College Spark Washington along with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges today awarded South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) a grant of $500,000 over five years to develop a Guided Pathways program. Guided Pathways aims to support low-income students and students of color by helping community colleges develop clear paths to certificates, transfer degrees, or careers.
College Spark Washington stated that it selected SPSCC because of the college’s commitment to student success and closing achievement gaps. “SPSCC faculty and staff have been working hard for several years to identify and implement research-based practices that increase student success,” said SPSCC Vice President of Instruction Michelle Andreas. SPSCC is one of five pilot colleges to receive this funding; eighteen colleges applied.
“At many community colleges, students are provided with insufficient clarity on how to navigate a path,” said College Spark Washington. “The Guided Pathways Initiative aims to address this issue by reducing and simplifying the number of choices about course selection a student must make, informing and supporting those choices, and directing students into an intentional, comprehensive program of study within one or two terms.”
SPSCC will receive $100,000 per year for five years to further develop the work that College Spark Washington has praised. One of the college’s praised efforts is a pilot pathways program that intentionally drapes themes across different types of classes. Makenzie Earlywine, a student in SPSCC’s pilot program, said, “It’s a really great way to learn with the same classmates and the same themes. It makes it a whole lot easier to learn because you’re hearing it more than once in different classes.”
“The College Spark Washington grant will allow us to take the lessons learned from our pilot [pathways] program and devote time and financial resources to implement the model for all students at SPSCC,” added Andreas. SPSCC foresees tremendous growth opportunities as a result of the funding the college will receive through 2021.