CPE College Readiness Initiatives Unified Strategy: Increase accelerated learning opportunities for all Kentucky students.

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1 CPE College Readiness Initiatives Unified Strategy: Increase accelerated learning opportunities for all Kentucky students. INTRODUCTION 1 P age 1. Objectives and Activities Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) is Kentucky s second largest two-year college with over 12,000 students. The main campus is located in Lexington and the college has six branches in the central region of Kentucky. BCTC offers a broad range of educational programs including associate degrees, technical education, and workforce training. The college serves a high number of students who are low income; and more than 60% of its students would be the first generation of their family to earn a postsecondary degree. It is one of sixteen colleges throughout the state that comprise the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). BCTC is the designated provider of adult education services for Fayette County. This program serves over 1900 students per year in Adult Literacy, Adult Basic Education, GED Preparation, Corrections and English as a Second Language classes, awarding more than 250 GED certificates per year. REGIONAL NEEDS More than seventeen percent (17%) of Fayette County s population approximately 49,376 people lives below the poverty level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Child poverty rates are also compelling, with 19 percent or 11,814 children living in poverty in Fayette County (Kentucky Kids Count, 2010). Fayette County has also been impacted by a fast-growing Hispanic population 66 percent growth from 2000 to 2006 (U.S. Census Bureau). High school completion rates and college-going rates are significantly lower among Hispanic students (National Center for Education Statistics). The link between higher educational attainment and increased earnings has been well-established, supporting the need for improved education services in this area. The National Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2018 over 60% of available jobs will require some postsecondary education (Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Center on Education and the Workforce, 2010). Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show high growth in jobs requiring Associate s degree, as well as those requiring a postsecondary vocational credential. There is growing need for improved pathways from Adult Education (AE) to credentials of value in the labor market. Few low-skilled learners, especially those without a high school credential, raise their skill levels significantly or transition to postsecondary training programs from AE. There are many barriers to advancement for this population.

2 Low-income students are challenged to find adequate sources of financial aid to pursue higher education. They tend to have little or no expendable income and often work one or more jobs while in college, leaving less time to study and meet class requirements. In addition, BCTC is serving a growing number of adults who are displaced workers due to factory closings and layoffs. Many of these are first generation students who do not have education beyond high school and never expected to attend college. These students often lack the resources and preparation to be the first in their family to achieve a college degree; and are less likely to receive family support for their educational aspirations. They are often uninformed about financial aid and the benefits of attending college, and have not been exposed to a college environment. Adult Education students who do enroll in college are likely to have remedial needs in math, reading, and English. Approximately 48% of incoming BCTC students show a need for remediation; the percentage increases to 73% of BCTC students who are low-income, as determined by eligibility for Pell grants. Many of these students do not complete their first semester of coursework only 63% pass their first developmental math course and 67% pass their developmental English course (KCTCS Office of Research). These underprepared students are less likely to be retained for a second year and are twice as likely to drop out of college. Additionally, there are institutional factors that inhibit pathways from Adult Education to postsecondary education. Historically, the AE program was disconnected from the for credit side of a college and operated under a different funding source, performance goals, data systems, and reporting requirements. In 2010, BCTC re-aligned its AE program to become part of the Academic Affairs division and strengthen connections with college-level coursework. ACCELERATING OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVE BCTC has recently been selected as a pilot college in the statewide Accelerating Opportunity initiative being led by KCTCS. Kentucky was one of 11 states that recently received a $200,000 grant as part of Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative. KCTCS s statewide vision for the Accelerating Opportunity initiative is to implement a collaborative career pathways model that prepares students to be college and career ready. It is designed to help adults get the credentials and skills they need to succeed in family-sustaining jobs. BCTC is modeling its Accelerating Opportunity project on Washington State s I-BEST program that has served as a model for promising practices in accelerated learning and contextualized learning. The Community College Research Center has performed multiple studies on the impact of I-BEST, indicating that accelerated, integrated instructional models have positive results for lower-skilled learners. The I-BEST students moved through college-level work further and faster, and were more likely than others to continue into credit-bearing coursework and earn occupational certificates. Critical elements in the I-BEST model include academic and social student supports as well as dual enrollment in paired courses adult education along with college-level programs. The integration of basic skills and work-related training is a core element in the program s documented successes. 2 P age

