Eleven Community Colleges Earn Honor for Excellence in Student Success

Achieving the Dream (ATD) today announced 11 community colleges in the ATD Network have earned Leader College of Distinction status for achieving new, higher student outcomes and narrowing equity gaps.
“Accelerating improvement in student success outcomes is difficult work and requires a sustained commitment from the entire college community. Small but national recognitions like this one are important for affirming and applauding the often unsung and behind the scenes work of these institutions,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream.

The 2019 cohort of Leader Colleges of Distinction are:
• Alamo Colleges District (TX) 2020 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
• Austin Community College District (TX)
• Brazosport College (TX)
• Columbus State Community College (OH) 2019 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
• Grayson College (TX)
• Harper College (IL) 2016 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
• Montgomery County Community College (PA) 2014 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
• Northern Virginia Community College (VA)
• Porterville Community College (CA)
• San Jacinto College (TX)
• West Hills College Lemoore (CA)

ATD created the Leader College of Distinction award in 2018 to recognize colleges that have continued striving to meet challenging student success goals, often earning Leader College status several times. Leader Colleges of Distinction must show improvement in three measures, including a lagging indicator like such as completion, while Leader Colleges must show improvement in two student outcome measures. Leader Colleges of Distinction also are required to show they have shrunk performance discrepancies in at least two metrics between groups disaggregated by gender, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. The metrics that applicants for the Leader College of Distinction honor are required to select from include: (a) completion of gateway math and/or English in Year 1, (b) persistence from Year 1 to Year 2 (fall-to-fall retention), (c) courses attempted/completed with a C- or higher grade within one year of initial enrollment; (d) completion of a certificate or degree within four years of initial enrollment; and (e) transfer to a four-year institution and achievement of a baccalaureate degree within six years of initial enrollment.
Only colleges that have been Leader Colleges for three or more years were eligible to apply for this status. ATD anticipates that earning the new honor will position colleges to be successful in competing for Achieving the Dream’s Leah Meyer Austin Award. In addition, the increased visibility should help accelerate the adoption of effective practices across the Network institutions and the community college field as a whole.

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