The idea began in 1996 when a group of UNC’s Hispanic alumni, concerned about the shortage of Hispanic classroom teachers and high dropout rates among Hispanic students brought forward a plan. In this plan was the birth of what is most widely considered to be Colorado’s premier teacher preparation program. With an original plan of preparing Hispanic and bilingual students through a challenging curriculum and supportive environment to become role models and leaders in the educational community, Cumbres has stayed true to its goal. Today, Cumbres, “Peaks” in Spanish, is specifically designed to prepare more students seeking endorsements in English as Second Language (ESL).
These alumni focused on the needs of Hispanic students in Colorado’s public schools. If the number of bilingual or Teaching English as a Second Language certified teachers increases, Colorado’s Hispanic school children will have more role models and teachers whose proficiency in Spanish and English would enable those students to better meet their educational needs.
Cumbres still aims to produce teachers and improve teacher preparation so that students at all levels, including minority students, meet or exceed state standards.