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The third cohort of kindergartners from Jackson Elementary in the Adelante program made their first visit to the University of Utah on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007. Forty-seven kindergartners from Jackson Elementary’s dual language immersion program are scheduled to receive a welcome from Mike Hardman, Dean of the College of Education, and then visit the Marriott Library & fountain and tour Rice-Eccles Stadium between 9:50am and 11:30 am.

Ed Buendia, Chair of Ethnic Studies, and several faculty from Education, Culture, and Society, including Dr. Leticia Alvarez, Dr. David Quijada, , Dr. William Smith, as well as staff from University Neighborhood Partners, greeted the students and their parents at the amphitheatre outside of Milton Bennion Hall. They then split into two groups and each visited the two sites before returning to Jackson.

Three years ago, U of U professors (Dolores Delgado Bernal, Enrique Alemán, Jr., and Octavio Villalpando) began Adelante, a college awareness partnership between the U and Jackson. The program was founded on research that shows the earlier families consider college, the more likely their children are to actually go to college. To help families see higher education as an option, Adelante concentrates on four main areas: 1) university visits, 2) university mentors, 3) cultural enrichment, and 4) parental involvement.

“We believe every child has the potential to attend and succeed in college. Our goals with Adelante are to prepare students and their families for college by integrating higher education into their school experience and into their personal lives, and to help establish a college-going culture within the school,” said Delgado Bernal.

Regular visits to the U help establish a college going culture within the school. Since 2005, Adelante students accumulated over 100 hours of experience at the U. College-age mentors in the classroom serve as role models, volunteering over 1,500 hours last year. The Adelante performance dance group is an aspect of cultural enrichment. Last year, this group had five performances-one of which was in the Student Union. The feedback and investment parents make in attending fieldtrips and meetings, as well as communications like a monthly newsletter, are examples of how parents stayed involved.

Adelante began with two kindergarten dual immersion classrooms and now involves coordinating about 150 students in kinder through second grade, their families, as well as six teachers. Adelante hopes add a kindergarten cohort each year and follow each through 6th grade. It also hopes to one day make it  available to the entire school.

University Researchers:

Dolores Delgado-Bernal (801) 403-3731
Enrique Aleman, Jr. (801) 596-2225
Judy Perez (323) 216-3097

Jackson Elementary:

Sandra Buendia, Principal (801) 578-8165
Kim Dahlquist, Dual Language Immersion Kinder teacher (Spanish)
Jennifer Newell, Dual Language Immersion Kinder teacher (English)

University Neighborhood Partners:

Rosemarie Hunter, Director (801) 972-3596                                               
Joel Arvizo, YES Coordinator                                            
Sonya M. Alemán, Communications Director