Achieving the Dream, a national non-profit that focuses on helping low-income community college students complete their degrees, has announced that four Texas schools have earned their Leader College Distinction.
College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Lee College, and San Jacinto College, along with 48 other institutions nationwide, have rolled out college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, cooperative learning, learning communities, and intensive and individualized advising to increase completion rates.
"The work of improving student success is very difficult, critically important, and urgent," said Achieving the Dream President & CEO William Trueheart. "Theseâ¦ institutions have carefully analyzed student outcomes evidence and have implemented sustained positive student-centered changes. They deserve enormous recognition for their focus on equity and excellence and for their extraordinary contributions to their communities and our nation."
In conjunction with announcing the new Leader Colleges, Achieving the Dream is releasing a new resource called "Promising Practices: 2011 Leader Colleges". This new resource is a succinct overview of fifty different examples of promising policies and practices across the Achieving the Dream Leader College network.
To be eligible for Leader College distinction, colleges must demonstrate commitment to and progress on the four principles: committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systemic institutional improvement. They must also show three years of sustained improvement of student success on at least one of the following measures of performance: Completion of certificates or degrees; Term-to-term and year-to-year retention; Completion of college-level math and English courses; Advancement from developmental to credit-bearing courses; and Course completion.
Additionally, each Leader College has successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that is advancing student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students.
"We expect these exemplary colleges to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners, as well as advocates for the values, principles, and mission of Achieving the Dream," Trueheart said. "Creating and implementing student success initiatives that have an enduring impact takes time and patience. It's critical that we get it right and that we learn from institutions that have demonstrated success in key areas and have been able to sustain progress over time."