Cumbres uses a cohort concept, in which an identified group of teacher education students begin together as freshmen and take a cluster of courses each year that not only prepare them for their area of primary teacher certification, but also for an endorsement in ESL. What sets these teacher education students apart is that they are being specifically trained to teach public school children who may be bilingual in English or Spanish, or whose primary language is not English.
In addition to the bonding that the cohort experience produces, Cumbres students are also assigned mentors, individuals in the Greeley community or faculty and staff at UNC, who work one-on-one with Cumbres students. The mentors' role is to help guide Cumbres students through their program of study. Mentors are problem solvers, sounding boards, and informal advisors. The combination of taking courses together as a cohort and being "shadowed" by mentors concerned with their academic success provides Cumbres students an advantage when it comes to academic achievement.
As each Cumbres student starts their freshman year of college, each student is assigned a room in Brown Hall located on central campus. Brown Hall, specifically assigned for Cumbres students, has come to be a home away from home for all students. Beyond this, the fact that Cumbres students share common goals helps create friendships that will not only last through their college years, but may well form the basis for lifelong relationships.