December 3, 2015

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Shared Blog Post: Bridging the Gap Between K-12 and Community College

This blog post originally appeared in the Hobson's Education Blog, Education Advances, on November 19, 2015. It was penned by Stephen M. Smith, President, Advising & Admissions Solutions.
Community college serves as an important bridge between K-12 and higher education, as well as an important driver for workforce readiness and economic growth. However, despite these important roles community colleges play, we seldom talk about how to improve that transition between K-12 and community college to ensure more successful outcomes.


That’s why, earlier this year, Hobsons, in partnership with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) made a commitment to action at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to explore opportunities and challenges that exist in creating effective success bridges between K-12 and community college. Through this collaboration, Hobsons and AASA seek to identify critical barriers to success that students face as they transition from high school to community college and to equip both K-12 and community college administrators with tools and resources to meet their respective needs.


Today, we’re pleased to report some of the progress towards that commitment.


Earlier this summer, Hobsons and AASA, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), hosted a convening of school district superintendents and and community college presidents. The group discussed ways to address the issues of college access, readiness, persistence, and completion of a community college program or degree.


During the convening, attendees shared success stories, best practices, and innovative programs that are advancing effective practice in bridging K-12 and higher education.


Programs like the Gulf Coast PASS initiative in Texas are bringing together high schools and community colleges across the state to help increase college readiness among high school graduates, ease the transition between high school and community college, and increase student success in community college developmental courses.


The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is using support from the Kresge Foundation to partner with high schools to conduct academic “boot camps” to improve student performance in developmental education courses and move them through the courses more quickly.


And, the Missouri Innovation Campus is a progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) that allows students to take community college courses in high school, graduate with an associate’s degree, and be eligible to complete a bachelor’s degree from UCM in only two years.


Other initiatives in Texas, Washington, Arizona, New York, and Florida are also expanding pathways between K-12 and community college. For a deeper look at this work and other ways to move the needle to promote college access and success, download our convening report.


There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re proud to be a part of this conversation and to be fostering change in how K-12 districts work with their community college partners. We look forward to more progress in the near future.


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