Dr. Jacquelyn Belcher, Vice Chair President and CEO, Options Unlimited President Emeritus, Georgia Perimeter College Rob Denson
President, Des Moines Area Community College Andy Dorsey, Treasurer
President, Front Range Community College Jim Harper, Secretary
Trustee, Portland Community College Board of Directors Martha Lamkin, Chair
Founder and Past President, Lumina Foundation for Education Dr. Nan Poppe
Executive Director, Completion by Design
President Emeritus, Extended Learning Campus, Portland Community College
Dr. Nan Poppe served as founding chair of the National Network’s board of directors from 2008 - 2011. The board wishes to thank Dr. Poppe for her outstanding leadership and is grateful for her continued commitment to the organization.
2012 Board of Directors
“I serve on the Gateway to College National Network
board because I am passionate about reconnecting
young people to education. We need to turn their
aspirations and academic potential into academic
Message from Our Leadership2011 was a year of exciting accomplishments. We received our first federal
funding and embarked on a randomized control trial of Gateway to College. Most important, we crossed the threshold of 1,000 Gateway to College graduates, with thousands more on the way. For these young people who previously had little chance of earning a high school diploma, let alone going to college, this victory marks an important turning point in their lives. Preliminary results of an external research project show that nearly three-quarters of Gateway graduates remain in college after earning their diplomas, continuing on even to master’s degree programs. While we are thrilled with these achievements, the sobering state of the economy and the hardships this has brought to our network remind us that many young people are left without opportunity, hope, and a road to a better future. Drastic budget cuts have hurt colleges and school districts across the country at a time when young people can least afford to lose options. Several Gateway programs closed their doors in 2011 and others were not able to serve as many students. Despite these challenges, our network continues to grow. We now partner with 35 colleges (50 colleges when including all of our models), and more than 125 school districts. Project DEgree, our newest model, is another highlight. Project DEgree works with young people who enter college taking remedial courses. Using many of the practices developed in Gateway to College, Project DEgree combines learning communities and wrap-around student support with innovative instruction. The model is showing great promise. Early results indicate that students are progressing significantly faster and with dramatically higher retention than similar students in comparison groups. We continue to learn about the practices and tools that help struggling students persist on a path to credential completion.
Given the troubled state of education funding, we are especially grateful to the growing list of foundations that support our work. In 2011 we received new awards from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and Tipping Point Community. With their sponsorship, and that of the other wonderful funders acknowledged in this report, we are helping young people reinvent themselves for a much brighter future.
Each of the following highlights represents a significant part of our story for 2011. These accomplishments and initiatives demonstrate our commitment to building a strong, sustainable network of partner programs that is well-positioned to serve students for many years to come.
Gateway to College Expands into New Communities
2011 was another year of significant expansion for Gateway to College National Network. Eight new Gateway to College partners joined the National Network, making 2011 the single largest period of growth in our history. Bristol Community College (Fall River, MA) is already serving students. Christel House DropOut Recovery School/Ivy Tech Community College (Indianapolis, IN), Contra Costa College (San Pablo, CA), Hinds Community College (Raymond, MS), Mott Community College (Flint, MI), Owens Community College (Toledo, OH), Quinsigamond Community College (Worcester, MA), and Spokane Falls Community College (Spokane, WA) will begin serving students in fall 2012. With these new additions, there are 35 Gateway to College programs in 20 states, partnering with more than 125 school districts and reaching many more young people across the country who have dropped out of high school or are not on track to graduate.
National Network Receives Prestigious Social Innovation Fund Award
In March 2011, we were awarded a three-year, $3.5 million Social Innovation Fund grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to expand our organizational capacity and increase the evidence of Gateway to College’s effectiveness. We expect this award to have
“Gateway to College can be challenging, but I am
so glad I have done it. I feel like
I’m successful and going somewhere in life.”
Gateway to College student
a substantial impact on our organization, allowing us to continue to bring Gateway to College to new communities, engage in a strategic business planning process, and conduct a comprehensive randomized control trial of the Gateway to College model.
