by Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — Enrollment numbers of Hispanic students at Ivy Tech-Logansport have increased since a partnership between Logansport High School and Ivy Tech-Logansport began last year.
The partnership, “Bienvenidos al colegio Ivy Tech,” encourages Hispanic students to attend college.
Emily Graham, assistant director at Century Career Center and English language learner coordinator for the Logansport Community School Corporation, recently took students in high school and eighth grade to a Hispanic Heritage event at Ivy Tech’s Logansport in order to let students experience the campus.
The original issue, Graham said, was Ivy Tech-Logansport didn’t have a large population of English language learners.
While 27 percent of the LHS students described themselves as Hispanic during the previous school year, just 4 percent of students at Logansport’s Ivy Tech did. This year the proportion of Ivy Tech-Logasnport students describing themselves as Hispanic has increased to 7 percent.
“The partnership is working, but we still have more work to do,” Graham said.
Elisa Banuelos, an English language liaison for Logansport Community School Corporation, informs parents and students of the partnership.
This year, the focus is to find students interested in a similar career and bring teachers from Ivy Tech to discuss the classes available that would need to be taken for the specific major, Banuelos said. Students will meet and hear from a instructor who teaches at Ivy Tech in a class the students might be interested in.
Diana Kerrigan, an Ivy Tech-Logansport representative, plans to visit the school twice a month during Felix period, a Wednesday period similar to homeroom, Graham said. Instructors will also come to the schools to make it easier for the students, Banuelos said.
“There are so many aspects and sometimes students get overwhelmed,” Graham said. “However, if a person is coming into the school, they know there is someone to answer questions.”
The initiative, Graham said, is to facilitate entrance into college for Hispanic students. Ivy Tech-Logansport’s higher amount of English language learners is encouraging, she said.
“This is very important because kids who just came from another country need to see we care and want to help,” Banuelos said. “I want to see the partnership grow and have a feeling it will improve. I have high hopes for this year.”
They are working to help students learn the steps and answer any questions.
“I think the desire is there for students to do post-secondary school, they just don’t know all the ins and outs,” Graham said. “We are supporting them even after they graduate.”
Banuelos said parents are usually comforted to understand there are people who care and will help out with the process.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for parents and the community,” Banuelos. “It’s great for kids to see that’s it’s not as hard as they think to go to college.”
Parents should know even if students don’t choose Ivy Tech, the point is to let them know college is accessible.
“We’re here to help them no matter where the post-secondary education is,” Graham said. “We want them to see they have options hnd have some kind of solid goal.”
The next step is to work with Ivy Tech to develop some English language classes for students who speak English as a second language, Graham said.
“That is where we want to head in the future,” Graham said. “We’ve gotten more kids on campus. They see how close it is to home and feel it’s more attainable.”
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.