Districtwide commendation highlights innovations in student success program
March 22, 2010
by Jamie Santiago | Staff Writer
As a reward for reaching out to incoming freshman ages 18-20, Los Rios Community College District received the Chancellor’s Student Success Award Jan. 11 from the state office that oversees California community colleges.
In 2005, through the leadership of LRCCD Chancellor Brice W. Harris and the Board of Trustees, the district created the Education Initiative Program, which is designed to increase the success rates of students, with a focus on incoming freshmen ages 18-20.
Counselor Mary-Sue Allred said City College works hard to help students engage in school and strengthen basic skills, including reading, writing, and math. Allred said the initiative targeted freshman students because many have a tough time finding a sense of direction.
“We encourage students to come to school, to stay in school, to look at all the different options that there are in terms of support on campus,” Allred said. “There are so many different programs that have been initiated in the last decade really that are all for promoting student success.”
One program receiving special commendation during the award distributions, the RISE (Respect, Integrity, Self-Determination, Education) program, provides in-class tutoring to City College students.
Second-year City College student Estrella Ramirez believes that her teachers are always willing to accommodate the needs of students by having open office hours and keeping the lines of communication open with students.
“I definitely felt more welcomed, I felt more at ease coming into college from high school.”
Barbara Davis-Lyman, recently retired City College psychology faculty member and a current member of the Board of Governors, said the programs have evidentially increased student success — measured by the reduction in drop-out rates.
“It was a very wise and brave thing for the chancellor and our board of trustees to do. And is it has achieved some really incredible success rates,” Davis-Lyman said.
The Education Initiative manifests itself throughout the entire district, through different types of programs catered to the different cultures of the colleges.
“There are similar programs that all of our sister colleges and various faculty member have implemented and supported. So it does address the work of many people who have made the focus of their work helping students succeed,” said Virginia Gessford coordinator of Learning Skills and Tutoring center. “I believe it is a well-earned award.”
“We care about our students. We want them to succeed. We want to do the best job we can do in the classroom as well as getting the support from classified staff because one person can’t do this,” Davis-Lyman said. “It takes a whole college to help a student succeed.”