It's a great feeling to help a person. It's a better feeling to help an entire culture. It isn’t everyday that a school has an opportunity like this! Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios has received a $40,000 matching contribution from an anonymous benefactor to help us continue our mission.

But, we can only receive the money if we are able to raise $40,000 from donors like you by

August 15th (deadline extended).

This is why we desperately need your help.

For a $100 suggested gift, your picture will be displayed on the "Corky Legacy Wall" at our school along with other prominent Latino leaders. It will serve as a testament to the generosity of a community that cares about its schools, its children and its future. This is no time to back down.

To make your $100 donation, call 303-964-8993 today.

Your assistance is now twice as valuable. And your legacy will be greater than ever.

The Latino children and families of Colorado thank you!
Nita Gonzales, President & CEO

Escuela Tlatelolco

Improving Education for Chicano, Mexicano and Indigenous Children & Youth


Escuela Tlatelolco, a community-based private school, was developed in the late 1960's to provide an alternative education for young Chicanos, Mexicanos and Raza Indigena--an education that would lead not only to academic proficiency, but would also instill cultural pride, confidence and developing leadership among Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena youth. From its inception, the school has focused on stimulating success among Chicano, Mexicano, Raza Indigena and Native American students, especially those who have not had success in traditional public school settings.

Forty years later, Escuela Tlatelolco stands as a beacon of hope in northwest Denver, the heart of Denver's Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena community. The colorful mural adorning its building is a symbol of the pride and accomplishment of a people. The children and youth engaged in learning and community service inside are a symbol that all children can learn and succeed.

Why Is This Important?

By 2020, more than 20% of children in the United States will be Chicanos, Mexicanos and Raza Indigena, and sooner than that, Chicanos, Mexicanos and Raza Indigena will comprise the country's largest minority group. Across the country, the concern about education for Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena children and youth is growing. Academic failure is a problem for multiple ethnic groups, but especially for Chicanos, Mexicanos and Raza Indigena who make up 53% of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) population. On the 2000 Colorado Student Achievement Program (CSAP) test, Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena students scored the lowest in reading of all ethnic groups. They also performed poorly in math: just 3% of 10th-grade students scored proficient. During the 1999-2000 school year, 66% of all DPS middle school dropouts were Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena.

  1. 1.The dropout rate for Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena students is three times that of other ethnic groups enrolled in Denver Public Schools.

  2. 2.The graduation rate for Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena youth is currently only 50.4%.

The Condition of Education 1999, a report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, states that Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena students across the country are much less likely to complete high school than their white counterparts. Unfortunately, dropping out of high school is often first step in a series of consequences that lead to significant societal costs including a loss in earnings, unemployment and welfare dependency. The report indicates that in 1996, 25-34 year olds who had dropped out of high school were about three times as likely as high school graduates who had not gone on to college to receive public assistance. The average annual earnings of drop-outs were also lower than their counterparts who had a diploma (31% to 36%, respectively) and substantially lower than their counterparts who had gone on to receive a bachelor's degree whose earnings were 54% (males) to 88%(females) higher.

The likelihood of children dropping out of school ending up as low-wage earners, unemployed, or public assistance recipients is high--and the need for developing solutions to ensure the educational success of Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena youth is clear.

How Does Escuela Help?

Escuela Tlatelolco serves low-income, predominantly Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena youth ages 3-18 who live in the Denver metropolitan area. Most students enrolled at Escuela's Upper School program are considered "high risk"--and many in Escuela's Upper School have exhausted their options in the public school system. Escuela offers these youth an opportunity to develop leadership and pride in who they are, and the opportunity to achieve academic excellence.

At Escuela, young people and their families are welcomed into a school-wide ethos of caring where they are free to learn, fully participate and be themselves in the following programs:

  1. 1.Círculo Montessori de Tlatelolco (Tlatelolco's Montessori Circle), a dual-language Montessori program that started in 1999 and is expanding to serve pre-K through 6th grades.

  2. 2.Academia (Academy), Bridge, Secundaria (Secondary) and Senior Institute, comprising Escuela's experiential academic program for middle and high school students in which youth are placed according to ability rather than grade level.

  3. 3.El Centro Cuepopan (The Center of Blossoming), an after-school program currently for students in 5th through 9th grades, which includes activities in academics, technology and the arts as well as programs for adults. A six-week summer arts program offers hands-on, cultural arts experiences for youth.

  4. 4.Family Service Program, a project to provide outreach, case management, intervention and linkages to community services to ensure that parents and students receive the help they need.

Escuela Tlatelolco -Working toward Solutions

Over the past four decades, Escuela Tlatelolco has sought to improve the educational outcomes for Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena youth in the Denver area. The positive impact of Escuela Tlatelolco on the local community is clear:

  1. 1.The school has maintained a 90% graduation rate.

  2. 2.Of the total 305 students who have graduated since 1971, 61% have completed an undergraduate college degree, and 20% have completed graduate degrees.

  3. 3.Eighty-eight percent of Escuela Tlatelolco's graduates are currently employed, and 24% own and manage their own business--providing additional opportunities to others in the community.

  4. 4.Many graduates have taken a leadership role in the community, thus extending the impact of Escuela Tlatelolco on youth in our community.

Why Does It Work?

Escuela Tlatelolco utilizes an innovative educational design that emphasizes:

  1. 1.A curriculum based on the four cornerstones grounded on Paulo Friere's Empowerment Education model: critical and creative thinking; written, artistic and mathematical expression; culturally, socially and politically competent communication; and spiritual growth leading to healthy decision making.

  2. 2.A dual-language approach. At Escuela, all students are expected to master two languages in order to graduate. The dual-language approach not only preserves the language and heritage of young people of color, but also ensures that graduates are highly prepared to compete in today's global workforce.

  3. 3.Opportunities for leadership development and community service that encourage young Chicanos, Mexicanos and Raza Indigena to invest their time and talents not only in themselves, but also in the community.

  4. 4.Family involvement in their children's education--ensuring the transfer of knowledge and learning from the school community to the larger community.

Next Steps

As a successful educational model for Chicano, Mexicano and Raza Indigena students, the demand for Escuela Tlatelolco continues to grow in the community. To enhance and expand the opportunities for academic success for additional students, Escuela Tlatelolco is requesting support as it continues its expansion of its Montessori dual-language, pre-K-2nd grade program and subsequent additions of elementary grades. Our vision is of a continuous, excellent education for children from our community starting in their early ages, so that they grow up knowing and believing they can achieve.

The Economic Return of Investing in Escuela

Escuela Tlatelolco currently offers this high quality educational, community service and youth leadership experience to 89 children and youth in grades 7 to 12, at a cost of $8,300 per student per year. This covers a longer school day and longer school year for students, as well as activities that involve the students and their families in giving back to community. This cost will be reduced as Escuela continues to grow.

Compare this cost to the cost of the alternative--a child dropping out of school and…

  1. 1.Becoming dependent on public assistance?

  2. 2.Being underemployed, and not contributing his or her full potential to the local economy?

  3. 3.Becoming involved in crime and delinquency?

Escuela Receives $40,000 Challenge

Major Contributors     •     Spirit of Tlatelolco     •     Champions of Change

2949 N. Federal Blvd

Denver, CO 80211



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