3 OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES GOAL: To improve educational attainment of Adult Education students through accelerated learning opportunities. Objective 1. Align pathways models that make it easier for students to both improve their academic skills and earn marketable credentials. Activity 1.1. Improve instructional practices to integrate basic skills and college-level coursework. Activity 1.2. Provide students with access to innovative curricula and delivery approaches utilizing technology. Objective 2. Offer support services to overcome barriers to participation in postsecondary education. Activity 2.1. Provide tutoring and supplemental learning supports to boost academic achievement. Activity 2.2. Offer assistance with tuition, transportation, child care, financial, and other nonacademic needs that hinder student participation. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES Activity 1.1. Improve instructional practices to integrate basic skills and college-level coursework. Student cohorts will attend full-time classes that are taught by both adult education instructors and technical faculty as a team. An accelerated, contextualized hybrid curriculum will be utilized so that participants will be able to earn both a GED and stackable postsecondary creditbearing certificates. It should be noted that some participants may have earned a GED or high school diploma but still are assessed to have remedial needs. These students will also be eligible for the program and benefit from accelerated learning through remedial coursework and creditbearing coursework. New cohorts will start several times per year. BCTC s local planning team for Accelerating Opportunity has selected Office Systems Technology and Construction Technology as the two career pathways to focus on in the initial implementation phase. These are occupations that pay a family-supporting wage and have career advancement ladders starting below the level of a two-year degree. These career paths can begin with AE or ESL and continue to a one-year college-level certificate and beyond. An example of how this will work within the Construction Technology pathway: Students will earn their first certificate as Basic Carpenter with 9 credit hours. The next step in the stackable pathway will be to earn a certificate as Carpenter Helper with 8 additional credit hours. The Accelerating Opportunity program will have basic skills (math, reading, and writing) contextualized around the basic construction skills. Upon completion of this, the student qualifies for the first level construction certificate and at the same time has developed the skills necessary in math, reading, and writing to move on to the next certificate. 3 P age

4 Activity 1.2. Provide students with access to innovative curricula and delivery approaches utilizing technology. The shift to contextualized curricula and accelerated learning will rely heavily on the use of technology. The use of computers is integral for jobs in today s environment. Many adult learners who lack basic academic skills are also lacking in computer skills. Their exposure to computers may have been limited in previous job and educational settings. The Accelerating Opportunity program will utilize computers and smart classroom equipment to facilitate learning. A new computer lab will be equipped for program participants, with extended hours available for practice and study. Classes will include on-line components, and supplemental learning opportunities will be offered on-line as well. Smart classroom technology such as a sympodium and projector will enable instructors to use audiovisual instructional materials such as streaming video and DVDs. Multimedia in the classroom allows students to view concepts that are difficult to explain and visualize via traditional classroom methodology. Technology-enhanced instruction has been shown to advance pedagogical outcomes such as transfer of learning, retention of concepts, and student interest. Daily use of technology will help adult learners to build familiarity and expertise in the use of computers. Activity 2.1. Provide tutoring and supplemental learning supports to boost academic achievement. Specialized tutoring assistance will be available for at least five hours per week to provide students with individualized help in mastering course content. Tutors will receive training in the unique aspects of the Accelerating Opportunity program. Activity 2.2. Offer assistance with tuition, books, transportation, child care, financial, and other non-academic needs that hinder student participation. Many adult learners have failed to complete high school or participate in postsecondary education due to numerous barriers that hinder their ability to devote time and resources to their education. They may have a family to support and lack the time or financial ability to go back to school for a year or more to earn a credential. Students who do not have a GED or high school diploma are not eligible for Pell grants which further limits their financial resources for education. The Accelerating Opportunity program is targeted to adult learners, and the accelerated format is intended to reduce time to completion and therefore require less investment of time and money for the participants. BCTC is requesting a pool of funds to be used to assist students with extenuating circumstances. Students will be required to fill out an application for assistance and funds will be paid directly to providers whenever possible (i.e. bus vouchers, bookstore vouchers, tuition payments). The amount of funding to be provided will be determined by the Accelerating Opportunity Coordinator, Adult Education Director, and the Dean of Academic Support with oversight from the Director of Grants. 4 P age

