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Keeping the Promise Program improves retention, graduation rates for black and Latino deaf students

October 15, 2010
Arrow Buff

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By ‘Bunmi Aina

Gallaudet’s Keeping the Promise Program (KTP) began in the spring of 2008 as a pilot program designed to address retention issues concerning black deaf males. It has since expanded to serve black and Latino students of both genders. Nationally, black and Latino college students are statistically among the lowest-ranked in terms of degree conferment. KTP is a successful initiative by Gallaudet that is gradually changing this picture.

Over the past three years, KTP has recorded retention rates in excess of 90 percent for KTP participants in both programs for both black deaf students (KTP-B) and Latino deaf students (KTP-L). “Last year, we recorded a 97 percent retention rate for KTP-L participants; enabled Latino students to bond with their peers through a range of activities including a leadership retreat, developed the skills needed to navigate a predominantly white university; and offered academic skills-building workshops,” said KTP Latino Program Coordinator Delia Lozano-Martinez. She added that the KTP-L Program recorded 88 percent of Latino participants with a GPA of 3.0 or better, and a 59 percent increase from 2007-08 record when the KTP-L did not exist. “At the end of that period, three Latino students graduated. Then, last May, 16 Latino students graduated. I am excited about the prospect of another immensely successful year,” said Lozano-Martinez.

KTP-B Program Coordinator Arthur Everette had the following to say: “Since breaking ground on KTP-B, we have had an approximate average of 97 percent retention rate, and 100 percent of graduating seniors successfully exiting from the program with their degrees in the past three years. This is a tribute to KTP-B and the University faculty.” Everette is also proud to point out that job placement for graduates who have been in the KPT-B Program has also been commendably high. “The bonding, cultural education, and academic exercises we provide have impacted the preponderance of our participants to continue their education because we intentionally provide a culturally-rich environment which research shows to be a powerful source of agency for black students.” Everette said that during the program’s first year, three black deaf males graduated; the second year, that number rose to six, and last spring it increased to nine. “I am looking forward to more of those successes and to working with our new crop of collegians with excitement.”

The KTP Program is open to all enrolled black and Latino students.

Pictured above at the reception are (from left): back row–Alexis Reyna, Mayra Fernandes, Gil Estrada, Carlos Cambre, Nathalie Maple, Jennifer Chibueze, Felicia Williams, Jessica Diaz, Kevin Williams, Drake Williams, Victoria Tejada, AJa Lyons, Denette Ligon, Julia Wallace, Mercedes Hunter; middle row–Jonathan Soto, two unidentified visitors, Kristy Ramos, Maria Castaneda, Karina Reyes, LeToudjida Allara, two unidentified visitors, Erika Baylor, Dr. Ann Powell, associate provost for Diversity and Equity; front row–Jose Cuautle, Arthur Everette II, KTP coordinator for black deaf students, Jose Hernandez, Nathalie Pluviose, Delia Lozano-Martinez, KTP coordinator for Latino deaf students, and ‘Bunmi Aina, KTP director.

15 October 2010

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