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'Step:Forward' effort aims to improve student success in community colleges

On Thursday the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges unveiled the new Step:Forward campaign – an awareness effort and Web site that encourages students to adopt successful behaviors to increase the likelihood they will achieve their educational and career goals.

The Step:Forward campaign was created to help raise awareness and increase momentum in the effort to improve student success in the California Community Colleges system.

Specifically, the campaign aims to help current and incoming students understand the new requirements around priority registration.

This project was funded through an $845,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation, a private organization that works to create opportunities for low-income individuals and improve communities nationwide.

“The Step:Forward campaign and Web site will serve as a valuable resource for students at all 112 community colleges, with a focus on helping students make a better start in their college careers,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “Step:Forward is part of our Student Success Initiative, which is transforming the way colleges are supporting students throughout the system by providing more structure and guidance to encourage better choices and increase a student’s probability of reaching their goal – whether it be earning a two-year degree, transferring to a four-year university or receiving a career technical education certificate.”

The new priority registration system will help students progress toward meeting individual educational goals while being rewarded with priority enrollment into courses.

Students must complete three steps to receive priority enrollment status: participate in orientation, complete the assessment process, and develop an education plan with a counselor or advisor.

For students, these three steps not only allow them to get the courses they need, but also help them understand their path through college from start to finish.

“When you complete these steps – orientation, assessment, and an education plan—you have a greater understanding of what you’re going to have to go through to achieve your goal, and that’s really what it’s about,” said student Luis Carlos Alvarez, who studied physics at the College of San Mateo. “These steps are about completing your goals.”

The Step:Forward Web site is integrated with CCCApply, a registration tool that is used by most students enrolling in a California community college, allowing it to provide college-specific resources such as campus maps and contacts for counselors and advisors. Students can also take advantage of a responsive online assessment quiz that helps them determine whether they need to take college assessments.

The second component of this project is a statewide awareness campaign that will provide colleges with resources such as brochures, posters, and other materials to help support the colleges in sharing this information with their students.

“We are proud to work with the Chancellor’s Office and The Kresge Foundation to help better prepare California’s students to succeed in community college,” added Keetha Mills, Foundation for California Community Colleges president and chief executive officer. “Too many students fail to reach their educational goals, and the Step:Forward Campaign will help students understand the steps they need to make a strong start.”

The Student Success Priorities Project is part of the Foundation's larger efforts to champion and support the California Community Colleges Student Success Initiative, which aims to improve the educational outcomes of students and the workforce preparedness of the state.

Launched in 2012 by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the Student Success Initiative is based on a set of 22 recommendations put forth in the Student Success Task Force Report, compiled by an independent group of academic and administrative practitioners, researchers, and educational policy leaders. These recommendations now serve as a guiding policy for the system.

To learn more, visit www.stepforward.cccco.edu .

 

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