The University of Arizona College of Education’s Project Outreach FAMILIA is a Title V, grant-funded program that seeks to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students entering higher education and earning college degrees. This school year, Outreach FAMILIA launches their culturally-responsive pre-calculus course for the first cohort of high school students at several TUSD schools.
“We were grounded in Tucson as place—its people, identities, natural beauty, culture, to craft a robust precalculus curriculum that seeks to deliver an education of mind and heart nestled in the Southwestern US and our borderlands,” say Dr. Guada Lozano, Outreach FAMILIA Co-PI and curriculum design lead. “Guiding our work—as cause and inspiration—are our students, our local schools, our communities. I am thankful for this launch and the work and promise that lies ahead.”
The pre-calculus course, approved formally as a culturally-relevant offering by TUSD, is offered in partnership with Pima Community College. The course is grounded on a culturally-affirming and asset-based curriculum developed by Dr. Lozano and her team over the last 18 months. Students who complete the year-long course can earn five college credits in mathematics. This initiative is funded by the US Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Department of Education and is offered tuition-free to students.
“By preparing Hispanic and students from low-income schools in pre-calculus, the Los Gatos initiative increases the likelihood that those students persist through STEM coursework and obtain a STEM degree,” says Dr. Cindy Trejo, the Director of Project Outreach FAMILIA. “Mathematics is the gateway to STEM majors.”
The Los Gatos mini-grant program launched last year, with a cohort comprised of Pueblo High School, Catalina High School, and Rincon High School. Each school received $5,000 per semester to enhance the college-going culture and for teachers to become accredited to teach dual enrollment pre-calculus. Project Outreach FAMILIA seeks the second cohort of high school partners through the Los Gatos Hispanic Serving Pathway grant competition.
To apply for the grant, a school’s student population must be at least 35% Hispanic and operating under USDA COVID -19 waiver, under the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and within 60 miles of the University of Arizona main campus. Application training via Zoom is available for those who qualify.