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News & Events

Guatemala native finds success at Palo Alto College

International student Yolanda Rodriguez would never have imagined she would be receiving an education in America. Read More >

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Guatemala native finds success at Palo Alto College

International student Yolanda Rodriguez would never have imagined she would be receiving an education in America. Read More >

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Oil Boom Reaches Palo Alto College

The South Texas oil boom has brought an influx of people trying to work in the industry, and with good reason. Read More >

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PAC honored as Legend of the Southside

Palo Alto College was honored by the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce as a Legend of the Southside. Read More >

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PAC named Military Friendly School

Palo Alto College, one of the Alamo Colleges, has been named to the Military Friendly® Schools list for 2015. Read More >

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Vets Getting Back to What They Love

Palo Alto College aviation program looks to embrace military veterans. Read More >

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PAC launches four Early College High Schools

Palo Alto College, one of the Alamo Colleges, held a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch four new Early College High School partnerships on Thursday, Aug. 21 Read More >

Palo Alto embraces Puente program for student development

Palo Alto College’s recent partnership with the Puente Project was featured in a story written by Marissa Villa in the Dec. 5 issue of Conexión. Click here to read the story on mySA.com or read it below:


Palo Alto embraces program for student development


By Marissa Villa

A project that began 30 years ago in California and encourages underrepresented students, including Latinos, to pursue more rigorous coursework while being mentored by community leaders, has made its way to Texas this year with Palo Alto College as one of the newest members of the project.

The Puente Program combines writing, mentoring and counseling to form a learning community for students who qualify.

A little more than 50 students at Palo Alto College who scored below college level reading and English on placement tests, and who probably would have been in remedial courses, are instead in a learning community that stresses accelerated writing instruction. Students in the program have to commit to one year.

Professors in the program work together to assure their curricula complement each other.

The curriculum is culturally relevant to ensure students can connect with their coursework, says Yolanda Reyna, assistant professor and chair of counseling and student development.

“This lets them know there are Latino writers,” Reyna says, “also to let them know that their culture and background is relevant.”

Reyna works with professors Daniel Rodriguez and Rafael Castillo on curricula while Diane Lerma, also a reading instructor, focuses on the mentoring aspect of the project.

Part of the counseling is a student development class all students in Puente are required to take.

“We call ourselves ‘the Puente familia,'” Reyna says, adding that she's noticed students have taken ownership of the program. “I would say it's going well; I've noticed with this class attendance is really good ... students hold each other accountable.”

Mentors, who were hand-picked from the community and within Palo Alto faculty and staff, were paired with students who have similar interests. Students spend at least 18 hours over the course of two semesters with their mentors.

Additionally, counselors are available to students, which is something Reyna says has shown to improve students' academic performance.

“We're going to be following them until they graduate,” Reyna says, to ensure they continue their college education.

mvilla@express-news.net

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