Foundation for Seattle Community Colleges Programs
The Foundation for Seattle Community Colleges supports the Seattle Community Colleges District-Wide Strategic Goals for Student Success, Partnerships and Innovation.
Student Success – Increase student learning and achievement
Offering COMPASS placement test preparation workshops for incoming students to eliminate “cold” testing. Provide time for subject material review to help students test into college-level or higher levels of developmental courses, saving time and money.
Partnerships – Build community, business & educational partnerships
Partnering with the City of Seattle, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Jobs Initiative, SkillUp Washington, Seattle Port Jobs, the Seattle Foundation, and the Service Employees International Union to build educational pathways to middle-class jobs for youth and low-income working adults.
Innovation – Increase innovation and organizational effectiveness
Developing a business plan for sustainability including actions to be taken to increase green courses and to reduce the district’s carbon footprint.
Scholarships are the backbone of our support for students. As tuition increases to fill the gap left by state budget cuts and financial aid resources decline with increased demand, students bear the burden.
To meet the increasing demand for an educated workforce and contribute to the economic growth of the region, we need to build our resources to increase the impact we have on educating members of our community.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Funding Need -- High School to College Transition
Initial Roll out in three additional high schools requires $150,000 per year
The Seattle Community Colleges are working to build a new high school to community college transition system in Seattle. The new system will adapt and modify a model currently used by South Seattle Community College’s 13th-Year Scholarship/Readiness Academy at Cleveland and Chief Sealth High Schools. The expanded system would target support to College Bound Scholarship and other low-income, first-generation students in high schools across the Seattle Public School District. It will place Seattle Community College transition navigators in the high schools to work with graduating students from their high school senior year through to their second college quarter.
The goals of the project are to build a system of services and student supports that can:
Seattle colleges creating a national model for student success
- increase direct high school-to-college enrollment rates in Seattle;
- orient low-income and first-generation students to college life and prepare them to succeed as college students;
- ensure that transitioning students receive timely academic advising regarding course selection and access to college services;
- provide COMPASS placement test prep and testing with follow-on academic support for students with low-level math and English skills, accelerating their path to college-level classes and a college degree.
The Seattle Community Colleges are creating a model for student success that can be replicated at urban community colleges across the country, with help from a 3-year, $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Pathway to Completion initiative addresses a key barrier for students who enroll at the community colleges. “After they take their placement tests, almost two-thirds of our new students are required to take pre-college math courses,” said District Chancellor Jill Wakefield. More than half of these students never reach college-level coursework, she said. “We have the potential to change the direction of a great many lives by accelerating students’ progress through pre-college-level classes.”
Strategies include mandatory orientation with a COMPASS placement test preparation workshop, intensive advising, academic alerts, accelerated developmental math, and student success content to help students complete their studies. An advisor dashboard has new tools to help staff, faculty and advisors access student data to guide their academic progress.
Grant results will enhance student success strategies, many of which are effective for students who are unprepared for college-level work. The current focus is on those students who test into developmental math, because they are most at risk for not completing college. By the end of the grant, in December 2014, the college district plans to offer these strategies to all entering students.
Seattle Community Colleges math and English faculty are also working closely with teachers at the Seattle Public Schools to align high school math and English content with college courses. This work sets the stage locally for the national Common Core high school curriculum to be implemented nationally by 2015.
These new grant-funded initiatives will have an immediate impact on Seattle Community Colleges students, and the shared results will benefit thousands of future students and lead them to further success in education and career.