The award requires us to raise another $3.5 million in matching funds. In late 2011, two new funders stepped forward with matching grants that will increase the presence of Gateway to College in California and provide direct financial support to our current programs in the Bay Area. Tipping Point Community focuses on eliminating poverty in underserved populations in the Bay Area, and The James Irvine Foundation is committed to expanding opportunity for youth by helping students build a strong foundation for college and career success. They have awarded us grants of $270,000 and $400,000 respectively. We are proud to partner with these organizations and grateful for their lead grants as we carry out this ambitious initiative over the next few years.
Project DEgree Shows Great Promise
2011 was an important year for our Project DEgree program. After an early start by five partner colleges in fall 2010, all nine pilot sites were fully operational in 2011. We are learning much about how to effectively serve underprepared college students, and though it is still early, the results are very encouraging. Project DEgree students are getting through developmental education courses faster, and they are going further in their education than comparison groups. More information on Project DEgree is provided later in the report.
Gateway to College serves young people who have left high school without a diploma or are significantly behind in credits for their age and unlikely to graduate. The college-based program allows them to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate’s degree or certificate.
Nearly 3,400 students were enrolled in Gateway to College programs across the country during the 2010/2011 academic year.
Who We Serve
Gateway to College students experienced a variety of challenges that led them to fall behind or drop out of high school. In addition to school-based factors, many students struggled with issues related to their socioeconomic background, home and family circumstances, and health status. Unfortunately, these kinds of personal challenges often persist for our students, which is one of the reasons why the Gateway model includes wrap-around support. Among students served since 2004:
• 42% have received public assistance at some point in their lives • 29% need to work to support themselves and family members • 28% have moved frequently and 10% have experienced
• 25% have experienced health problems not related to drugs and alcohol
• 24% have at least one parent who did not complete high school • 20% have had problems with the legal system
• 9% are parents of at least one child • 7% are foster youth
Gateway to College:
2010/2011 Performance Highlights
Course Passage Rate
Nearly all courses offered to Gateway to College students are standard college courses. During the 2010/2011 academic year, Gateway students enrolled in nearly 20,000 courses and earned a C or better in 68% of those courses.
Students graduate from Gateway to College once they have completed their high school diploma requirements. It typically takes students one to three years to complete the program, depending on how many credits they need.
• 426 students graduated from Gateway to College during the 2010/2011 academic year, a 21% increase over the previous year. • On average, these graduates also accrued 33 college credits and
are well on their way to earning a college credential.
Gateway to College Students at a Glance
These data pertain to students enrolled during the 2010/2011 academic year.
Students of color: 63% (28% African American, 28% Latino,
7% other minority)
Average age at entry: 17
Average high school GPA at entry: 1.49
Average high school credits completed at entry: 45% of
credits needed for a diploma
Nearly three-quarters of Gateway students continue in college after completing the program, according to preliminary results from a recent survey.
“My experience with Gateway to College has
been rigorous and empowering. I tell others that
Gateway to College is truly a once-in-a-lifetime
A Gateway Student Success Story
Gateway to College is changing lives one student at a time. Our students have experienced enormous challenges and their resilience inspires us every day. By recommitting to their education, they have taken an important step toward a better and brighter future. But, as any Gateway student will tell you, it is very hard work. The program is rigorous and expectations are high. Many students continue to struggle, but those who persist in the program and earn their high school diploma represent phenomenal success stories. We are both proud of and humbled by the 1157 young people who have graduated from the Gateway to College program since 2004.
Anthony’s story is one example of how young people are rewriting the story of their lives through the Gateway to College program.
Life hasn’t always been kind to Anthony Duran. He was taken out of parental custody at age nine and placed in a foster home. At age 15, Anthony was kicked out of that home. For the next two years, he stayed anywhere he could and spent a lot of time alone on the streets. He didn’t attend school very much and fell far behind his peers.
