The Pasos Program, which was named a finalist for the State’s Star Awards by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is working with the Office of Student Success to promote student’s’ border experience through instruction and guest speakers and highlight the border location.
The Pasos Program has specialized in giving Cariño training to faculty and staff at EPCC for 2 years now.
Cariño training informs teachers on how to implement CRT, or cultural relativity teaching.
CRT’s goal is that students will be more likely to retain a subject if they personally relate to what is being taught.
With the increasing number of Cariño trained staff, the Pasos Program has moved from an english centric program to a more multidisciplinary one with even dance and math teachers utilizing CRT.
Senior Team Leader of the Pasos Program, Richard Yanez, has been working on expanding the Pasos Program and CRT to Early College High School programs and dual credit classes.
He has developed a relationship with Ysleta High School and Ysleta english teacher, Mike Merritt, to host creative writing workshops and add culturally relative books to the traditional curriculum.
Many of these books are books written by El Paso authors about El Paso.
Yanez cites recent tragedies like the Walmart shooting as a reason why CRT is more relevant than ever.
Other projects for the Pasos Program include volunteering at the Borderland Rainbow Center, a free space for El Paso LGBTQI, to restock their food pantry.
The Pasos Program along with the Office of Student Success run by Lucia Rodriguez, is hosting a Cesar Chavez Celebration on March 28.
The event will celebrate activist Cesar Chavez at different locations throughout El Paso, including EPCC’s Rio Grande Campus.
The Pasos Program is hoping to move past the classroom with a community read program.
This would start in 2021, and the program would have one book highlighted and read by high schools all around El Paso.
This would be accompanied by community events where the author of the to be determined book may meet with attendees.
The goal of these events is to develop community and promote social justice.
For more information, other Pasos team leaders are Yasmin Ramirez and Arturo Valentino.