Oregon high school graduation rates are among the lowest in the country. And on average, Latino students graduate at even lower rates. Language and cultural barriers and poverty—more than a third of Latinos 17 and younger live in poverty according to IPUMS-USA*—often disrupt a focus on education.
Responding to state and local priorities to boost graduation rates, OSU Open Campus launched Juntos in 2012. The program was originally developed at North Carolina State University.
Latino youth are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of school between 9th and 10th grade. Juntos reduces this risk by providing culturally relevant programming for 8–12th grade students and their parents. Working with Open Campus coordinators, local facilitators and volunteers, families build the knowledge, skills and resources to encourage high school completion and increase access to college.
By partnering with Oregon school districts and higher education providers, and with funding from the Ford Family Foundation and private donors, Open Campus is developing an evaluation system to track success and expanding to support more rural communities. What began with a few families in Jefferson County has grown into a successful engagement program serving more than 1,000 individuals in eight counties and 14 school districts across Oregon. To date, Juntos has impressive results: 100% high school graduation rates and 100% post-secondary access.
*Integrated Public Use Microdata Series-USA is a project dedicated to collecting and distributing US census data