The largest community college district in the country, LACCD, has joined the largest non-government reform movement for student success in community college history, Achieving the Dream.
Achieving the Dream aims to bring about change within community colleges and in state and federal policy. The initiative also seeks to augment knowledge about strategies that increase student success and to expand public support for raising postsecondary attainment levels.
At its core, the initiative seeks to help more students reach their individual goals, which may include earning a community college certificate or degree, attaining a bachelor’s degree, and/or obtaining a better job. Achieving the Dream colleges will maintain a high degree of access for historically underrepresented groups while working to increase the percentage of students who accomplish the following:
- successfully complete the courses they take;
- advance from remedial to credit-bearing courses;
- enroll in and successfully complete gatekeeper courses;
- enroll from one semester to the next;
- earn degrees and/or certificates.
After four to eight years, a substantially higher percentage of students at Achieving the Dream colleges—especially low-income students and students of color—will experience success, as measured by the list above, with no reduction in enrollment for these populations. Longer term, Achieving the Dream aims to influence national policy and practice in order to increase student success at colleges that do not have the opportunity to participate directly in the initiative.
Kick-off of AtD in the LACCD
During Fall 2011, all nine of our campuses rolled out their AtD Initiatives involving staff, faculty, administrators, and students. Pierce College, for example, began with a week’s long series of AtD focused meetings including a Leadership Retreat. AtD Coaches John Nixon and Terri Manning made the following presentation at Pierce.
Published September 2009 The “Field Guide for Improving Student Success” is Achieving the Dream’s most comprehensive overview of the signature framework for helping more students finish the courses they start, persist from one term to the next, and earn a certificate or associate degree. The Field Guide includes an in-depth overview of Achieving the Dream’s four principles and five-step process, case studies, and a readiness assessment for prospective colleges to determine how their policies are practices measure up.