Latino Education Institute

  • Latino Education Institute Programs

    The Latino Education Institute of Worcester State University offers a variety of programs for Worcester’s Latino youth and their families to ensure the success of children in school and in our community. Evidence demonstrates positive benefits for student learning when parents and families are engaged in their children’s education.

    For young Latino children, many of whom have parents with limited English language proficiency and low levels of education, parent engagement strategies can strengthen their school success and achievement.

    We serve more than 2,800 families yearly with programs in education, literacy, leadership, civic engagement, health, and violence prevention. Our data shows that early learning programs have the unique potential to equip parents with the tools to better support their children’s learning and success in their educational experience. Learn about our impact on Worcester's Latino community.


  • Innovative Services for Latino Achievers (ISLA)

    Innovative Services for Latino Achievers (ISLA) is an after-school program for 1st to 6th grade students that focuses on:

    • Drama
    • Literacy
    • Math
    • Health

    The program provides time for:

    • Homework assistance
    • Academic classes in literacy and mathematics
    • Mentorship
    Students also participate in arts and crafts, field trips, and other recreational activities throughout the year.
    Latina Achievers in Search of Success (LASOS)

    Latina Achievers in Search of Success (LASOS) engages 6th grade Latina girls and their mothers in a resiliency-building program focusing on:

    • Self-exploration
    • Personal development
    • Cultural enrichment
    • Early college awareness
    • Career exploration

    The girls learn how to build stronger relationships with their mothers and friends as well as new relationships with their mentors.

    Participants discover the value of education and how college and the professional world can greatly impact their economic future.

  • Middle School

  • Encouraging Latinos to Achieve Excellence (ENLACE)

    Encouraging Latinos to Achieve Excellence (ENLACE) inspires and transforms boys into scholars through:

    • Life skills
    • Personal development
    • Education
    • Cultural enrichment
    • Career exploration
    • Early college awareness
    • Sports

    Latino male leaders from the community serve as mentors and role models for the boys. 

    Through various workshops and activities, the boys engage in opportunities that help them exercise discipline and learn about themselves, culture, and the Worcester community. They also learn the value of education and how aspiring for post-secondary education can impact their lives and their families.

    My Voice, My Community
    My Voice, My Community is an experiential learning program that uses photo-voice as a tool to help middle-school students who are learning English broaden their knowledge about their community and the world through photographs and narratives.
    Teen Circle
    Teen Circle involves middle-school girls in an arts and leadership program based on the Girls Circle model. It’s a collaborative project of LEI, the Worcester Youth Center, and Plumley Village that uses the research-based Girls Circle Curriculum to create structured support groups for girls ages 9 to 18 from Worcester.

    Teen Circle provides approximately 45 girls with skills proven to enhance their self-esteem, communication, education, healthy relationships, and self-confidence through self-expression and creativity in the arts.

    In addition, LEI’s Teen Circle units provide girls with a safe environment to explore elements of self-identity, understand external factors that impact the girls’ vision of themselves, and practice self-confident behavior.
  • High School

  • Latinos Involved in Discovering Educational Resources (LIDER)

    Latinos Involved in Discovering Educational Resources (LIDER) is an educational after-school program that engages students and their parents in activities that facilitate access to higher education in order to increase enrollment of Latino students in colleges and universities.

    The program strives to educate Latino families in order to reduce barriers and demystify the college application and enrollment process.

    The program offers:

    • Informational workshops
    • Individual college counseling
    • College application and financial aid application assistance
    • Parent seminars
    • Referrals
    • A Latino Family College Fair

    We also arrange for participants to attend college open houses, campus tours, and info sessions.

    It serves Latino families of the Worcester Public Schools.

    Youth Civics Union
    Youth Civics Union is a leadership development program for high school students that increases student achievement and post-graduation readiness through education and enrollment in post-secondary education.
    “I Came Here to Learn” - a Mini Documentary

    In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and its research partner on the GradNation State Activation Initiative, the Center for Promise, presented “I Came Here to Learn: The Achievements and Experiences of Massachusetts Students Whose First Language is Not English”. From analyzing student-level data and interviewing young people throughout Massachusetts, the researchers heard stories of strength, motivation, and a search for a better future, including Erika, a Worcester State student.

