Preparación Project

Preparación (2006-2010)—Building Teacher Capacity for Latino Academic Success in Middle/High School and Beyond: Innovative In-service and Curriculum Reform

Preparación Teacher using the Curriculum
in our PLDP Summer institute

  • FIPSE Grant #: P116B060067
  • Three-week onsite in-service to build middle and high school teacher capacity to deliver T&I curricula effectively in the classroom
  • Turn-key legal, medical, business, media, community service, and education units for integration into existing Spanish classes
  • 500+ students served to date

"Preparación is a long overdue program that has the one ingredient missing in many academic programs: It values what students are bringing from home, their native language. Not only does it take it to higher levels, it allows students to see the value of their native language in different realms of society. Preparación is a win-win program for English and Spanish, but perhaps most importantly for students’ self-view of how crucial their developed, well-trained bilingualism is to today’s world."

Juan Rojas, Assistant Principal, Sunnyside Unified

Preparación’s Impact on Teacher Effectiveness

Ten high school and three middle school teachers completed the 120-hour Preparación teacher in-service in July, 2007. The in-service teachers unanimously agreed that it was “among the best I have taken.” Further, on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being “strongly agree”), the in-service received 4.9 regarding its value to the teachers personally, and 4.9 regarding its professional value.

In April, 2008, the Preparación teachers were surveyed again. At this point, most had just completed piloting the curriculum and had the opportunity to experience its impact on their teaching and on their students. The teachers maintained their high opinion of the importance of the Preparación in-service, as indicated by the following responses:

4.5 The capacity of the Preparación project to improve teacher quality is significant.

4.9 Training students in translation and interpretation can have an important impact on their academic performance.

4.8 Preparación has the potential to improve foreign language instruction.

Preparación’s Impact on Student Engagement

Based on teachers’ classroom observations, Preparación has a significant and positive impact on students’ engagement with school. There was wide agreement that Preparación promoted:

An interest in learning (4.8)

Academic confidence/motivation (4.4).

Several teachers observed that students frequently had “eureka” moments. Another teacher astutely observed that attendance had not only increased in her class, but that students were “asking more and more critical questions.”

Teachers observed that Preparación promoted interest in higher education (4.3) and has expanded students’ career interests and recognition of the employment value of their bilingual abilities (4.7).

Preparación’s Impact on Student Academic Outcomes

Not only were the students more engaged, the teachers also saw a positive correlation with improved student outcomes, indicating that the capacity of Preparación to improve academic outcomes is significant (4.5), and that it has promoted intellectual/cognitive growth in their students (4.7).

One teacher commented that her students’ grades have improved in her class. Another teacher observed that students who usually do not participate in class (and who she felt had given up on school) became very vocal and participatory as well, and that they were completing assignments more than usual.


These projects have been primarily funded through grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Additional support has been provided by Mrs. Agnese Haury and the Haury Trust, as well as the University of Arizona.