School Based Programs

Summer 2017: Ninth Grade Counts Feature

In the spirit of summer, sunshine, and getting ready for school, we’re featuring our high school preparation program, Ninth Grade Counts.

This program is meant to help students prepare for ninth grade - from practicing good attendance to focusing on improving reading and writing skills, this program sets students up for success and introduces them to a community of mentors and other like-minded youth that they can be involved in.

Students earn .5 high school elective credits for the program upon completing a writing sample at the end of the summer. This writing component helps students focus on the writing skills they will need to start high school, and it allows them to explore a topic of interest throughout the summer. For example, the writing topic this summer asks students to explore their ideal careers and the goals they need to set to get there.

“Students hesitate at the idea of going to “summer school,” yet it doesn’t take long before they realize how much they’re enjoying it,” said Ana Muñoz, one of our School Based Programs Managers.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

Madison High School Ninth Grade Counts students huddle up after a Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinic.

This is because even though the students may be practicing writing and good attendance, they also get to do fun activities and field trips throughout the summer. A group of students got to visit the water amusement park Wild Waves, while others got to tour local colleges and universities, and some of our youth even got to participate in Portland Trail Blazers basketball clinics.

Indeed, we’re excited to help students get excited about school while encouraging them to explore their own Latino culture and heritage. Ninth Grade Counts is meant to help students succeed - and we’re happy to report that this summer the kids are getting off to an excellent start!

We can’t wait to see what these youth will do during high school! ¡Vamos adelante jóvenes de NGC!

Thank you to Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, All Hands Raised, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Multnomah County and AT&T for their partnership and contributions in making this program possible.


2017 Graduation Feature - Congrats to all of our Escalera Grads!

Of all of our Escalera students who graduated from the program in 2016, 100% went on to enroll in colleges or technical programs. 

This year, we’re optimistic that our students will achieve the same results. 

Because it’s graduation season, we thought it would be fitting to feature all of our amazing students who have worked hard this year to achieve their dreams. Not only will they graduate from high school, but many of our Escalera students have also worked hard to enroll in colleges or technical programs and start amazing careers after earning their degrees. 

The Grads

Madison High School:

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Madison: Lorena Mosqueda

  • Felipe Jimenez
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Film Studies
  • Monica Matias
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Social Work
  • Jaqueline Landa
    • Portland State University | Major - Education
  • Laura Melendez
    • Portland Community College | Career - Family & Human Services
  • Marcos Mitchell
    • Mount Hood Community College | Career - Car Technician
  • Gloria Niño Luna
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship | Career - Nursing
  • Victor Arteaga
    • Mount Hood Community College | Career - Car Technician
  • Diana Sanchez
    • Lewis & Clark University | Kaiser Permanente Scholarship, Diversity Scholarship | Career - Nursing
  • Joseph Torres Ortiz
    • Portland Community College
  • Janie Villacis Perez
    • Portland Community College | Future Connect Scholarship
  • Amy Alvarado
    • Lewis & Clark University | Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship 
  • Beiry Caamal
    • Portland Community College
  • Esmeralda Calderon
    • Wellesley College (Boston, MA) | Career - Medical Sonographer
  • Evelyn Can Vazquez
    • Pomona College | Pomona Scholarship | Major - Social Work
  • Karina Carbajal
    • Portland Community College
  • Maria Cazaraez
    • Portland State University | Ford Scholarship
  • Erick Contreras
    • Portland Community College
  • Carlos Diaz
    • Portland State University | CECLC Scholarship | Major - Ethnic/Chicano Studies Education
  • Giovani Santiago
    • Portland Community College
  • Erick Gonzalez
    • Portland Community College | Marathon Scholarship
  • Daniela Hartman
    • Warner Pacific College | Career - Medical Field

