Boosting Hispanic Graduation Rates
Missouri Teacher's Work Earned NEA Award in 2005
Not willing to accept the growing Hispanic dropout rate at Springfield's (Missouri) Central High School, Alicia Traub, a daughter of American missionaries raised in Argentina, launched a Latino Bulldog Club for Hispanic students considered academically "at-risk."
The Spanish teacher reached out to the students by providing resources to help them at school and by routinely telephoning and meeting with potential dropouts. She also reaches out to parents by providing them with resources to help their children stay in school.
As an Anglo familiar with Latin American culture, Traub is able to explain cultural differences to her colleagues. She has taken her non-Spanish speaking students to a sister city in Mexico for a weeklong stay with host families.
"Some Hispanic students didn't see a reason for graduating, and cultural differences discouraged others from finishing high school," said Traub. Although American, Traub was culturally Argentinean when she came to Springfield to attend Evangel University and she knew first-hand the difficulty of adjusting to a new culture.
Since her arrival, the Hispanic dropout rate has declined steadily.
In April 2005, Alicia Traub received NEA's George I. Sanchez Memorial Award for her work in the Hispanic community strengthening educational opportunities.