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With a Focus on Equitable Student Success, 17 Colleges Begin ATD Journey

A sense of purpose and spirit of collaboration permeated Achieving the Dream’s 2019 Kickoff Institute in Phoenix, as 17 colleges met for the first time as a cohort to begin their work as ATD Network colleges. The 17 institutions representing eight states included a cohort of eight colleges from Connecticut and increases the ATD Network to 277 institutions from 44 states and the District of Columbia.

In her opening remarks, Achieving the Dream President and CEO, Dr. Karen A. Stout, focused on equitable outcomes. “We believe that we’re leading a network not just committed to student outcomes, but to equitable outcomes,” Dr. Stout shared with the nearly 200 college leaders in attendance. “Equity is at the core of our work.” Bonita Brown, ATD’s Vice President of Network Engagement, underscored the urgency of the new cohort’s work. The United States, which once led the nation in college completion rates, now ranks 16th in the world in completion rates for 25- to 34-year olds. Her remarks on economic opportunity served as a precursor to a recurring theme throughout the weekend. “A child born in poverty today is more likely than ever to remain in poverty,” she said.

The three-day Kickoff Institute in Phoenix included an introduction to ATD’s approach, with plenary sessions where ATD staff and leaders from ATD Network colleges shared insights from their time in the Network. Workshop sessions covered topics such as leading transformative change, having courageous conversations, including the student voice in ATD work, and effectively communicating about the work of ATD to the entire campus community. College teams met with their ATD coaches to begin to organize their student success work for the year, including preparing for the official launch of their ATD work on campus in the fall.

Throughout the week, presidents of colleges new to the Network reinforced the urgency of this work and the importance of equitable student success. Leaders also consistently cited data use and disaggregation, holistic student supports, and coaching as key drivers for joining the ATD Network. "We thought we needed a platform, and Achieving the Dream really answered that,” shared Dr. Eddie Tealer, president of Eastfield College (TX). “A framework with coaches to look into data and leadership will give a nice start to putting the college on an even playing field."

"What has resonated with me so far during the Kickoff Institute has been the shared sense of urgency that all of the 17 colleges in the 2019 cohort share,” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, president of Forsyth Technical Community College (NC). “We've heard the stories of successes at the other institutions and we've seen the lives that have been changed at those colleges."
It’s with this sense of urgency and purpose that colleges left Phoenix to return to their respective campuses for a summer of planning leading up to student success implementation beginning in the fall.

The Achieving the Dream 2019 Cohort includes:

  • Asnuntuck Community College (CT) 
  • College of Lake County (IL)
  • College of Southern Maryland (MD)
  • Eastfield College (TX)
  • Flathead Valley (MT)
  • Forsyth Technical Community College (NC)
  • Hudson County Community College (NJ)
  • Manchester Community College (CT)
  • Middlesex Community College (CT)
  • Naugatuck Community College (CT)
  • Northwestern Connecticut Community College (CT)
  • Pitt Community College (NC)
  • Quinebaug Valley Community College (CT)
  • Sacramento City College (CA)
  • San Joaquin Delta College (CA)
  • Three Rivers Community College (CT)
  • Tunxis Community College (CT)

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