Veronica T. Avendaño
With the March closure of National Hispanic University located in east San Jose, the National Hispanic University Foundation and Santa Clara University have found a new use for the campus.
The former NHU campus will serve as a three part entity—a graduate and teaching credential program satellite campus for Santa Clara University’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology, relocation of the foundation’s charter schools- Latino College Preparatory Academy and Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy, and the opening of the Hispanic Research and Policy Center.
NHU’s current students will be allowed to finish their studies. Students enrolled in the credential program will now have the opportunity to transition from their current program to the concurrent credential and masters of arts in teaching degree program headed by Santa Clara University’s Nicholas Ladany, dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology.
“We’re also going to be offering pretty significant scholarships to students who are able to demonstrate a commitment to working with underserved Hispanic communities,” said Ladany. Ladany said a top value of SCU is to demonstrate a commitment to multiculturalism and social justice. Scholarships will also be offered to students in the credential program to help with the transition. The program begins mid-June.
NHU’s current charter schools, Latino College Preparatory Academy and Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy, will call the 2004 renovated campus home, a big change from the charter schools’ older facilities.
“The concept is that we would tie the charter schools, that are going to be on site, into the teacher credential program that Santa Clara will be offering on the site,” said NHU Foundation President Ed Alvarez. “That credential program will then have the opportunity to look at these schools as demonstration schools.”
The Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy will focus on leadership in teaching. “The intent is to reach down into the community in middle schools and start encouraging students and their parents to think about pursuing teaching as a career,” said Alvarez. “Our goal is to get more of our kids interested in teaching, and to give them a clear pathway so we can end up with more teachers who are both bilingual and understand the problems because they have experienced them.”
NHU also plans to open up another charter school named after Chicano playwright Luis Valdez. The Luis Valdez Leadership Academy will be located at Yerba Buena High School and will focus on drama, visual arts and media. All three charter schools will collaborate with the SCU teaching credential program.
All NHU charter schools are open enrollment, accepting students on a rolling basis. Charter school students and faculty will relocate early July.
The last component of the campus, the Hispanic Education and Research and Policy Center will open in the summer headed by Executive Director Dr. David Lopez. The center will focus on the design, testing, and evaluation of teaching strategies for Hispanic educational success.
The center will also work closely in education based policy, to help implement educational equity for schools in areas with a dense Hispanic population. “[the center] will really be the arm that does the research, and designs whatever programs are necessary to bridge the charter schools and the credential programs,” said Alvarez.