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As part of its mission, CLASE has developed several initiatives to provide English language learners with the tools necessary to apply for, enroll in, and finish college. This begins in high school. Through SALSA (Summer Academy for Language, Science and Aspirations), a major initiative to reduce the achievement gap and promote a pipeline to college, CLASE worked with rising ninth- and 10th-grade high school students in a four-week summer enrichment program. The program was carried out under the name "Steps to College" in Gwinnett County from 2006-2008, and then continued in the Clarke County School District in 2009 and 2010 as SALSA.

This unique model coordinated school district and university partnerships and focused on science, academic language, and college awareness and aspirations. This initiative was pivotal in identifying and encouraging future Latino college students and providing future leadership for the community. Like our tutoring program, the SALSA program provided a pipeline of support where Latino college students assisted younger students just determining what their educational path would be.

The SALSA programs have had impressive results. More than 85 percent of the SALSA students have graduated from high school (compared to the average of less than 55 percent of students from comparable demographics). Furthermore, more than 60 percent of the students who graduated from the first cohort are now attending college.

Due to the success of the program, CLASE is seeking funding to reinstate the SALSA program.

More information

Please contact Paula Mellom for more information on the SALSA program.