Community Colleges of Spokane was recently awarded two grants from College Spark Washington. CCS received $103,687 to expand a pilot program that will assist degree-seeking students at both Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College to complete their first college-level math course within one year of enrollment.
The math Academic I-BEST Program is a co-remediation program that integrates pre-college and college-level math coursework enabling students who do not initially place into college-level math to earn college-level math credits while also completing pre-college course requirements. Students participating in the Academic I-BEST model benefit from the team-teaching modality, the contextualized courses leading to shared outcomes and the strong wrap-around supports. Students who enroll in the math Academic I-Best Program accelerate progress towards their academic goals as they gain college-level math competencies during critical gateway quarters for degree completion.
SFCC began the pilot course during the 2017-18 academic year and has seen increased success in students successfully completing college-level math. The College Spark grant will increase the program to serve a total of 300 students in three years across the district.
CCS also received $149,997 for collaboration with local high schools to develop strategies and tools designed to place high school graduates into math courses based on high school performance measures rather than relying on placement tests given after admission. Both colleges hope to increase the number of students who place directly into college math by using a high school performance based placement. The revised placement approach consistently applied at both Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College is also expected to streamline and improve placement procedures for first-time students, as well as provide more effective communication and student placement supports for high school partners.
“These grants build on important ongoing work at each of our institutions in the areas of placement and developmental math. College Spark funds will provide an opportunity to help more students reach their academic goals more efficiently, which will be a significant accomplishment for both the colleges themselves and the students we serve,” said Charlie Potter, Interim Assistant Dean of Arts & Sciences at SCC.
CCS received two of 12 grants awarded in the state. The annual, competitive statewide Community Grants Program focuses on building the effectiveness of grantees working with low-income students in middle school, high school and college by funding new and promising practices that help students become college-ready and transition successfully to college.
“Even though most living-wage jobs require a college degree or credential, far too many Washington students either don’t have the opportunity to go to college or face daunting challenges when they get there,” said Christine McCabe, Executive Director at College Spark. “These programs were selected because they have the potential to improve persistence and completion rates for low-income students, leveling the playing field for social mobility.”
Jim Brady, Dean of Computing, Math and Sciences at SFCC, describes the impact of the grant funding at CCS in this way, “On their own, each of these grants has the potential to have a real impact on success in mathematics in our region through the improvement of placement practices and through acceleration opportunities in developmental mathematics. It is also very important and praiseworthy to note that each grant award represents a collaborative initiative by SCC and SFCC.”
For more information about Community Colleges of Spokane’s grant partnerships, please contact the Office of Grants & Sponsored Research at 509-434-5160.