  • Post-Secondary

  • 100 Males to College, Worcester
    We assist Worcester State University in its partnership with Worcester Public Schools and Quinsigamond Community College to bring mentoring, free college classes, college readiness, and career exploration to 100 junior and senior male students from area high schools.
    Club Educación (Club E)

    Club Educación (Club E) strives to increase the educational levels of parents and adults in order to fully realize the overall academic goals of the entire family. Parents participate in training in the areas of computer, financial, and health literacy through a serious of seasonal workshops.

    The program promotes:

    • Parental involvement in children’s education by engaging parents in English-as-a-Second-Language classes that enhance English literacy and communication skills
    • A strong family involvement component and provides on-site academic support to the children of participants
    College Students as Support Staff
    We develop and train WSU students through training and work-based learning opportunities. Students build their resume, gain experience, create valuable connections, and have a reference for their next job search.
    WSU Teaching Corps
    The Worcester State University Teaching Corps is a paid internship program that improves college graduation rates and work readiness among Latino and other under-represented students at WSU. It also increases the number of students considering a career in education.

    Selected WSU students are trained in literacy and conflict resolution to prepare them for paid internships assisting teachers in Worcester Public Schools classrooms. They become role models and develop real-life experience teaching in an urban setting. They also build relationships with peers, students, students’ families, teachers, and members of the Worcester community. They also create a portfolio that displays their experiences throughout the internship.
  • Family Engagement

  • Atrevete! Latino Family Workshops

    Atrevete! Latino Family Workshops are held in collaboration with College Board, Worcester Public Schools, and Worcester State University to enable Latino middle-school and high-school students to attend presentations by experts in the areas of:

    • Financial aid
    • Advanced placement courses
    • College access
    • Preparing for college

    Families have the opportunity to learn about the many free resources in the local community and online that are available to first-generation college students. 

    Avanza! STEM EXPO
    The need for STEM graduates particularly impacts Massachusetts because more than 40 percent of all employment in the Commonwealth revolves around innovation industries such as clean energy, information technology, defense, and advanced manufacturing, according to the Massachusetts’ Plan for Excellence in STEM Education. Our annual STEM Expo is an opportunity for Latino families to engage in STEM activities and explore career pathways in this industry.
    Cafecito y Cultura Series
    Sessions that provide learning opportunities for the whole family! Using communication circles and Folktales we incorporate social and cultural activities of sharing stories, as a means of entertainment, education and cultural preservation. The storytelling provides opportunities for parents to building relationships with other families in the community, learn about their own parenting styles and have fun. While parents are engaging in discussion, their children are engaged in Reader’s theatre with the same Folktales. Come celebrate your cultura at the Latino Education Institute’s Cafecito y Cultura experience.
    Family Academies
    Family Academies are intensive mini-conferences, usually held on weekends, to bring participants together for self-improvement opportunities, where they learn about health, education, and civic engagement.
    Worcester Institute for Parent Leadership and Engagement (WIPLE)

    LEI partnered with the African Community Education, South Eastern Asian Coalition, Worcester Community Connections Coalition, Worcester Educational Collaborative, and Worcester Public Schools to start the Worcester Institute for Parent Leadership and Engagement (WIPLE), a parent engagement institute.

    WIPLE’s mission and objective is to provide parents with seminars to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to partner with schools and community to ensure that their children achieve their full potential. WIPLE is based on the nationally recognized Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) based in California.

    Through PIQE’s parent-empowerment model anchored in economic and social justice for all in education, more than 605,000 parents have graduated in the last 28 years, impacting the lives of more than 1.8 million children across the United States.

    Worcester Public Schools is proud to have been selected as the first district to license the PIQE Parent Engagement model in New England.