Puente Program

Puente video

The mission of the Puente Program is to increase the number of educationally underserved students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to succeeding generations.

The Puente Program provides students with a supportive community and a sense of family on the college campus. Puente students help each other to achieve their goals and dreams. This is achieved (in part) by creating a learning community with Counseling and English; COUNS 5 with ENGL 905 during Fall semester, and COUNS 12C with ENGL 1A during Spring semester

Mission Statement

The Puente Program strives to help students:

  • Succeed academically
  • Become recognized as leaders and scholars
  • Transfer and graduate from four-year colleges and universities
  • Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals

Contact Us

Counseling Center (temporarily in North Walk Portables)

Joe Bucher:

Jeanette Richey:


Puente students take two consecutive writing classes: ENGL 905 and ENGL 1A. These classes provide a supportive and stimulating environment for Puente students to build confidence in their writing skills through an exploration of the Chicano/Latino experience.

Puente students work closely with their Puente counselor both in a counseling class and individually until they graduate. Together, they explore career options, develop an academic educational plan, and identify lifetime goals. Students will visit public and private university campuses as well as attend an annual Puente student transfer conference.

Fall Semester

COUNS 5 – College Success

CSU and UC Transferable Course

Course Description

College Success is a course that will help you explore the many possibilities that are available to you in college and life in general. The goals of this course include aiding you in the discovery of yourself, which include your interests, values, and skills and how they correspond in your decision of a major and career. This course will also provide you with the skills necessary to help you in your educational pursuits here at West Valley College and beyond. We will cover material that will help you in making the most of the resources that are available to you as they pertain to achieving your academic goals.


Must be concurrently enrolled in ENGL 905 (Puente) class.

Required Textbook:

On Course: "Living and Learning" by Gerald Corey, Cindy Corey, Heidi Jo Corey

ENGL 905 – English Fundamentals – A Preparatory Course

Puente is a year-long program that consists of three equally important parts: 1) the counseling class, 2) the writing class, and 3) the mentor connection. ENGL 905 is the writing component. This is your preparation class for collegiate level English. It is a credit⁄no credit class, which means you do not get a letter grade, you either pass and get your 3 units, or you get a no credit and must retake it before you go on to the second semester of Puente. However, just because this is a credit⁄no credit class doesn´t make it any less important than letter-grade classes.

This class will cover writing fundamentals: brainstorming, essay drafting, revising, editing, and grammar practice. I´m sure you´ve heard that the more you read, the better you write; therefore, we will read and discuss your essays, your classmates´, and published works.

Spring Semester

COUNS 12C – Career and Life Planning

CSU Transferable Course

Course Description

Career and Life Planning is a continuation of the work we began in our Puente COUNS 5 class. This semester, we will continue to explore strategies that can help you succeed in college and the workplace. There will be a particular focus on how to better market yourself for your educational and career goals. What can you do to get into the college and job of your choice?

By the end of this course you will have your own resume, personal statement for college, a scholarship application essay, and a tentative life plan (I consider it more of a "dream plan"). We will also attend various educational conferences at different 4 year schools in the Bay Area. In addition to the conferences, we will also go to visit some colleges and universities.


Must be concurrently enrolled in ENGL 1A (Puente) class.

ENGL 1A – English Composition

CSU and UC Transferable Course

Course Description and Goals

This course will raise, and require you to critically examine, key questions as you continue to cross other bridges and achieve more of your goals. The following will be central questions to this course: What is the America Dream? Why are you in college? Do you question the institutions you are a part of, like your school, family or government? How have family, academic experiences, class status and gender shaped your attitudes and goals? It is your responsibility to be a critical thinker and give serious thought to everything you choose to do in your life, even small decisions you make on a daily basis.

English 1A is a collegiate level course, meaning that it is transferable, and as such, will be taught with the same level of expectations that a 4 year university would have. You will have homework every single time we meet, even if it means reviewing or rereading notes and essays we´ve already covered in class. You will have 3 formal essays and a research essay. You will also be called upon to present or lead certain class discussions.


  • The Least You Should Know About English
  • Rereading America
  • Webster´s Collegiate English Dictionary
  • 2 large Bluebooks
  • Computer Disk (Save EVERYTHING on both the disk AND the hard drive)
  • Recommended: a small tape recorder for recording interviews


Puente students are matched with mentors from the business or professional community. Mentors share with students their personal, academic, and career experiences, and provide many resources for the Puente students, their families, their colleges, and the community.

Students look up to mentors as role models of academic and professional success. Mentors are asked to be supportive, encouraging and motivating. The primary function of the mentor⁄student relationship is to let the students know that there is a caring, supportive person who is willing to listen to them, share experiences and offer encouragement. Students also look to mentors for guidance in the arenas of professional and career exploration.

Puente asks the mentors to donate two hours per month. These hours are arranged to suit the convenience of the mentor/student team. To assist with this, we encourage regular phone and/or e-mail contact, participation in our Puente activities and events, and at least one work site visit for the student. In addition, mentors are asked to attend a mentor training workshop which will assist them in developing a successful relationship with their student mentee.

If you are interested in participating as a mentor, please contact Joe Bucher at joe.bucher@westvalley.edu

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