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Student Success

16 Community Colleges Join Latest Achieving the Dream Cohort

college graduate holding up cap

Achieving the Dream (ATD) has a new cohort of colleges in its national network. Eight community colleges in Connecticut, two each in California and North Carolina and one each in Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Texas have committed to "building their capacity for change," as Karen Stout, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement. ATD is a nonprofit focused on working with schools to improve the success rates of community college students, with a particular emphasis on low-income students and students of color.

The colleges in the Achieving the Dream 2019 Cohort are:

The announcement arrived on the heels of recognition for two network colleges. Indian River State College and Miami Dade College were recently named co-winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Over the next three years, teams from each of the 16 institutions will work together to learn how to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses for improving student outcomes. They'll be using a framework that includes seven institutional capacities identified by ATD as effective in student success: leadership and vision, data and technology, equity, teaching and learning, engagement, strategy, and policies and practices. The framework integrates and aligns efforts that the colleges may have already begun to implement, such as guided pathways, integrated planning, and advising and redesign of education.

The kickoff begins in June in Phoenix, where participants will receive an introduction to ATD's approach and explore the framework and a self-assessment tool that they'll be using to measure their college's capacity for "large-scale change work." The college teams will also meet with their coaches and begin to organize their student success work for the year, including preparing for their on-campus launches in the fall.

The new additions expand the ATD network to 301 institutions all across the country.

"The strength of local and regional economies, our ability to rebuild the middle class and the possibility that a new generation will achieve their goals depends on community colleges," said Stout. "Colleges that join the ATD Network show an exceptional commitment to becoming the kind of institution that will lead the nation into the future."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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