Achieving the Dream team pushes on through 2013

GradpicbigforstorySince Pierce College was chosen as an Achieving the Dream school in March 2012, the entire institution has embraced the ATD mission of helping more community college students stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. As part of this national movement, we are gathering data and building a “culture of evidence” to help us better understand what keeps students at Pierce and what causes them to leave.

Over the last several months, ATD subgroups charged with concentrating on our five chosen priority areas have made considerable progress. And at the end of this post, you’ll be invited to join their efforts.

  • Engagement (building a Center for Engagement and Learning to increase all college employees’ knowledge of student retention practices) — Reworking the new faculty learning community, master teaching and other programs. Also, work has begun on building a best-practices platform, employee-student mentoring program and knowledge management database.
  • Start 2 Finish model (improving student orientation and advising, and designing a mandatory college success course) — Established new goals and a new process for orientation. Began building a new advising system that relies on state-of-the-art technology. Started redesigning the college success course.
  • Basic Skills (creating a S2F model for adult basic education, GED and English as a second language) — Work will begin this fall, with smaller groups each concentrating on orientation, advising and college success.
  • Precollege math — Increased supplemental instruction support of precollege math courses. New, computer-based math labs on both campuses have been equipped, including hours spent creating new curriculum and procedures. Learning modules are being created for the tutoring center. Redesigned the precollege math sequence. Work begins this fall on aligning placement testing with local high school math coursework.
  • Precollege English/reading — Completed a developmental education curriculum review. Will pilot an accelerated learning program in Puyallup this winter. Will complete reading apprenticeship training this year — involving instruction of common reading strategies across all disciplines — with rollout anticipated next year. Began work on “norming” grading across English classes. Additionally, ENG 101 outcomes review will take place over the next year.

To learn more about ATD or to join the efforts at Pierce College, contact Tom McCollow or Tom Broxon, or subgroup coordinators: Greg Brazell (Engagement), Agnes Steward (Start 2 Finish), Lori Griffin (Basic Skills), Tom McCollow (Math) and Holly Smith (English/Reading).

And for ongoing Achieving the Dream news, don’t forget to check into our ATD site, linked at the bottom left of the Pierce College home page.

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