There are a myriad of reasons why Hispanic students face multiple barriers to improving academic achievement, high school completion, and postsecondary attainment. However, research has shown that families have a strong, if not overwhelming, effect on student achievement. With this in mind, Univision and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation embarked on a partnership to launch a multimedia, year-long, multi-platform education campaign focused on closing the achievement gap for Hispanics.
Our goal, through great storytelling and massive distribution, was to increase the social and cultural capital of parents to make sure that despite all the challenges they faced, they knew what steps to follow, what resources were available to them and what interventions the school should provide. By helping parents build their self-efficacy, we wanted to ensure that in spite of challenges and regardless of what language was spoken at home, Hispanic students are academically prepared to succeed in life.
We launched "Camino al Éxito" (Path to Success) and followed four Hispanic families in what experts identified as critical transition grades (4th, 9th, 12th and first year in college) and told their story to a mass audience. We followed these students and their families over the course of an entire school year to show the challenges and opportunities they faced as they navigated the U.S. school system.
We worked closely with our news department to secure a weekly story airing during the Saturday evening 6:30 pm national newscast when many families gather to watch the news together. This was an integrated campaign in which we also leveraged our social, digital and radio platforms to share key information with our community.
Throughout the year, audiences saw these four different families – a 4th grade ELL student whose family recently moved to the United States from Dominican Republic; 9th and 10th grade students whose parents are farmworkers and constantly migrating every season; a high school senior struggling to obtain financial aid to pay for college; and the plight of a first-year undocumented college student –as they navigated critical points in their children's educational journeys, including preparing to enter the fourth grade, transitioning from middle school to high school, applying to college, graduating from high school, and working to complete college. By documenting these personal stories over the course of the year, we created a consistent narrative with multiple storylines that would allow viewers to be able to relate to one of them; as well as provide resources so that they too could advocate for their children themselves.
To encapsulate the regular television segments, digital content, social media updates and on-the-ground events, we created three hour-long network specials, two Spanish ones on Univision and an English one on Fusion where we provided longer updates about our families and the issues they've been facing and supplement it with expert guests and additional commentary.
We experimented with new ways to engage our audience through social media by releasing first-person narrative videos created by some of the students. Digital content was strategically developed to reinforce messaging shared during the TV segments as well to provide more in-depth information about specific topics. We also used Facebook Lives in a new way by inviting and interviewing subject-matter experts and partners to ensure that information and tangible resources were shared with families - especially when the students that we followed experienced challenges that could not be fully covered in a 2-3 minute TV segment. The Facebook Live streams also allowed us to reach a targeted audience who was engaged in the topic and eager for information. It gave our audience the opportunity to ask questions to experts directly, also driving to the campaign hub where parents could find more resources.
We leveraged all of our platforms, outlets and partners to share key messages and resources in traditional ways through linear and radio as well as emerging social and digital channels that allow information to have a longer impact since the evergreen content can be continuously consumed online. A series of local events, such as Parent Academies and Education Fairs occurred throughout the year, with the stories of the families being incorporated into these events.
"Camino al Éxito" seeked to ensure that, regardless of location, socioeconomic background or primary language spoken at home, Hispanic students are academically prepared to succeed in school and in life.
Based on results from research done by American University's Center for Media and Social Impact, we believe that the television programming has generated positive outcomes for our audiences. For instance, a significant emphasis was placed on messaging about critical transition grades, school interventions and parental rights. Survey results showed that almost 9 in 10 respondents (87%) agreed that they understood their parental rights as they pertain to their child's education and school. The parents' self-efficacy was also evident in their responses about increased communication with school teachers and counselors and the increasing number of parents who are helping their children search and apply for college.
Overall, the number of people consistently reached throughout the campaign exceeded our expectations. Our television programming reached 70 million total viewers. A total of 188 articles were produced and shared online through univision.com/educacion, reaching over 40 million people.
Camino al Exito provided a unique opportunity to empower Hispanic families by leveraging national and local linear, social and digital media and tent pole events in the community and for the first time; launch a year-long integrated storytelling effort.
Fill out the form below and we'll work on connecting you to the entry creator!