La Oferta

March 26, 2023

Hispanic Community College Program receives National Attention

November 29, 1989

By Yolanda Reynolds

La Oferta Newspaper
La Oferta Newspaper

National attention to the ENLACE Program at Evergreen Valley College (EVC) is growing.

Program/Mentor Coordinator, Margarita Maestas-Flores and her colleagues will be featured in the November 29 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. This publication is a highly respected newspaper that covers educational issues of national and international scope.

The ENLACE Program evolved out of the Puente Project. The Puente Project is a statewide program which was developed to assist educationally disadvantaged and underrepresented Hispanic students who wish to pursue higher education.

The Puente Project is restricted to developing English proficiency. Maestas-Flores and her colleagues quickly realized that proficiency in math needed equal attention and a number of semesters, and established a new program, ENLACE with an equally comprehensive component.

It was for this major revision that the ENLACE program received the Noel/Levitz National Award for Excellence and Students Retention this fall.

ENLACE was one of the five programs nationally to win the award. ENLACE was the only Hispanic and Community College Program to be recognized. There were 300 applicants vying for this award.

The ENLACE staff consists of Mauro Chavez Ed. D. Program Supervisor; Margie Maestas-Flores, Program/Mentor Coordinator; Richard Regua, English Instructor; Henry Estrada, Math Instructor and Angelo Atondo, Counselor.

Dr. Chavez was recently appointed Associate Provost of Instructional Services at Evergreen Valley College. Chavez is a graduate of San Jose State with a B.A. in Sociology and a M.A. in both Education (Stanford U.) and Mexican American Studies (San Jose State). Dr. Chavez recently completed and Ed. D. at NOVA University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Program/Mentor Coordinator and Business Instructor is Margarita Maestas-Flores. She is a graduate of San Jose State University with a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Education from the University of San Francisco.

English Instructor, Richard Regua earned his B.A. in English and M.A. in Mexican-American Studies at San Jose State University.

Math and Computer information System Instructor, Henry Estrada earned his B.A. in Mathematics at U.C.L.A. and a M.A. in Mathematics at U.C. Berkeley.

Counselor, Angelo Atondo earned his B.A. in Philosophy at the University of San Francisco and a M.A. in Pupil Personnel Services at the University of Santa Clara.

The ENLACE Program has carefully monitored and maintained statistics on the programs effectiveness. According to Maestas-Flores the new component has also demonstrated increased student retention and brought about student success in mathematics.

The Program has demonstrated a 90% completion rate for students in Algebra I and Algebra II. For those students who sequentially enrolled in Algebra I and the Algebra II the completion rate is 53%. These figures differ dramatically from the usul reports of Hispanic students failure in mathematics.

Unique to this program is the role of mentors. There are 60 Hispanic mentors who serve as role models. The mentors also serve as guest lecturers. As all of the mentors are people who work in business and industry, they demonstrate the special and credible evidence that algebraic principles, mathematics and English skills are valuable and necessary in the work world.

Maestas-Flores believes that the success of the ENLACE Program “is that (it) has created a network of educational and community professionals, who have integrated knowledge, resources and influence to effort educational change.”

The program name, ENLACE, comes from the word enlazar which means “to bind or connect,” “to bring together,” “to create community.” For Maestas-Flores the greatest satisfaction she has realized with ENLACE is “the opportunity to bring to the Classroom and its students, community professionals with the willingness and desire to affect the lives of our future Hispanic community leader.”

Maestas-Flores states that “as a team we continue to combine our immense skills, talents, and energies in the clearly defined manner to meet the challenge for achieving true educational equity for the Hispanic community.”

The mission and goals of ENLACE: to increase Hispanic students success and transfer rate to four year institutions of higher learning, is demonstrated in the data gathered.

According to a three-year comparative study of 115 ENLACE and 273 non ENLACE, the Hispanic students enrolled in ENLACE at EVC: were (1) almost twice as likely to complete English 330 (a development writing course) than other Hispanic students enrolled in English 330 ((89 percent/46percent); (2) completed English 1A (the transfer composition course at a rate nine times higher than their counterparts (70 percent/8 percent); (3) completed 1B (the transfer literature course) at a rate 14 times as likely to be retained at Evergreen Valley College (53 percent/17 percent).

In January 1989, a statewide newsletter reported that of the Hispanic students transferring to four-year colleges from six colleges campuses since 1987, 41 percent were from Evergreen Valley College.

The ENLACE staff reports show that at the “Evergreen Valley College Honors Convocation of May 19, ENLACE students were represented in 41 percent of the college categories for scholarship/awards. In 1989’s College Honors Convocation ENLACE students were represented in 42 percent of categories, received 49 percent of all Hispanic students recognized scholarships.

The team of ENLACE Educators have a long list of accomplishments of which the following are a very limited sampling. 1989 Noel/Levy Retention Excellence Award Higher Education, Chicago, Illinois; 1989 Junipero Serra National Award for Leaders Guidance and Vision, Los Angeles, California; Enlace Math Mentor Advisory Committee Established, First Men Training Workshop, First Mentor/Student Convocation Mentor Advisory County Established.

With the growing awareness if this outstanding program, Maestas-Flores says that “ENLACE team is now facing new challenges and opportunities, as well as acquiring additional responsibilities which will need to be addressed by the campus and the community district.”

At a time when budgets are forever “limited” and more students seek participation with ENLACE, the Program will be itself competing among other college programs for more resources. The Hispanic community will determine how the program will go by expressing its support not only at the Board meetings, but also by increased participation of mentors, as the program grows.