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Staying on the Path Toward College Interactive Case: Meet Paulo Domínguez, Sixth Grader     


“If I tell my friends I want to join the college outreach program, they’ll think I’m a schoolboy. But Mama always says that if I don’t go to college, I won’t have a good future. Mama tells me that I need to go to college if I want to get a good job and buy a house. Going to college helps you get a job instead of being a drug dealer or other things that cause you to get in trouble with the cops.”


Paulo Domínguez sat around a table with a number of his fellow sixth graders eating potato chips and cookies. He and his classmates listened as a woman named Rachel Marquez – a community college outreach program director - talked about a program that would help prepare them for college. All sixth graders in the community were being recruited to submit applications to the program, which was designed to support them through middle and high school in learning the study habits, decision-making skills, and “college knowledge” needed for college preparation and careers.

Rachel began passing out colored pencils and paper to the students, and invited each sixth grader to think about the different worlds in his or her life, for example, family members, friends, sports teams, classmates, or church groups. As Paulo began to draw pictures of his family, school, and church, he thought about his present life in California and his future dreams of working with computers and designing video games.

Rachel then urged the youth to think about the positive and negative influences in each of their worlds. Paulo looked over at his two best friends making faces and amusing ges­tures behind Rachel’s back. Paulo began to feel self-conscious about following Rachel’s instructions, turned his paper over, and started drawing video game characters instead.

Paulo heads home
When school let out, Paulo walked home. He lives in a small trailer in an RV lot with his parents, older brother, and two younger siblings. His parents came to California as Mexican immigrants.

“If I tell my friends I want to join the college outreach program, they’ll think I’m a school­boy. But Mama always says that if I don’t go to college, I won’t have a good future. My mom loved to go to school, but had to quit school to start working when she was 12. Her mom didn’t let her do her homework, even though she really liked to do homework. Instead, she had to do chores. Mama tells me that I need to go to college if I want to get a good job and buy a house. Going to college helps you get a job instead of being a drug dealer or other things that cause you to get in trouble with the cops.”

However, Paulo, who was always a good student, had been slipping. His math teacher had recently recommended him for the remedial track, and more and more frequently he was not turning in his math homework.
“Hey, Paulo!” Robert yelled as Paulo approached his front door. “Come over here!” Paulo walked over.
“Yo. A few of us—we’re gonna meet up with some guys up the street. You in?” asked Robert.
Paulo hesitated, “Um . . . well, I need to get home and work on some math homework. I’m failing.”
“Paulo, man. Don’t worry so much about your homework and school. It’s not worth studying so hard. There are easier ways to get a job and money,” answered Robert.
“Maybe man, tomorrow,” answered Paulo as he walked inside. 

There his mother was in the kitchen cooking dinner while his father was reading the newspaper at the kitchen table. He had been in the fields picking strawberries since 5 that morning. “Hola mi’jito [hello my son],” his father said as Paulo poured himself a glass of water, “Como te fue en la escuela [how was school]?”

Next, complete three short reflection questions and click "done" to gain additional insights. Please note: Once you click "done" your responses are no longer retrievable.You may want to copy and paste your responses into a word document.

 

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image of Paulo's parents image of Paulo;s math teacher image of college student and family friend of Paulo image of community college outreach program director small image of a data table image of 6 characters in this teaching case
Paulo, sixth grader
Up Next -> Paulo’s parents Math teacher College student and family friend Community college outreach program director Supporting data Piecing it all together

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