April 16, 2008
For Immediate Release
Getting A Head Start: 900 Kindergartners Enter Evergreen Valley College
The gap in math and reading scores between Latino children and their counterparts, which begins as early as kindergarten and persists through high school and beyond, results in a decreasing percentage of Latinos at each stage of the education pipeline. Evergreen Valley College is determined to buck that trend by exposing Latino children to the world of possibilities that a college education can bring them. On Thursday, April 24, the EVC campus, located at 3095 Yerba Buena in San Jose, will welcome 900 kindergartners, 60% of whom are Latino, from the Alum Rock School District for a half day of learning, exploration, and fun. It’s called KinderCaminata, and it starts at 8:30 am.
Dr. David Wain Coon, President of Evergreen Valley College, says, “Exposing our youth early to the wonders of education is so important. Waiting until high school to discuss college and career options with students is often too late.” EVC has been working on bold initiatives to open the doors to education for English Language Learners. “Of the 9300 students at Alum Rock’s 20 elementary schools, 77% are Latino. Many of these students will feed into the East San Jose high schools. Our hope is that they will eventually enroll in our college or other colleges, to create better futures for themselves and their families,” Dr. Coon stated.
Some researchers believe that neural patterns established in the highly sensitive early years of a child’s life—positive or negative—can become permanent. In her work on Education Achievement Gaps of Latinos, Patricia Gandara, Professor of Education at UC Davis writes that “a strong sense of family as well as linguistic and cultural traditions, combine to make many Latino parents reluctant to send their young children to preschool programs. As a result, they’re already behind the rest of the kids when they enter kindergarten.” Those achievement gaps result in SAT verbal and math scores of 598 and 646, respectively, compared to 663 and 729 for the top scoring White quintile.
With the U.S. census indicating that 41 million Latinos now live in the United States and are outpacing the rest of the population in annual growth, solutions to their education challenges are key to the nation’s economic health. Gary Keller, Director of the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University, feels that “helping Hispanic students is not an exercise in rocket science, or a prospect that requires inordinate amounts of money, staff, equipment, and other material resources.”
Indeed, it could be as simple as an annual field trip to college.
ABOUT Evergreen Valley College
With student learning as its primary focus, Evergreen Valley College’s mission is to empower students to expand their human potential and to succeed in a global, multicultural society. The College, which sits on a picturesque 175-acre site in the eastern foothills of San Jose, provides access to comprehensive and flexible post-secondary education to prepare students of all ages and backgrounds for balanced and productive lives and to improve the workforce and quality of life in our community.