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Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC)

Helen Valdez, Program Director                            

Carlos Martin, Program Coordinator    
The Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC) program is designed to prepare Latino English language learners (ELL) for college-level courses taught in English within a period of two semesters. The Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC) program recruits from two sources:
  1. Recent high school graduates primarily from the Chicago Public Schools bilingual programs
  2. Students currently at Truman completing GED requirements or non-credit bearing ESL courses
The TBLC retains an impressive 88% of program participants.

Goals of the TBLC Program

  • Increase the enrollment of Latino English learners in Truman College’s credit program
  • Build and strengthen the English language skills and knowledge of TBLC participants
  • Create opportunities for TBLC students to learn the culture of higher education while supporting their bilingual identities and experiences
  • Strengthen the potential for TBLC students to complete an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree
  • Support and facilitate successfuly transfer to a four-year college and ultimate completion of a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree
  • Identify and coordinate existing potential resources and support services to further develop Truman College’s TBLC Program

TBLC Program Services

  • 2-week Orientation to college (prior to first semester)
  • Tutoring
  • Interdisciplinary teaching model
  • Academic advisement
  • Career planning and development
  • Transfer information and assistance
  • Financial aid advisement
  • Club activities
  • Service Learning
  • Parent seminars
  • University and museum field trips
  • TBLC Student Scholarship Fund Committee
  • Other scholarship opportunities


The TBLC Program began in Spring 2002 when a small group of faculty and administrators developed additional support systems to promote success among Latino high school graduates and GED completers transitioning to Truman College. The program focused on the concept of creating “learning communities” to improve student outcomes. Latino populations have grown:
  • Latino Americans represent 26% of Chicago's total population
  • Latino students represent 41% of total Chicago Public Schools enrollment
  • Latino students represent 38% of total City Colleges of Chicago enrollment
The TBLC Program at Truman College represents a model of excellence for the successful enrollment, retention, completion, and graduation of Latino college students.


Students that apply and are accepted into the TBLC Program are eligible for two scholarships, both of which are designed to help academically talented Latino immigrant students realize their dream of a college education.
  • The Harold Washington Scholarship which is a renewable (for a maximum of 4 semesters) scholarship for full-time study at Truman College
  • The TBLC Scholarship which is a non-renewable scholarship to help support the cost of tuition or books at Truman College for current or former TBLC students.



Faculty & Staff

​Name and Title Phone​ Email​ Office​

Carlos Martin, TBLC Program Coordinator, College Advisor and Instructor

(773) 907-4780​​ 

Helen Valdez, TBLC Program Director​ and Assistant Professor (773) 907-4083​​ 

Ana King​, Professor (773) 907-4437​​ 

Elia Lopez​, Instructor (773) 907-4425​ 

Olga Ruiz, Assistant Professor (773) 907-4716 

Kim Steffen, Faculty (773) 989-3878​

Madeline Troche-Rodriguez, Instructor (773) 907-4894​  


Related Services

Contact Information

(773) 907-4780
(773) 907-4050
1145 W. Wilson Ave.
Larry McKeon Administrative Building, Room 162
Chicago, IL 60640
Get Directions


By appointment
​Watch the TBLC video to learn more about this exciting program!