Benson High School

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Benson: Orlando Gaeta

  • Keyla Leyva Francisco
    • Oregon State University | CECLC Scholarship, Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship, OSU Scholarships | Major - Business
  • Emilio Najera Torres
    • Portland Community College | Career - Architecture & Design
  • Moises Resendiz
    • Portland Community College or Construction Apprenticeship | Career - Construction
  • Jose Rojas Salazar
    • Undecided - PCC or MHCC
  • Caroline Soria-Ruiz
    • Portland State University | GANAS Scholarship | Graphic Design
  • Diana Tuz Bojorquez
    • Oregon State University | I Have a Dream Scholarship, Hispanic Metropolitan Scholarship, CECLC Scholarship | Major - Business
  • Jazmin Anicua
    • Portland Community College | Major - Early Childhood Education
  • Cristofer Gomez
    • Undecided - PCC or MHCC
  • Edgar Agaton
    • Undecided - Either PCC or MHCC | Career - Architecture & Design 
  • Erin Carillo
    • University of Oregon | CECLC Scholarship, UO Pathways Scholarship | Career - Architecture & Design
  • Melissa Garcia- Gonzalez
    • Undecided - Either PCC or MHCC | Career - Architecture & Design 
  • Suleidi Gonzalez
    • Western Oregon University | CECLC Scholarship, WOU Diversity Scholarship | Career - Nursing 
  • Francisco Hernandez
    • Mount Hood Community College | Sponsorship with Subaru | Career - Car Technician
  • Samantha Hernandez
    • Clark Community College





Roosevelt High School

Youth Engagement Specialist/Mentor for Roosevelt: Agustin Torres

  • Jose Moreno

    • Portland State University | GANAS Scholarship, Diversity Scholarship | Major - Social Work

  • Karen Gurrola

    • Portland Community College, will transfer to Concordia University | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Nursing or Teaching

  • Maria Perez

    • Portland Community College

  • Pascuala Siquina

    • Portland State University | Career - Pediatrician or Immigration Attorney

  • Juan Pablo Ayala Zamora

    • Portland State University | Pauline & Harold Bryan Scholarship | Major - Mechanical Engineering

  • Sheila Romero

    • Oregon State University | Bridge to Success Scholarship | Career - Veterinarian

  • Jonathan Diaz

  • Alma Moo

    • Concordia University | President's Scholarship, Student Innovation Award, Concordia Grant | Major - Nursing

  • Andrea Rangel-Limon

    • Portland Community College | Career - Nursing

  • Brenda Nieves

    • Portland Community College | Career - Pediatrician

  • Carlos Vargas

    • Portland Community College | Career - Chef

  • Daisy Hernandez

    • Portland Community College

  • Fatima Rios

    • Concordia University | Tuition Waver | Major - Nursing

  • Jose Gonzalez

    • Portland Community College, will transfer to the University of Oregon | Future Connect Scholarship | Major - Sports Marketing

Congratulations to all of our Escalera graduates! We’re so excited to have been a part of your amazing journey, and we’re so excited to see what you all accomplish in your bright futures!

Summer Program Feature: Ninth Grade Counts

Madison High School – Ninth Grade Counts instructor and Youth Engagement Specialist Zaira Sanchez works with students transitioning from middle to high school to help them with necessary skills and information they’ll need for freshman year.

Madison High School – Ninth Grade Counts instructor and Youth Engagement Specialist Zaira Sanchez works with students transitioning from middle to high school to help them with necessary skills and information they’ll need for freshman year.

As students leave school and start to enjoy the summer sunshine, Latino Network is hard at work to provide educational and extracurricular programs for kids of all ages. One such program is Ninth Grade Counts – a month-long seminar that helps middle school students transition to high school.

Ninth Grade Counts is part of a countywide collaborative facilitated by All Hands Raised to prepare freshmen for high school.

Students enjoy a morning full of enrichment activities including learning about health & sexuality, exploring career options, and practicing skills needed to succeed in high school. In the afternoons, they enjoy activities from zumba to hip-hop. And on Fridays, they head out into the community for weekly field trips to college campuses, aquatic centers, OMSI, and other fun places!

Zaira Sanchez is a Youth Engagement Specialist and Ninth Grade Counts Instructor at Madison High School for Latino Network this summer. This is Sanchez’s second year working with NinthGrade Counts, and her reason for returning to help coordinate the program is all about helping students realize their full potential.

