Since 2003, Encuentros Leadership has attracted more than 600 middle and high school Latino boys each year from local school districts in North San Diego county. Encuentros highlights the importance of education and its connection to a successful career. Encuentros Leadership grew out of a deep concern that high school graduation rates are the lowest among Latino boys in comparison to other ethnic groups. The timeline is the 2019-20 academic year.
A report published by the A. Schott Foundation for Public Education states that barely half of male Latinos graduate from high school in four years. Heidi Brooks, COO for the Shott Foundation, states, "Instead of a child's success being determined by his talents and abilities, today it is determined by what ZIP code a child attends school in". We've seen across the country that schools with high Latino and Black enrollment "often lack AP (advanced placement) courses, up-to-date textbooks, full science labs, and libraries."
Encuentros Leadership has continued to reverse this trend of high drop-out rates by promoting STEM careers for middle and high school Latino boys This year, Encuentros Leadership, in response to a national call for more Latino teachers, has added a Teaching Academy for Latino men. Young Latino men are recruited from the ranks of Encuentros Leadership and are exposed to the teaching profession during the school year, including a week-long summer program where they learn the intricacies of what it takes to become a classroom teacher in California.
With chapters in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and Escondido school districts, Encuentros Leadership continues to support an outreach program to Latino fathers to heighten awareness and encourage support for their sons' education beyond high school. The program, called "Pláticas: Hombre a Hombre", is a six-week intensive program where fathers learn a multitude of skills to help their sons navigate life beyond high school.
The requested funds will be used to guide Latino boys through their education, to help reverse the high drop-out rates by encouraging boys to stay in school, to graduate, and to go onto a higher education, whether in stem-related fields, or the teaching profession. Route 78 Rotarians and other community professional's model appropriate demeanor through their interactions with these young men. One Rotarian is on the Board of Encuentros Leadership, and others participate as informal mentors. The timeline for the use of these funds is the Academic year 2019-2020.