By Jane Fernandez
East Los Angeles College is one of 16 community colleges recognized by Achieving the Dream as a leader institution for the 2014 year.
Achieving the Dream is a network aimed to help community college students increase their success.
The network of more than 200 participating colleges across the country share a commitment to use data and past program outcomes to determine which activities, services and courses are the most helpful towards students’ success.
“The (awarded)colleges have shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole” reports the Achieving the Dream website.
The ELAC faculty has specifically focused on addressing the needs of new students in the subjects of Math and English.
ELAC joined the network in 2011 and has since created programs that have further students learning outcomes.
“Our entry into the ATD network coincided with the development of our college’s Educational Master Plan,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Carol Kozeracki.
Kozeracki explained that the network explicitly influenced the process the school followed to establish the objectives and action items in the institution’s six-year plan.
Ways that Achieving the Dream has helped increase learning for ELAC students have been noted in increased student persistence, improved math results, and higher assessment test scores after students participate in workshops.
Since the school joined the network, more students have been helped.
As a way to put one new program into action, full-time and part-time English faculty worked to integrate technology into a developmental English course.
The course consisted of online assignments, chat rooms, and high interaction among faculty and students.
The outcome was that 30 percent of the students who passed the class, retook the assessment test and were able to skip over to a higher level English course.
By keeping track of students’ outcomes, the college has added and modified projects that have been successful for students.
ELAC’s first-year experience programs integrate counseling, student success courses, supplemental instruction and access to highly impacted courses. The program which served 150 students in 2009 , has over 600 students this year.
Students’ persistence has been over 20 percent points higher compared to a new college student who is not in the program.
She is excited about discovering additional approaches that other leader colleges have found effective, she also hopes to expand the scope of the existing projects.
The six year plan sets out the goals and objectives the college plans to achieve between 2012 and 2018.
School representatives have been attending Achieving the Dream national conferences over the past three years.
The purpose, to share ideas with other colleges about new programs that help students achieve their academic goals.