Things began looking up for Anthony when he found out about Gateway to College at Riverside City College (RCC). He enrolled in the spring of 2010 at age 17 with only 50% of the 178 high school credits he needed to graduate. Since joining Gateway, Anthony has earned over 100 high school credits and 25 college units while more than doubling his GPA. “Having this much individual attention and access to resources, as well as having the opportunity to earn dual credit, has helped keep me motivated,” he says.
In addition to his studies, Anthony has worked an average of 25 hours per week, including serving as a math tutor at RCC. He will complete his high school diploma requirements in June 2012 and will continue his education at RCC and then transfer to a four-year institution to earn his bachelor’s degree. His career interests include Fire Technology and Computer Science. “I now understand how school and my future connect, and I’m
optimistic about what lies ahead,” says Anthony.
An Innovative Program Practice
Mastering Math Through Chess
Among the list of courses required for first term Gateway to College students at St. Louis Community College, chess stands out from the more traditional offerings. Once a week, Ben Finegold,
Grandmaster-in-Residence at the St. Louis Chess Club, teaches an hour-long class on terminology and strategy, giving students puzzles to solve and time for free play. Students are learning more than chess in the class, however. They are learning math.
“Our students are math-phobic,” says Wendell Covington, director of St. Louis Community College’s Gateway to College program. He invited the St. Louis Chess Club to teach the class as a way to make math more accessible to his students. “Chess gives them an opportunity to use those competitive juices in a positive way that fosters cooperative and cognitive learning. They think they are playing a game, but really they are learning skills like visual and spatial awareness and juggling multiple tasks.”
The class has already made a remarkable impact. The percentage of students who pass developmental math has increased 25% since spring 2010, and student GPAs have increased significantly.
Recently, the St. Louis Chess Club asked Gateway students to join them in an initiative to teach chess in elementary and middle school classrooms. Ten students volunteered for the program and will begin teaching this spring. It wasn’t long ago that many of these students were dropping out of school. Through Gateway to College and the chess program, they are not only reengaged with their education, they are teaching, giving back to their community, and serving as positive examples for a younger generation.
Project DEgree is designed for students who have earned a high school diploma or GED, but who still need further developmental education in order to be ready for college-level course work. It provides students with individualized academic and social supports, offers an engaging project-based curriculum within a learning community, and helps students structure their lives so they can build and maintain the momentum necessary to complete a college credential.
Gateway to College National Network selected nine colleges across the country to pilot the program. Five of the colleges began serving students in fall 2010 and four colleges began serving students in spring 2011.
326 students enrolled in Project DEgree between fall term 2010 and summer term 2011.
Performance Highlights (Fall 2010 – Summer 2011)
Six of the nine Project DEgree programs have overall course passage rates that are higher than that of the comparison group* (differentials: +1.5%, +5.0%, +10.2%, +13.0%, +18.0%, +28.6%).
* Comparison group students are locally defined, but all are comprised of demographically similar, full-time students who placed into the same level in developmental reading, writing, and math as the pilot project group (typically two levels below transfer-level).
Among the five programs that started in fall 2010, four of five had significantly stronger fall-to-fall persistence rates than their comparison group (differentials: +7%, +11%, +23%, +24%).
Project DEgree Students at a Glance
Students of color: 71% (44% African American, 20% Latino,
7% other minority)
Average age at entry: 20
Students receiving financial aid: 83%
Employment status: 35% of students were employed upon
entry into the program
Family status: 24% of students have at least one child
Among the programs that started in spring 2011, fall-to-fall persistence is not yet available, but three of four programs had significantly higher spring-to-fall persistence rates than their comparison group
(differentials: +23%, +25%, +36%).
Project DEgree students are taking more classes and more of the developmental courses they will need to complete a degree.
“I’ve never been more focused and motivated.
I went from failing to getting straight As.”
Project DEgree student
“ I can’t
student7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Project DEgree Comparison 6.8 5.6 1.8 1.1 0.8 0.6
Project DEgree students are finishing the developmental education sequence sooner and wrestling with transfer-level classes earlier than the comparison groups. (All Project DEgree students take ELA classes in their first term, but some do not begin math classes until later in the program.)
