CHAPEL HILL, NC – Signifying a strong commitment to student success and completion, thirty community colleges, including the entire Los Angeles Community College District, have joined Achieving the Dream. This is the largest cohort in Achieving the Dream history, and these colleges will begin work immediately to identify strategies for improving student success, closing achievement gaps, and increasing retention, persistence, and completion rates.
Each new college will develop and implement research-based policies and practices based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of its institutional strengths, problem areas, and achievement gaps. The colleges are committed to assessing the effectiveness of their policies and practices, institutionalizing approaches that prove successful, and sharing their findings widely. Throughout the Achieving the Dream process, these colleges will have the opportunity to learn from other Achieving the Dream institutions, and they will receive assistance from experienced practitioners in building a culture of evidence campus-wide, using data to identify problems, setting priorities, and measuring progress toward increasing student success.
“Closing achievement gaps and improving student outcomes is extremely difficult work. The ambitious commitment from each of these thirty colleges is commendable,” said William Trueheart, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “This expansion of the Achieving the Dream national reform network means an additional 300,000 students now have a better chance of earning a certificate or degree, realizing greater economic opportunity, and achieving their dreams.”
“We are excited about all nine of our colleges being accepted into Achieving the Dream. Because California is home to 25 percent of the nation’s community college students and we are the largest community college district in the nation, we have an opportunity to be a leader in improving educational attainment and degree completion,” said Daniel LaVista, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District.
Conceived in 2004 by Lumina Foundation for Education and seven founding partner organizations, Achieving the Dream, and its signature Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement, is focused on creating a culture of evidence in which data and inquiry drive broad-based institutional efforts to close achievement gaps and improve student outcomes overall. The Achieving the Dream model is designed to help more students earn postsecondary credentials, including occupational certificates and degrees. With these 30 new institutions, Achieving the Dream’s network now includes 160 institutions in 30 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than two million students.
“This expansion allows Achieving the Dream to grow our network and take proven student success methods to even more students, communities, and states,” said Trueheart. “Community colleges are at the forefront of the national college completion movement. To be successful colleges must relentlessly focus on using student data and evidence to make important decisions that will have positive outcomes on students, campuses, and communities.”
This most recent expansion of institutions has been made possible with grants provided by College Spark Washington to support ten colleges in the state of Washington, and the Meadows Foundation and The Greater Texas Foundation to support colleges in Texas.
“The long-term vision of Achieving the Dream is that all community colleges and states across the country will adopt a culture that promotes and supports student success,” said Trueheart. “The evidence is clear that success in higher education, whether obtaining a certificate or degree, is the critical pathway to better jobs, a more vibrant economy, a stronger democracy, and greater U.S. competitiveness.”
The 2011 Achieving the Dream Cohort of Community Colleges:
Amarillo College (TX)
Grays Harbor College (WA)
Lower Columbia College (WA)
Athens Technical College (GA)
Jefferson Community & Technical College (KY)
Northwest Indian College (WA)
Bellingham Technical College (WA)
Lane Community College (OR)
Passaic County Community College (NJ)
Century College (MN)
Lorain County Community College (OH)
Prince George’s Community College (MD)
Clover Park Technical College (WA)
Los Angeles City College (CA)
Raritan Valley Community College (NJ)
Cumberland County College (NJ)
Los Angeles Harbor College (CA)
Skagit Valley College (WA)
East Los Angeles College (CA)
Los Angeles Mission College (CA)
Spokane Falls Community College (WA)
Eastern Maine Community College (ME)
Los Angeles Pierce College (CA)
The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (TX)
Edmonds Community College (WA)
Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA)
West Los Angeles College (CA)
Everett Community College (WA)
Los Angeles Valley College (CA)
Whatcom Community College (WA)
Achieving the DreamAchieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national nonprofit that helps more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low-income students. The organization works on multiple fronts —including efforts on campuses and in research, public engagement and public policy — and emphasizes the use of data to drive change. Launched as an initiative in 2004 with funding provided by Lumina Foundation for Education, Achieving the Dream is built on the belief that broad institutional change, informed by student achievement data, is critical to significantly improving student success rates. Today, Achieving the Dream’s network includes 160 institutions in 30 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than two million students. Achieving the Dream continues to work closely with Founding Partners: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas-Austin (CCLP); the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University (CCRC); Jobs for the Future (JFF); MDC; MDRC; and Public Agenda.