Zaira spent last summer as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA working directly with students. She joined Latino Network as a staff member with the Family & Youth Engagement team shortly afterward. Now, just one year later, she’s helping to run the Ninth Grade Counts program!

“What makes me excited to come back again is being able to see the growth students make throughout the school year,” she said.  “This program is about establishing a sense of community ownership and learning to advocate for oneself. And as the Freshman [Early Escalera] instructor at Madison High School, I have the opportunity to see the students work through their freshman year together.”

This summer, Sanchez and the other program instructors plan to balance time in the classroom learning about shared Latino values, breaking stereotypes and practicing self-awareness with fun activities like visiting the Clackamas Aquatic Park. She says they also plan to tour Portland State University, which for many students will be the first time they visit a college campus.

Needless to say, we can all relate to the excitement and anxiety students have when they begin their freshman year. Ninth Grade Counts gives students the necessary tools, information and skills to start students off on the right foot.

Congrats to all of the soon-to-be freshmen in the program! We’re excited to see them grow throughout this summer and the upcoming school year.


Madison High School – Los estudiantes de NGC bailando en una clase de Zumba. Los estudiantes participan en muchas actividades físicas y educativas durante este programa del verano.

Madison High School – Los estudiantes de NGC bailando en una clase de Zumba. Los estudiantes participan en muchas actividades físicas y educativas durante este programa del verano.


Los estudiantes están saliendo la escuela para divertirse bajo el sol de verano, pues Latino Network está trabajando para ofrecer a estudiantes de todas las edades algunos programas de educación de verano. Un programa es El Noveno Grado Cuenta (NGC) – una clase de un mes que ayuda a los estudiantes a empezar la escuela segundaria correctamente.

Este programa es parte de All Hands Raised – un organización que prepara a los estudiantes para la escuela secundaria.

En la clase, los estudiantes  disfrutan una mañana con actividades  relacionadas con su salud y su sexualidad, van a explorar sus oportunidades de carreras profesionales, y practican las habilidades necesarias para tener éxito en la escuela. Durante las tardes, ellos disfrutan algunas actividades físicas, desde Zumba hasta Hip- hop. También durante los viernes, ellos exploran la comunidad, visitando los campus de las universidades, los parques acuáticos, OMSI y otros lugares divertidos.

Para cada empleado de Latino Network que trabaja con NGC, es importante coordinar un programa de interés para los estudiantes. Una empleada que trabaja en Madison High School en NGC es Zaira Sanchez. Es su segundo año trabajando con NGC, y la razón por la que vuelve cada año, es para ayudar a los estudiantes  a alcanzar su potencial .

El verano pasado, Zaira participó en el programa de AmeriCorps Summer VISTA, y ella trabajó con los estudiantes directamente. Ahora, ella es una empleada de Latino Network y está en el mismo lugar que el verano pasado – ¡trabajando con NGC!

“Me emociona regresar a NGC porque puedo ver ver el crecimiento de los estudiantes durante todo el año,” Zaira dijo. “Este programa está aquí para establecer un sentido de comunidad entre los estudiantes, y también para aprender de abogar por sus intereses y sus vidas. Tengo la oportunidad de ver a los estudiantes trabajar durante su primer año de escuela segundaria.”

Este verano, Zaira y los otros instructores van a pasar tiempo en la clase con los estudiantes, y los estudiantes van a aprender de los valores compartidos entre Latinos, desafiar los estereotipos y desarrollar conciencia de sí mismos. También, ellos van a hacer actividades divertidas como visitar el parque acuático de Clackamas y el campus de Portland State University. Para la mayoría de los estudiantes, va a ser la primer vez  que ellos visitan un campus universitario.

Entendemos la experiencia de los estudiantes cuando empiezan un camino nuevo, como la escuela segundaria. NGC les da la información y capacidades para empezar su primero año correctamente.

¡Felicidades a todos los estudiantes en NGC! Estamos muy emocionados de verlos crecer este verano y el próximo año de escuela.