Imagine beginning school in a classroom where the language spoken is different than your own. Imagine having to learn math, history, and science–subjects that are difficult enough without the added burden of a new language. This is the plight many students in the Denver area face. Through a dual language K-5 program, Escuela de Guadalupe is beginning to level the playing field for both native Spanish and native English speaking students. All native English speakers are required to learn Spanish, and all native Spanish speakers, English. Students achieve bi-lingual fluency through a unique model in which the language of instruction in each class changes every few weeks, so at any given time, half of classes are taught in English and half in Spanish. This way, no student is marginalized due to their native language. Escuela de Guadalupe boasts a high school graduation rate of 87.5%, roughly 30% higher than its Denver Public School peers.
Escuela de Guadalupe’s innovative Graduate Support Program works toward the long-term educational success of Escuela graduates, who leave the school following fifth grade. Graduates are tracked and counseled through out high school, and are encouraged to remain college-bound. As a testament to Escuela’s dedication to its students, the school strives to send at least one staff member to every former student’s high school graduation. More than 75% of Escuela graduates remain engaged in the Graduate Support Program and 2014 saw the first class of former Escuela students graduate from college. Colleges most frequently attended include: Colorado College, Colorado State University, Regis University, Santa Clara University, and University of San Francisco.
With the demographics of Denver neighborhoods constantly shifting, Escuela de Guadalupe plans to relocate during the summer of 2015. The school will move four miles southwest of its current location , providing greater accessibility to the moderate to low-income, Latino neighborhoods the organization serves. The new campus will allow expansion into middle school and pre-kindergarten, allowing more children to benefit from the school’s successful model.With the size of the school nearly doubling, Escuela de Guadalupe will be able to serve roughly 240 students in total.
In December, 2014, the Metro Council recommended a grant of $50,000 to assist with the school’s relocation. The Council is excited about the opportunities their grant will provide and anticipates a bright future for Escuela de Guadalupe.