English and even a new culture,” Martinez said. They have overcome tremendous social, economic, and academic challenges to be where they are today. Along with their hard work and determination, these students have had the support of some amazing teachers, particularly our EL team.”
Said Dr. Mathew Holton, Chaffey District Superintendent, “Our mission is to ensure that every student graduates prepared for college and career. Our EL team has done an extraordinary job of making sure that our Newcomers have the same opportunity to succeed in school and live successful lives.”