5 EXPECTED OUTCOMES The year 2012 will be the first year of the Accelerating Opportunity project. During this first year the expected outcomes are: students will be enrolled in accelerated classes with integrated pathways students will earn at least one industry-recognized certificate. 3. Students will earn at least 9 credit hours when they achieve an industry-recognized certificate. The certificates that will be offered in the integrated pathways are: - Data Entry Operator and Receptionist (Office Systems Technology pathway) - Basic Carpenter and Carpenter Helper (Construction Technology pathway) 5 P age 2. Collaboration The Accelerating Opportunity initiative at BCTC has been planned with guidance and leadership from the ABE to Credentials team at Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and Kentucky Adult Education offices are also partners in this initiative. BCTC s internal planning team is being led by Dr. Greg Feeney, Dean of Academic Support. Key members of the planning team are David Sturgill, Director of Adult Education for Fayette County; Jenny Jones, Assistant Dean of Business Division (includes Office Systems Technology); and Mike McMillen, Assistant Dean of Trades and Technologies (includes Construction Technology). Other faculty/staff consulted in the development of this project include Vice-President of Academics, Academic Dean, Vice-President of Student Development, and Director of Admissions. Jennifer Compton, Associate Director of the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board, participated as a member of BCTC s planning team from an external agency. 3. Resources and Capacity BCTC has made a substantial commitment to the Accelerating Opportunity initiative led by KCTCS. BCTC has agreed to be one of the pilot colleges to implement this program in the academic year. This is a large-scale effort that will fundamentally change the way adult education is delivered in our state. It is based on Washington State s I-BEST program that is a nationally recognized model for promising practices in accelerated learning and contextualized learning. A full-time Coordinator for the Accelerating Opportunity program is being hired at BCTC in November KCTCS will fund this position for three years, and BCTC is committing the time of both technical faculty members and adult education instructors to carry out the program. BCTC is designating a classroom on its Leestown campus for this new program and will provide 10 computers through its academic division. Other funds are being sought to equip the classroom with multi-media smart classroom technology and additional computers.

6 KYAE-approved assessment tools such as the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) will be used to measure student progress in reading comprehension, mathematics computation, applied mathematics and language skills. The progress of the Accelerating Opportunity program will be assessed and reviewed on a regular basis. Annual targets are being set for number of students served, courses offered, credentials completed, credits completed, and student retention. BCTC s Institutional Research Office has been involved in planning and will assist in gathering and analyzing data for impact evaluations. Plans to sustain this initiative are being incorporated in the planning and implementation phases at both the local and state level. After the initial outlay for equipment and instructional changes, it is expected that existing funding sources will be adapted to support accelerated learning opportunities with proven results. Private funding sources will also be tapped to provide the support services needed to facilitate students access and success in this program. Grant request: 4. Budget $10,000 Desktop computers for Accelerating Opportunity classroom $1,000 (BCTC to purchase additional 10 computers to complete the lab) $ 7,000 Smart classroom equipment for multi-media instruction in Accelerating Opportunity classroom sympodium, LCD projector with mount, laptop computer and control monitor, locking cabinet. $ 3,000 Tutors for supplemental learning sessions 5 $11 per hour for 48 weeks with 8.62% FICA $10,000 Tuition and support services for students to include books, transportation, child care. $30,000 Total grant request 5. Timeline The Accelerating Opportunity Coordinator for BCTC is to be hired in November Program implementation will begin in January 2012 with the first combined adult education/college-level classes being offered. Through the first year (January December 2012) a total of 12 student cohorts will be formed and started at varying schedules as listed on the timeline on the following page: 6 P age

7 Industry Sector Credential Credit Hours Start Date Office Systems Technology Data Entry Operator 9 credit hours January March May Office Systems Technology Receptionist 6 additional credit hours (total of 15 hours) March May October Construction Technology Basic Carpenter 9 credit hours March Construction Technology Carpenter Helper 8 additional credit hours (total of 17 hours) October 7 P age

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