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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 11:24 pm | Fair 47º


SBCC Launches Pilot Phase of Express to Success Program

Accelerated program helps students meet degree and transfer requirements in less time

SBCC officially launched the pilot phase of its new Express to Success Program for students with an orientation and luncheon.

This fall, about 300 students will participate in the accelerated program with newly developed specialized curriculum, counseling and other resources designed to guarantee that highly motivated students will complete their two-year associate degree or transfer requirements in no more than two to three years.

Dr. Peter MacDougall, a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, co-chair of the statewide Task Force on Student Success, and emeritus SBCC superintendent/president, was on hand for the occasion and visited orientation workshops and addressed the students at the noon luncheon.

The nearly 300 students who have committed to full-time study (minimum of 12 units per semester) have been divided into 12 learning communities, specific groups of students taking specially selected courses that are combined to optimize their learning and prepare them for college-level study. Learning communities in math, English and ESL are being offered this fall. The students in each learning community attend classes as a group, work closely together and receive specialized support inside and outside of the classroom.

Depending on their math and English placement levels upon joining this program, students will be able to complete their degree or transfer requirements in either two or three years, which is substantially less than the average length of time for community college students to complete these requirements in California and nationwide.

On July 15, the Express to Success Program opened its dedicated C.A.S.A. (Center for Advising and Student Achievement) facility on the college’s main campus. The ESP counselors and staff work closely with the learning communities and their faculty to provide ESP students with individual advising and counseling services, assistance in developing educational plans, and workshops to promote strategies for achieving academic success. Other program benefits include book loans, financial aid, and special activities and recognition.

SBCC English/English skills professor Kathy Molloy, who serves as Express to Success project director, credits the faculty for creating SBCC’s latest program.

“They researched model programs in California and across the nation and studied our own Math Department’s very successful math immersion model to create a program that meets the needs of SBCC students,” she said, adding that plans call for the program to expand in subsequent years as demand for the courses builds. “We’re using this first year to assess the effectiveness of the program and make adjustments based on what we learn. So far, the student response has been incredible. The ESP students, instructors and counselors are genuinely excited about participating in this new program.”

The Express to Success Program is funded through a $3 million federal Title V grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions that SBCC was awarded last fall. The goal of the grant is to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who progress through developmental math and English and complete their degree or transfer requirements. The grant is the single largest in the college’s history and will be paid over five years.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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