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HCC Selected to Participate in the New Achieving the Dream Texas Peer Coaching Initiative

$10,000 grant will allow HCC to spread effective practices throughout Texas and the nation

HOUSTON [September 2012] – Houston Community College was selected as one of seven community colleges in Texas to participate in the Achieving the Dream Texas Peer Coaching Initiative.

The initiative is designed to accelerate the transfer of effective practices from college to college with the long-term goal of positively impacting sustainable student outcome gains in Texas. Funding for the initiative comes through the TG Public Benefit grant program. Achieving the Dream, Inc., a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success, was one of 30 organizations to be chosen by TG for a Public Benefit grant from a pool of 373 applicants.

Through the Texas Peer Coaching Initiative, HCC will provide support to at least two other Texas colleges on evidence-based effective student success strategies and will receive a grant of $10,000 from Achieving the Dream, Inc. to assist with the activities associated with their participation in the initiative.

“We are proud to be an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Houston Community College is committed to maximizing opportunities to close education gaps and help more students achieve success. The Achieving the Dream initiative provides a bridge to help students reach their goals and, to that end, we are looking forward to partnering with other colleges to share best practices and promote student achievement,” said Dr. Mary Spangler, HCC Chancellor.

“Houston Community College has already demonstrated commitment to and progress on the principles of Achieving the Dream and has shown an increase in student achievement, and is therefore poised to assist other institutions in the student success movement,” said Rachel Singer, Vice President of Achieving the Dream, Inc.

With nearly half of all higher education students enrolled at community colleges, America cannot close its skills gap without a concerted effort to increase community college persistence, retention, and completion through effective student success strategies. Many community colleges are on this path and have developed and implemented promising student success initiatives and realized increased student success outcomes. Though these colleges are making great progress, it is difficult to spread these effective practices to other community colleges so that more students can benefit from these interventions and so our nation can reach our education and workforce goals.

“At TG, we recognize that leadership matters,” said Jacob Fraire, Vice President of Student and Institutional Success at TG. “We are fortunate that Texas has a great core of Leader Colleges from which we can build a knowledge infrastructure for achieving success for all community college students. TG is pleased to serve as a funding and thought partner with Achieving the Dream on this very important initiative to spread effective practices throughout the state of Texas.”

Lessons learned from HCC will help inform the development of an Achieving the Dream peer coaching framework for college-to-college coaching that will advance the student success movement in Texas and across the nation.

Representatives from HCC, Achieving the Dream, Inc., and TG will convene for an inaugural Texas Peer Coaching Initiative Kickoff Institute at Austin Community College in Austin, TX on September 25, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The following are all seven Texas colleges that were selected to participate in the Achieving the Dream Texas Peer Coaching Initiative:

Alamo Colleges
(San Antonio, TX)

Brazosport College
(Lake Jackson, TX)

El Paso Community College
(El Paso, TX)

Houston Community College
(Houston, TX)

Lee College
(Baytown, TX)

San Jacinto College
(Pasadena, TX)

South Texas College
(McAllen, TX)

Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges

Leader Colleges are demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement. They show that it is possible to raise persistence and graduation rates, close achievement gaps, and improve lives. Leader Colleges embody the ultimate goal of Achieving the Dream, and as such, serve as mentors within a community of learners. To be eligible for Leader College distinction, colleges must demonstrate commitment to and progress on the Achieving the Dream 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:

ü Completion of certificates or degrees

ü Term-to-term and year-to-year retention

ü Completion of college-level math and English courses

ü Advancement from developmental to credit-bearing courses

ü 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. Indeed, these institutions have met high standards of practice and performance and Achieving the Dream expects these colleges to serve as mentors within the Achieving the Dream community of learners. For more information on the Leader Colleges, click here.

TG
TG is a public, nonprofit corporation that promotes educational success to help millions of students and families realize their college and career dreams. TG provides critical support to schools, students, and borrowers at every stage of the federal student aid process – from providing information on how to pay for a higher education including financial aid options, to facilitating successful loan repayment after graduation. To learn more, visit www.tgslc.org/.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With nearly 200 colleges, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 32 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams. To learn more, visit www.AchievingtheDream.org.

About HCC
HCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, open-admission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. HCC, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, is composed of six colleges that serve the Greater Houston Area’s diverse communities by preparing individuals to live and work in today’s increasingly international and technological society.

To learn more go to hccs.edu

Contact:
Lesa Spivey,
HCC Director of PR & Media
Phone: 713.718.5438
Email: lesa.spivey@hccs.edu

Contact:
Katie Loovis,
Achieving the Dream
Phone: (919) 696-0781 (cell)
E-mail: KLoovis@achievingthedream.org

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