Achieving the Dream (ATD) post #4
From Vicki Coffee:
Looking through the lenses of Achieving the Dream.
I was watching the Tour De France race and to the average eye, it looked as if all things were equal. Every athlete had access to the race, a bicycle, and an opportunity to be successful. The rider’s determination would decide who wins or finishes. The truth is, every aspect of the race is calculated, based on data, to increase the chances of victory.
Instantly, I thought of the valuable training received at the Achieving the Dream conference and the students who ambitiously grace the campus every semester. ATD demonstrated how obtaining institutional data will increase student success and close the achievement gaps. ATD tracks students according to multiple variables which allows the college to focus on being proactive in meeting the student needs.
To be competitive in the Tour de France, data is collected, analyzed and adjusted for the individual rider. A team of experts review the variables, such as the experience of the rider, road, wind, weight of the bicycle, and terrain. A game plan is established specifically for the individual rider, coupled with his determination, if the formula for success. This analogy reflects the attributes of “equity” according to Achieving the Dream standards. Likewise, our efforts must be as deliberate as the experts to ensure that we are treating all students with equity to increase their chance for graduation.
Bakersfield College has been great at providing access, equality and education to students. ATD will assist Bakersfield College in preparing all students to cross the academic finish line and achieve his or her dream. I’m happy to be part of the ATD team.
What I like most about out district’s and colleges’ involvement in Achieving the Dream is that it provides a mechanism for us to focus on getting the data so that we can better assist our students in completing their educational goals. Important to me is the understanding that these changes (whatever they turn out to be) are expected to be expanded (inherent scalability). In this way, our campuses will be built on a foundation of principles that we live on the large scale, not boutique courses or projects that come and go with grant monies.
From the team meetings at the conference in Orlando, it’s easy to see that we are already involved in projects that aim to bridge the gap so that a greater percentage of our struggling students complete their goals. Before we begin targeting the interventions that are likely to assist the most students, we need to first find out what the greatest barriers are–and for that we will examine the data already collected (CCSSE, etc) and data that has been disaggregated. Our IR people will be instrumental, as will all staff’s ability to have access to this information. This ATD path is a good one for us to be on.