Escalera: Taking Steps to Success & Early Escalera


Latino Network envisions a just world where our youth reach their full potential. Currently, we know even the most motivated Latino/a student confronts systemic barriers to college and career success. Latino Network’s Escalera works to break down these barriers.

Escalera offers an intensive year-round college-preparation program to Portland high school students. Nationally recognized and funded through the National Council of La Raza, the Escalera curriculum develops resilient and aspiring youth through:

  • College visits locally and nationally

  • College saving and planning information

  • Financial aid, college and scholarship application assistance

  • Career exploration through job shadows and panels

  • Individual 80-hour internship in a field of interest

  • High school credit completion assistance

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) exploration

  • Leadership development

If I had been in Escalera since freshman year, I would have been more focused and prepared. Next year, I am going to PSU and it’s all because of Escalera.
— Escalera Participant


  • Nationally, 88% of Escalera graduates successfully earn a high school diploma and go on to college.

  • Of Latino Network’s first Escalera cohort (Class of ’15), 93% successfully graduated and enrolled in college.

  • 100% of the Class of 2016 students graduated and enrolled in college

All Hands Raised studies have shown that students who finish ninth grade with 6 credits are five times more likely to successfully graduate from high school.

Program Details

Trained bilingual/bicultural Escalera instructors facilitate afterschool and summer programs for high school cohorts of 11th and 12th graders. In addition, the Early Escalera program provides a head start for motivated 9th and 10th grade students. Currently, Escalera operates in partnership with Portland Public Schools at Madison, Benson and Roosevelt High Schools. Early Escalera operates at Madison, Franklin, David Douglas, Reynolds, and Centennial, Parkrose, and Gresham High Schools. Latino Network is one of only a few dozen sites nationally funded by NCLR.

Contact Veronica Leonard at to learn more and enroll your student.

Latino Network thanks the Oregon Lottery, the National Council of La Raza and the Oregon Department of Education’s Youth Development Council grants. Funding also provided by Multnomah County, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods.