Sixteen Community Colleges Leading the Way

Achieving the Dream awards Leader College status to 2014 cohort for commitment to data-informed decision-making and student success

Media Contact:
Lauren Lewis, (917) 613-6419,


Silver Spring, MD (September 24, 2014) – Achieving the Dream announced today the selection of 16 additional community colleges recognized as Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges—a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps.   These 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.

“The work of improving student success is critically important to our education and economy,” said Carol Lincoln, Achieving the Dream Senior Vice President. “These 16 institutions have demonstrated that better student outcomes are possible when institutions focus on policies and practices that help students learn at high levels and overcome challenges life throws at them. These colleges are working hard to move the needle for whole cohorts of students, and deserve recognition for their relentless efforts and promising achievements.”

Achieving the Dream is proud to announce the 2014 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges:

Amarillo College

(Amarillo, TX)

Lower Columbia College

(Longview, WA)

East Los Angeles College

(Monterey Park, CA)

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

(Green Bay, WI)

Eastern Maine Community College

(Bangor, ME)

Oklahoma City Community College

(Oklahoma City, OK)

Everett Community College

(Everett, WA)

Passaic County Community College

(Paterson, NJ)

Jackson College

(Jackson, MI)

Pierce College

(Woodland Hills, CA)

Jefferson Community and Technical College

(Louisville, KY)

Pierce College

(Pierce County, WA)

Lane Community College

(Eugene, OR)

Richland College

(Dallas, TX)

Los Angeles Harbor College

(Wilmington, CA)

Rose State College

(Midwest City, OK)


The 2014 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.

As one of the largest Latino-serving institutions in the country, East Los Angeles College has seen firsthand how their efforts have led to improved student success—with developmental English success rates for first time in college students increasing from 21.8% in 2007 to 34.1% in 2010, and success rates improving for students of color and low-income students.

“East Los Angeles College has put in place programs that are not only successful, but that also propel our overall college outcomes forward,” stated East Los Angeles College President Marvin Martinez. “We are proud of our efforts to date, but will not rest on them. The college is dedicated to continued efforts to improve the outcomes for all students.”

Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC) nearly doubled success rates for students referred to developmental math. EMCC attributed this improvement, from 26.9% in 2008-09 to 50.2% in 2011-12, to a number of interventions implemented both before and during involvement in Achieving the Dream.

“EMCC understands the importance of sustainable change and the relevance of collecting and analyzing data to ensure that our interventions have positive impact on our desired outcomes,” said EMCC President Lawrence Barrett. “We are an Achieving the Dream College by choice because we believe in the philosophy of the organization and because we believe our students deserve the best that we have to offer.”

Find out more information about how Leader Colleges are showing sustained improvement on Achieving the Dream’s five measures of student success.

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status. Since 2009, Achieving the Dream has granted Leader College status to a total of 79 active Achieving the Dream Institutions.

This year, Achieving the Dream has recertified 16 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges:

Bunker Hill Community College

(Boston, MA)

Montgomery County Community College

(Bluebell, PA)

College of the Mainland

(Texas City, TX)

Northern Essex Community College

(Haverhill, MA)

Community College of Beaver County

(Monaca, PA)

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas

(Helena-West Helena, AR)

Community College of Philadelphia

(Philadelphia, PA)

Renton Technical College

(Renton, WA)

Delaware County Community College

(Media, PA)

Roxbury Community College

(Roxbury Crossing, MA)

Galveston College

(Galveston, TX)

San Jacinto College

(Pasadena, TX)

Highline Community College

(Des Moines, WA)

Tacoma Community College

(Tacoma, WA)

Lee College

(Baytown, TX)

Westmoreland County Community College                                                                   (Youngwood, PA)

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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