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Latinos in Action program helps Sky View students reach 94th percentile

October 8th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

By Elizabeth Grewe

SMITHFIELD–It’s no secret that the Latino population in Cache Valley is growing. To help Latino students meet some of their unique challenges, Sky View High School hosted its second annual Latino Night Oct. 4. Principal David Swenson addressed 50 parents with some encouraging words.

“This is your school too,” Swenson said, “You’re welcome here. Your children have every opportunity here.”

Swenson explained that every year, Sky View has “end of level” tests. Two years ago, Latinos scored in the 58th percentile. Last year that number increased to the 84th percentile–almost a 30 percent jump. This year, Latino students scored in the 94th percentile. That is 1 percent higher than Caucasians.

“We attribute that success to not only teachers and other community members, but parents,” said Swenson.

Latinos in Action also contributes to the success of Sky View students. Though the program is in the beginning stages, there are high hopes for the program. Latinos In Action (LIA) is a program that is designed to inspire Latino students to utilize their skills and to empower them toward a career.

Founded in 2000 by Jose Enriquez, the program has two main objectives: To create programs that allow Latino students to develop their linguistic, social, and cognitive skills, and to encourage Latino students to graduate, enroll in higher education and pursue a professional career.

Enriquez realized he wanted to start LIA when working as a teacher, he realized there was a huge resource for translation in high schools.

“Why can’t we train high school bilingual students?” Enriquez asked. “To come into high schools and to wake up a dormant language–put it to use. It would help the community.”

Enriquez explained that LIA boosts confidence for Latino students. “It’s a stage for them to perform on, and it feeds their self esteem.”

Enriquez said that in Utah, Latinos are the minority, and this helps them to navigate the system. This becomes their vehicle. LIA has strong statistics of the positive influence of the program in teens lives. Ninety-five percent of seniors enrolled graduate on time and 84 percent of those are college-bound. Over 41,500 hours of service has been given to schools and communities by participants in LIA.

Christi Carroll, the Sky View contact for LIA, explains that this is the beginning for the program at SV. “This is Sky View’s first year of the program. We’ll be starting the LIA class second trimester–end of November.”

Enriquez has high hopes for LIA at Sky View. “Logan is power. The teachers in Logan are so passionate and they take it to the next level. I know the same will happen at Sky View; already they have taken off and run with it.”

For more information or to donate to the LIA cause, you can visit www.latinosinaction.org.


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