WASHINGTON, D.C. (AUGUST 18, 2022) – Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced today it has selected the PUERTA program at Sonoma State University as a national finalist for the 2022 Examples of Excelencia.
“PUERTA is an example of how the Sonoma State community came together to ensure that Latinx teacher candidates felt cared for, nurtured and prepared to enter the teaching profession,” said Dr. Laura Alamillo, Dean, School of Education at Sonoma State. “As a Hispanic Serving Institution the finalist recognition acknowledges that Sonoma State is a good place for Latinx students to begin their undergraduate career, stay and continue the credential program in order to go back into their communities and become teachers,” said Dr. Alamillo.
Introduced to Sonoma State in 2017, PUERTA – an acronym for Preparing Underrepresented Educators to Realize their Teaching Ambitions – was led by the School of Education and the Division of Student Affairs. The national recognition also underscores the impact of how SSU collaborates across divisions to benefit our students. Key contributors to the PUERTA program include Dr. Rhianna Casesa and Dr. Kelly Estrada of the School of Education who provided content and expertise to refine the teaching pathway at Sonoma State.
Dr. Gerald Jones and Interim Director for EOP & PUERTA Khou Yang Vigil, both of the Division of Student Affairs, also provided counseling and advising expertise to ensure Sonoma State students stayed on a path to complete their journey of becoming teachers.
“Sonoma State is absolutely thrilled to be considered for this distinguished honor,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Gerald Jones. “It acknowledges our institutional commitment to continue providing our Latinx students with the critical support and resources needed to access, persist, thrive, and graduate from Sonoma State University.
Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and is the country’s only national effort to identify, aggregate and promote evidence-based practices improving Latino student success in higher education. As leaders seek where to invest time and resources in what works for Latino students, these 20 programs demonstrate that it is possible to develop asset-based, culturally responsive practices that can improve success for Latino and other post-traditional students.
“Excelencia is answering the national call to identify and invest in evidence-based practices that improve college completion,” said Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “These 20 programs are evidence-based exemplars led by practitioners working directly with students and community that go beyond enrollment to intentionally serve students on their journey to degree completion.”
This year Excelencia received 93 program submissions representing 17 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Sonoma State’s PUERTA program and the other 19 finalists will be featured online as well as in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database – the only national online, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, and policymakers interested in identifying what works for Latino students.
On September 29, 2022, four of the 20 finalists will be announced as the 2022 Examples of Excelencia and recognized at the annual Celebración de Excelencia. The national announcement will be made live at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and live streamed online.
“This honor for Sonoma State signifies our commitment to educational practices that promote equity and inclusion for the students of California,” said Dr. Karen Moranski, Provost at Sonoma State. “We promote student success through culturally responsive teaching and learning and student services that help students leverage their strengths to get a college degree and make a difference in the world.”
“Excelencia increases awareness about the positive impact of the Latino population and programs that serve them well,” said Sarita Brown, Co-founder and President, Excelencia in Education. “Examples of Excelencia inspires leaders to implement innovations that can serve all students.”
To learn more about the 2022 finalists for Examples of Excelencia, visit Edxcelencia.org.
PRESS CONTACT: Delfin Vigil, Interim Director of Communications: 707-664-2059.