Project DEgree students are going further, faster by enrolling continuously and not taking time off.
alive as an
in a long
instructor50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% ELA Gatekeeper Taken Math Gatekeeper Taken Project DEgree Comparison 45% 19% 5% 4% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Semester System Colleges
Continuous Semester Enrollment (fall ’10, spring ’11, and summer ’11) Project DEgree Comparison 65% 25%
A Project DEgree Student Success Story
During high school, Jennifer Hill did just enough to get by and pass her classes. After earning her diploma, she began the process of enrolling at her local community college, but realized she wasn’t ready. When Jennifer became pregnant with her now 14 month old daughter, everything changed. She was awakened and began to understand the importance of education. “I wanted to be able to meet my family’s needs,” she says.
With new-found motivation, Jennifer enrolled at Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) in the fall of 2011. She took the placement exam and tested into developmental-level English, math, and reading. Jennifer would need to make up for the skills she failed to acquire in high school.
“Project DEgree was exactly what I was looking for,” she says. The learning community structure and
array of supports have helped her transition from being a stay-at-home mom to a full-time student. “The faculty members are amazing — they are so encouraging.”
Jennifer is now in her second term in the program and has accrued 14 credits and a 3.89 GPA. This is no easy feat, considering that
she is balancing the demands of a full-time courseload with her responsibilities as a parent, and also is commuting two hours per day. After completing the developmental education sequence, Jennifer will continue at SFCC and then plans to transfer to a four-year college to earn her bachelor’s degree in nutrition. She wants to work with low-income families to help them lead a healthy lifestyle. Given Jennifer’s determination and focus, there is no doubt that she will succeed in reaching her goals.
Gateway to College National Network launched the Innovation Collaborative in 2011 to help colleges create and scale learning communities and engaging pedagogy within their developmental education departments. During the first phase of the initiative, which is currently underway, faculty members from participating colleges work in pairs to integrate their curriculum and create a learning community. In the second phase, to begin in fall 2012, the initial faculty teams will train and support additional faculty in the curriculum integration process to facilitate broader adoption of learning communities within their institutions.
In addition to small start-up grants, the National Network also provides participating colleges with in-person and web-based trainings and instructional coaching to help faculty teams as they develop and refine their learning community designs.
Participating colleges include:
Cayuga Community College - Auburn, NY Chattahoochee Technical College - Marietta, GA Community College of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Community Colleges of Spokane, Institute for Extended Learning - Spokane, WA
Corning Community College - Corning, NY
Gateway Community and Technical College - Covington, KY Hinds Community College - Raymond, MS
Mesa Community College - Mesa, AZ Monroe Community College - Rochester, NY Mountain View College - Dallas, TX
Pima Community College - Tucson, AZ
Scottsdale Community College - Scottsdale, AZ
Scaling Learning Communities
The new database is user-friendly and allows us
to generate all the reports we need.”
Gateway to College program director
Using Data to Drive
Continuous ImprovementData collection and analysis have been a priority for Gateway to College
National Network from the beginning. It helps us to tell our story, make informed decisions, and improve the services we provide to our students. In January 2011, we converted our database to a centrally managed system that allows us to collect cleaner data more efficiently and in real time, and to perform network-wide analyses on program effectiveness. This year, we awarded a research contract to Pacific Research and Evaluation to conduct two important studies. The first is an exit study to better understand why some Gateway to College students withdraw before completing the program. We will use the study findings to design new interventions and support strategies to help more students persist in the program. The second study is designed to assess the frequency with which Gateway to College graduates continue with higher education and earn a college credential. We know that many of our graduates eventually acquire bachelor’s and even master’s degrees, but this study is our first attempt to measure this outcome. Both studies are currently underway, and we expect to have results in 2012. We have also contracted with the research firm MDRC to conduct a three year, randomized control trial (RCT) of the Gateway to College model, the central goal of which is to determine statistically significant differences in outcomes for students in Gateway to College compared to similar students in a control group. Our model draws on a large body of research around learning communities and dual-enrollment, but there is relatively little known about the way those two concepts work together, particularly for the types of students Gateway to College serves. We believe the rigor of the study will allow for important advances in the understanding of best practices for reengaging students in a pathway toward the attainment of a college credential.
