El Colegio High School is free and open to all students regardless of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation or disability. We offer a comprehensive curriculum that is aligned to Minnesota’s graduation standards. We base our program on these values and beliefs:
- A bilingual, bi-cultural education that is grounded in a real-world context,
- Students succeed when they are treated as individuals,
- Education is a discovery of self, and
- Learning happens best through real-world experiences.
El Colegio engages students in challenging, profound learning experiences that integrate research-based teaching strategies with Latino culture and traditions. All staff, students, and families in the El Colegio community will appreciate the value of proficiency in two languages, high academic expectations, and cross-cultural understanding. We base our educational approach on the following core competencies:
Research-Based Teaching Methodology
We use research-proven methodologies as a basis for our work. Where research is lacking we will add to the body of research on effective practices for teaching and learning. We believe that collecting and analyzing data is essential to informing and improving teaching practices. Teachers collect data to assess student growth and inform instruction.
Dual Language Literacy
Academic success for students is the key purpose for our school. Dual language (Spanish/English) education is critical for students’ academic success and personal growth, so first and second language instruction in both English and Spanish is a foundation of our program.
We have trained language teachers who are experts at teaching literacy, which includes effective writing, speaking, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. Furthermore, teachers in all content areas engage in ongoing professional development to improve their skills in this area.
We believe students learn best (particularly ELL students) when skills and concepts are connected across traditional academic disciplines. Therefore, we teach literacy skills in specific language arts courses and integrate literacy instruction across the curriculum.
Culture & Creative Expression
Art education is essential to the development of a creative, fully-developed mind. Therefore, the teaching of art and the integration of art across the curriculum is an important component of our program. Art is a tool, not only for increasing students’ expressive and creative skills, but also to deepen learning in other areas of study.
The teaching and learning of art and Latino culture prepares students to think critically, express themselves clearly, and see current and historical events from multiple perspectives. They will have self-esteem to create and express their own identity, not only through artistic expression, but also through sharing ideas and solving problems.
More about our art program: Muralistas
Our Muralistas program is comprised of El Colegio students, supported by school staff, and established local artists and muralists. In keeping with the ideologies of art for the public realm, our murals have beautified the neighborhoods where they are located, and as a result have helped combat graffiti. As our students conceptualize, design, and paint a mural, they develop community building skills when they present and articulate their ideas to local business and home owners. They also build technical skills and techniques, critical to understanding the process of creating public art.
El Colegio has collaborated with the Bancroft Neighborhood Association to fund and carry out murals in the neighborhood, and the program has received national recognition. In 2006 we received a grant from the National Crime Prevention Council, and we were awarded 2nd place in a national anti-graffiti competition organized by Keep America Beautiful, Inc. Our murals can be seen throughout the city on our building, neighboring garages, and businesses including Mississippi Market in St. Paul and CLUES in Minneapolis.
All students can succeed when they are treated as individuals and are allowed to bring their unique and innate gifts to the learning process. The small setting of El Colegio allows staff to interact with students in very individualized ways. Our advisory system and student to staff ratio of 8:1 create a structure that ensures each student has a least one adult in the school with whom they connect. Advisors not only help students set goals and develop a plan for graduation, but also they work with students and parents to track that progress.
More about our Advisory program
El Colegio’s advisory system is an important tool for providing individualized attention and support for our students. Advisory groups meet biweekly and consist of one adviser and approximately 18 students. Advisory is a time to set goals, build relationships, create learning plans, discuss life after graduation, assess progress, and engage in group discussions to allow students to express themselves and develop higher level thinking. Advisors meet with students individually at least once per quarter to discuss credits, goals, classes and progress towards graduation.
Strong reading, writing, and speaking instruction in Spanish and English prepares students to be active participants in their lives, and proactive critical thinkers in the global community – Para que sus voces sean escuchadas (so they have a strong voice).
Cultural traditions are part of every education. At El Colegio students explore culture and its impact on learning and life by engaging in community cultural practices, exploring their own cultures, learning about other cultures, and investigating and participating in the ongoing creation of culture in our society and world.
At El Colegio we believe that service to the community is an important part of a student’s growth and education. Our students are required to complete 25 hours or community service per year. This can be at the school site as well as with community organizations such as Sabathani Community Center, Second Harvest, Ebeneezer Retirement Home, Centro, Waite House, and Arc. Students also may do community service at their place of worship, the local parks or in their neighborhoods.
Resourcefulness & Leadership
Active engagement in their school and community prepares students to find information, resources, and people to help them reach their goals. They understand issues and effectively work with others to contribute to positive change in their communities anywhere in the world.
College and Career Preparation
El Colegio is dedicated to helping students prepare for their lives after high school – college and careers. All El Colegio students attend a grade-level Career Planning Class that meets once per week. In these classes, students explore how their interests relate to career and college goals, complete job applications and resumes, learn about the college application process, and learn how to pay for college among other things.
El Colegio is collaborating with Minneapolis College to help ensure our students are more prepared for college. Students learn more about entrance into MCTC and take practice placement exams to see their level. Also, our teachers and MCTC staff meet to share ideas, learn more about the college expectations, and align curriculum to help students better transition to college.