Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree.
Who We Are:
Porterville College is located in the San Joaquin Valley in Tulare County, in the eastern part of California's Central Valley. The College provides academic services to approximately 4,300 students and offers a wide range of educational programs that lead to Associate degrees, certificates, or transfer opportunities.The town of Porterville is a blue-collar community that lies at the base of the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Tule River and has a population of approximately 54,000.
In 2013, Porterville College became an Achieving the Dream Participating Institution. The campus is increasing the focus on the importance of connections across the community to break down silos and link educational and workforce development services. Achieving the Dream is providing an integrated approach to address transitional barriers and pathway development to foster student success and community access to career readiness support services.
How We Work:
Achieving the Dream is based on the premise that to improve student success on a substantial scale, colleges must fundamentally change the way they operate. This “Year of Inquiry “is focused on creating a culture of evidence in which data and inquiry drive broad-based institutional efforts to close achievement gaps and improve student outcomes overall.
The following elements are essential to closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success:
- Committed Leadership -Actively support efforts to improve student success and a willingness to make changes in policies, programs, and resources.
- Evidence to Improve Policies, Programs & Services - Establish processes to use data to identify achievement gaps, formulate strategies to address the gaps identified, and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies.
- Broad Engagement - Shared responsibility for student success by seeking information from surveys, focus groups, and/or advisory councils.
- Systemic Institutional Improvement - Regularly evaluate academic programs and services.
- Equity - Provide an educational environment where all students have the best opportunities to succeed.
Student Success Strategies:
The Student Success Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 1456, Lowenthal), signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2012, provides a foundation to implement several recommendations from the Student Success Task Force. Porterville College's has welcomed the continuing frank examination of how to better serve students and the community. Efforts are ongoing to integrate the student success recommendations in a campus-wide coordinated manner. Additionally, through participation with Achieving the Dream, the college is focused on promoting institutional changes that enhance student learning and success.
2013 - Present
- Working Students Success Network (WSSN): Progress, Campus Profiles, and Preliminary Lessons
- Background on the WSSN
- Job Opportunities
- Child Development Center: Enrichment Program
- Community Resource Center
What are We Doing
With students as our focus, Porterville College provides our local and diverse communities educational experiences that foster intellectual curiosity and growth, lifelong learning, and prepares our students for personal and academic success. In support of our values and philosophy, Porterville College:
- Provides quality academic programs to all students who are capable of benefiting from community college instruction.
- Provides comprehensive support services to help students achieve their personal, vocational and academic potential.
- Prepares students for transfer and success at four-year institutions.
- Provides courses and training to prepare students for employment or to enhance skills within their current careers.
- Provides developmental education to students who need to enhance their knowledge and understanding of basic skills.
- Recognizes student achievement through awarding degrees, certificates, grants, and scholarships.
The richness of diversity both demands and invites a dedication to a dynamic educational environment that is accessible and fosters the success of all students. The following support services address the diverse needs of the Porterville and surrounding areas.
- Job, Entrepreneur, and Career Center - The JEC Center at Porterville College collaborates with Student Services and community partners to minimize the economic, academic, and social barriers that impede a student's successful transition into a community college and/or the workforce. Educational Advisors conduct campus workshops, provide off-campus seminars, and one-on-one student service. Assistance is available with academic/educational planning, career readiness, financial literacy, and small business development (entrepreneurship).
- Presidential Leadership Program Pilot - The Presidential Leadership Program is being offered to a limited number of developmental students. During the course of the program, students participate in JEC/Student Services workshops (self-management, finance/financial, health & wellness, career planning and financial aid) and cultural/campus events. Students are required to meet with an education advisor monthly. This program helps students develop and apply their unique leadership skills while receiving wrap-around services. PC's counselors and advisors are almost like surrogate family members, providing the support and guidance the community needs to build confidence in their ability to navigate the system and succeed in college.
- Veteran's Education - Porterville College is approved for the education of veterans eligible for educational benefits. As such, it will qualify veterans in attendance to obtain education subsidy and subsistence benefits under either federal or state laws. The College maintains contact with both the Veteran's Administration and the California Veteran's Affairs Office and will make arrangements for the service of veterans' guidance centers and for interviews between the veterans and representatives of veterans' agencies.
- Wellness Center - The remodeled Wellness Center provides the community access to services/classes that promote physical, emotional, and social well-being. Also, the Wellness Center offers care services that address student health-related needs.
- Early Alert - Early Alert provides the opportunity for faculty to identify students with academic and performance difficulties. First of all, the faculty needs to immediately send out an Early Alert email. This email will go to the student and the Early Alert counselor. Once the student receives the referral, the instructor will meet with the student. This is followed by the counseling intervention. The main benefit students receive is that after being referred, the student will immediately receive counseling assistance. The counselor will discuss the concerns affecting the student's academic progress. The counselor provides information and counseling services based on the student's needs and makes sure to refer the student to other campus support services. Students are referred throughout the semester as a way to assist them and make sure they receive the services they need to be successful.
- Supplemental Instructor (SI) Leaders - SI leaders are students who have succeeded in a particular instructor's course and come back to model that behavior for other students. The instructor chooses the SI leader and then the following semester, the SI leader attends all the classes, holds study sessions, meets with the instructor and SI coordinator, and goes to SI leader training and meetings. Their purpose is to show students how they succeeded in a particular instructor's class by modeling study habits and leading study sessions.