The National Network provides substantial upfront training and technical assistance to our partners during program planning and early implementation. We also facilitate ongoing opportunities for our partners to learn from and support one another. This emphasis on peer learning will be increasingly important as our network continues to grow. Below are a few of the many ways that Gateway to College National Network acts as a catalyst for learning and innovation across the network. Gateway Live!
Gateway Live! continued to blossom in 2011. The enterprise social networking platform allows National Network partners to collaborate on projects and share resources and promising practices related to program management, teaching and learning, and student support. In fall 2011, we redesigned the platform to improve functionality and overall user experience. Currently, Gateway Live! has over 775 registered users and 2,000 editable pages and continues to grow. Peer Learning Conference
The National Network’s 7th annual Peer Learning Conference, sponsored in part by the Walmart Foundation, was held July 18-20 in Philadelphia. More than 300 Gateway to College and Project DEgree faculty, students, program directors, administrative staff, and K-12 and college leaders gathered to share innovative strategies for educating and supporting the students we serve. The conference theme, The
Power of Persistence, encouraged attendees to “think big” about new approaches for student success and completion. More than 75 workshops were offered on such topics as learner-centered instructional strategies, serving students using a solution-focused approach, project-based learning, and developing professional communities of practice, among others.
Third Annual Directors’ Convening
The National Network sponsored a two-day convening for Gateway to College program directors in November 2011. The convening provided a valuable opportunity for program directors to connect with their colleagues from across the network and discuss important topics related to program sustainability and using the collaborative cycle of
Learning from One Another
“Whether the goal is resource-sharing with our
colleagues around the country or retrieving
program-specific information to support continuous
improvement strategies, Gateway Live! is vital
to our program operations.”
Serving students through the replication of our program models, Gateway to College and Project DEgree, is a central part of our mission. Over the past few years, we also have strengthened our capacity to engage in policy and advocacy efforts aimed at ensuring a broad array of educational opportunities for young high school dropouts and underprepared college students. In this way, we have the potential to impact the lives of many more young people.
Following are some policy and advocacy highlights from 2011. In January 2011, we gave a presentation on reenrollment of out-of-school youth to the Oregon Department of Education and state legislators. In March, we hosted a webinar with legislators and co-wrote a policy brief with the American Youth Policy Forum and the National Youth Employment Coalition that encourages states to take advantage of the extended-year graduation rate metric rather than the four-year cohort rate to prevent disincentives to reenrolling dropouts. In April, we presented a workshop on Project DEgree during the American Association of Community Colleges annual convention and also spoke on a panel at the annual conference of the Education Writers Association. We also testified before the North Carolina state legislature regarding recent legislation addressing dual credit programs in the state, as we want to help ensure a pathway for Gateway to College and other dropout recovery programs.
Expanding Our Impact through
Policy and Advocacy
Our Network of
Gateway to College partner Project DEgree partner Gateway to College and Project DEgree partner Gateway to College National Network Office
For a complete list of Gateway to College and Project DEgree partners and their contact information, please visit our website at www.gatewaytocollege.org.
Nearly 100 news articles highlighting local Gateway to College and Project DEgree programs were published in 2011.
Gateway to College National Network’s audited financial information is available upon request. Please contact Michael Wildfeuer,
Vice President of Finance & Administration, at (971) 634-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund
Edna McConnell Clark Foundation The James Irvine Foundation The Kresge Foundation Open Society Foundations Tipping Point Community
Gateway to College National Network builds the capacity
of colleges, school districts, and states to revolutionize education
for high school dropouts and underprepared college students
so that all young people can achieve college credentials.
Gateway to College National Network
529 SE Grand Avenue, Suite 300 Portland, OR 97214