Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Arlene Dorn Papers
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1978-1985)
Collection number: MS 192
7 half cartons
University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.
Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection contains materials relating to Arlene Dorn's work with migrant students, teachers and education officials
in helping to develop the Binational Education Program. Dorn played a key role in developing a standardized student progress
form that is recognized as an official transfer document by schools in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Arlene Dorn Papers. MS 192. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of
California, Santa Cruz.
Gift of Arlene Dorn.
When Arlene Dorn-Trowbridge transferred to UCSC from Cabrillo College in 1966, she was in her early 40's, which makes her
one of UCSC's most senior alumni. She went on to teach in Watsonville's public schools, where many of her students were from
migrant farm worker families. She noticed that each year several students left for Mexico in November, not returning until
the following spring. "They were at a great disadvantage," she says, "because they arrived in Mexico too late to enroll in
Working with education officials, teachers, and parents on both sides of the border, Dorn soon occupied a key role in developing
a standardized student progress form that is recognized as an official transfer document by schools in the U.S. and Mexico.
In 1975, concerned with the impact on her students that the annual moves between Mexico and California were having during
the school year, she initiated a needs study of the parents of international migrant children. She then took a sabbatical
leave the following year to pursue her Masters degree in Intercultural Education in Mexico, where she met Señora Irene Anzaldúa,
principal of the American School in Mexico City. Anzaldúa put her in touch with officals in the centalized educational system
of Mexico. Together, they brought to the California State Migrant Education Department a commitment made by the Mexican Ministry
of Education to aid international migrant children jointly with California schools.
This commitment became the basis for the Gómez-Farías Project, a pilot project (designed for replication) that Dorn originated,
developed, organized, and promoted. The project was funded for a two-year initial period (fiscal years 1978-79 and 1979-80)
by the Department of Education. A process to communicate academic data for the students was jointly developed by the Sectaría
de Educación Pública (SEP) of Mexico, and California. Irene Anzaldúa became the coordinator in Mexico, working directly with
In January 1980, Dorn solicited aid from various private foundations. The David and Lucille Packard Foundation in Los Altos,
California offered a grant toward phase two of the project, now to be referred to as Project MEDIR [Spanish = to measure],
for Migrant Education Data International Record. Identification of migrant children took place through the use of a Migrant
Student Record Transfer System (MSRTS) among other agencies. In November, 1980, Dorn became full-time coordinator for the
remainder of the school year, and the project was placed within the non-profit organization California Mini-Corps, part of
the State Department of Migrant Education (in the County Office of Education in Butte County). This office was approved by
the State Department of Education to be the fiscal agent for the M.E.D.I.R. project in January, 1981. The Packard Foundation
again funded the second year. Districts in which Project MEDIR was implemented were Lodi (San Joaquin County), Planada (Merced
County), Cutler-Orosi (Tulare County), Delano (Kern County), Greenfield (Monterey County), Gonzales (Monterey County), Cabrillo
(San Mateo County), and Desert Sands (Riverside County). Sites were selected because groups of students were returning annually
to the same village. During this time Dorn succeeded in changing the fall-only enrollment policy of Mexican schools, greatly
enhancing the possibility of success for the program.
In 1997 Arlene Dorn-Trowbridge was honored by the Mexican government for her work. She lives in Santa Cruz and continues
to be active in the community.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection contains correspondence, much of it in Spanish, between and among Dorn and other educators, administrators,
and politicians involved in the effort to standardize information about binational migrant students. Also included are office
files documenting some of the day to day activities, survey forms of school districts, newspaper clippings covering Dorn's
activities, and some related writings and publications.
The original order has been maintained where ever possible. Please note that some correspondence remains with the project
files. Both the correspondence files and project files have been sorted chronologically.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Children of migrant laborers--Education--United States
Children of migrant laborers--Education--California--Pajaro River Valley
Children of migrant laborers--Education--Mexico
Education--California--Pajaro River Valley--International Cooperation
Mexican Americans--Education--United States
Index Terms Related to this Collection
California--Migrant Education Office