Sheyla Castillo

Sheyla Castillo created and, as the Counselor/Coordinator, implemented the Immigrant-based Support Program (ISP) for adult students of San Diego’s College of Continuing Education. Additionally, she is the co-chair of the Immigrant-based Student Support Committee for the districts’ American Federation of Teachers chapter.  In that role she is currently involved in causes such as: institutionalizing the ISP on all four of San Diego’s Community College Districts’ college campuses, defunding the college campus police force, reallocating funding towards multi-tiered student support, and addressing the needs of Latin American immigrants on both sides of the Mexican/San Diego border, as well as those that are criminalized, detained, and deported.


Sheyla states “Early-on at CIE, I learned the importance of incorporating participant collaboration during the design, and throughout the implementation, of a project.  Therefore, for the Immigrant-based Student Support Program, I utilized this metamorphosing method on an on-going basis, which, while I don’t recall the formal terminology, but in class we lovingly called it “Building the ship as we sail it”.  As we all agreed in CIE, it’s the only way to build a program that may be sustained after the initiators move on to the next project.


Additionally, I’m using a “systems approach” where, not only are the students moving forward, becoming empowered, and learning about the contributions they offer the U.S. formal education system, but I also strive for the District to recognize the value of San Diego’s robust and growing immigrant population and the importance of addressing barriers that these students face in an effort to create a more equitable environment in higher education.  I’m certain CIE has similar goals. 


What an outstanding and transformative experience CIE offers!!  I am thankful for the good fortune to have studied with such an outstanding group that is doing extraordinary work.


I left CIE and returned to San Diego (to have my baby) in 1999, just as I had completed my required CIE classes, and was starting to prepare for my comprehensive exam.  I’m happy to say that my baby girl, Tatyana, is now at Yale, has completed her graduate classes and is preparing for her comprehensive exam.  Where did the time go?!!!” [4-22]




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