Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

Foothill College Una Puerto al Exito

Outreach Division

12345 El Monte Road

Los Altos Hills, CA 94022


Description: Una Puerta al Exito is designed to increase recruitment and retention of Spanish speaking students by using Spanish language materials to create a better understanding of career options at the college.

Development of Recruitment Materials:

This practice is designed for Spanish-speaking underserved high school students and their parents. The college developed Spanish marketing materials to use with potential students and their parents. The materials were identified by determining which English publications were most difficult to keep in stock. An ad hoc campus committee was formed to make certain the materials were translated appropriately. The translated materials were designed to be succinct, and eye-catching. Materials were designed in-house and printed off campus. The translated materials include:

• A striking 8 1/2 x 11 poster saying "Why Pay More? (Porque Pagar Mas?)" compares the annual tuition costs of a local private university, technical trade school, University of California campus, and a California State University campus to costs at Foothill College.

• Brochures detailing careers in Biological and Health Sciences, the targeted areas of the activity. The brochure contains information on the length of training, application requirements and any necessary prerequisites, salary range, and the name and contact information of the program director and affiliated counselor.

• Business cards were also printed in Spanish and a Spanish information phone line was established.

Outreach activities:

The college targeted their feeder high school with the highest percentage of Spanish speaking students. Numerous activities were designed to reach out to these students and their parents using the translated materials. They included:

• Presentation at the high school’s college night. Sessions in Spanish were conducted for students and parents, and information was available at tables.

• Presentations at high school club meetings, to the Spanish Speaking Parents’ Club, and a notice was placed in the school newspaper.

•The project also contributed to a Foothill campus-wide event entitled " Raza Day. " Students were bussed to the Foothill campus for a morning event that included a campus tour, a career fair, and a panel presentation featuring Latina graduates of Foothill College who are working in fields for which they trained.. The panelists included graduates in career fields nontraditional to their gender. Career Program graduate panelists were given questions to answer for their audience. Latino Heritage activities included lunch and Mariachis.

Primary staff for the project were two staff members of Foothill’s Outreach and Retention office under the direction of the Dean of Outreach and Retention. The Director of Tech Prep/Co-Op Education, the career center coordinator and two Puente/Bridge counselors also contributed to the project. (The latter included a second school at Raza Day and provided a luncheon Latino speaker). The project used VTEA special populations mini grant funds of $5000. Student transportation and food costs for Raza Day were provided by Tech Prep.

Success in recruiting students attending Raza Day was tracked by asking students to complete name and contact cards. Those cards were checked against Foothill enrollment for the following quarter. Approximately 25% of students attending Raza Day registered at the college. Another indicator of success was the enthusiastic reception by the high school. A side benefit was that numerous parents of the targeted students expressed interest in enrolling at the college.

Creating a strong relationship and getting buy-in from the feeder high school is essential for replication. The more inter-departmental cooperation and collaboration that can be generated on campus, the more likely local Latino high school students will be to register in high-wage, high-demand career programs. Truly, a “door to success."