BEND, Ore. - In order to better serve the communities in its district, Central Oregon Community College has been working to improve its communication with Spanish-speaking students and their families.
"Although many parents may speak or understand English, it is easier and more comfortable to learn new information in your native language," said Evelia Sandoval, coordinator of COCC's Latino program.
"I am excited that COCC now has a place where parents who speak Spanish can locate some pertinent information about the college. Now they will have the tools to help their children or themselves make important educational decisions."
In the last year, COCC has hired two bilingual staff members in the admissions department who have initial and ongoing contact with prospective and enrolled students.
They can speak with students and their family members, both in Spanish and in English, on the phone or in person. A specific email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and phone number (541-318-3723) have been added and will be answered by these bilingual staff members.
In addition, the college worked with the High Desert Education Service District to translate about 20 of the COCC Web site pages into Spanish.
The translated pages provide basic information about the college's offerings, services for Latino students, information about the English Language Learning program and considerable information about financial aid. This provides a very user-friendly access to the basic information about the college.
"We know that in the Latino culture, going to college is often a family decision, so we want to make sure we can communicate with the parents and other family members in Spanish, even if the student can speak English," explained Ron Paradis, COCC's director of college relations.
Prospective students should be aware that COCC's credit program is offered in English and that the ability to communicate fluently in English is required in order to successfully complete a class or degree.
The English Language Learning program is designed for adults who need to learn to speak, listen, read, and write in English in order to more effectively function in their roles as family members, workers, community members and lifelong learners. The cost is $25 per term plus the cost of books. Classes are available in at the Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond campuses.
For information, call 541-504-2959.