Montgomery College has been selected to participate in Achieving the Dream’s (ATD) National Reform Network, joining more than 215 community colleges across the country in advancing student success and closing the achievement gap.

“The two words that resonate with me are student success,” said Shinta Hernandez, professor of sociology. “I know that when students succeed in their personal and professional lives, our communities, our families, and other social institutions in our society will also benefit.”

Achieving the Dream is a national non-governmental reform network dedicated to community college student success and completion, particularly for low-income students and students of color.

“I am very proud that the College has been selected to participate in the Achieving the Dream Network,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College. “Our selection speaks volumes about the urgency and creativity with which we have been approaching the challenges of student achievement. We look forward to working closely with the coaches from ATD and improving our processes for maximizing student potential.”

Guided by a collegewide strategic plan that sets benchmarks for student success regardless of race, ethnicity, or skills upon entry, Montgomery College is engaged in many initiatives that support the national and state completion agenda including Achieving College Excellence and Success (ACES), a collaboration among Montgomery County Public Schools, the Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery College to support students and provide a seamless path from high school to a bachelor’s degree.

Each campus also has academic learning support centers providing tutoring to bolster students’ skills in reading, writing, math, science, language acquisition, and other disciplines. Other student success initiatives include: “On-RAMP to STEM,” a program funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the number and diversity of students from underrepresented groups in biotechnology and mathematics; and the Student Campaign, a student-driven initiative helping students become co-agents of their own success and their peers’ success; and many more.

Achieving the Dream, using the collective expertise and resources of its network of more than 200 colleges, 100 advisors, and state policy teams, is based on a practitioner-and-researched-informed theory of institutional improvement.

“Our College embraces and shares Achieving the Dream’s commitment to building and sustaining a ‘culture of evidence,’ one that helps an institution increase its capacity to obtain, analyze and use data in ways that not only identify barriers to student success, but subsequently leads to developing and implementing successful strategies to mitigate those barriers,” said Marsha Suggs Smith, chair of the Montgomery College Board of Trustees.

To be accepted, participants must demonstrate an institution-wide commitment to take bold action to enhance the student experience with the goal of increasing student outcomes. The three-year minimum commitment begins with an official kickoff event in June.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.

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