Press Release

Achieving the Dream to Enhance Coaching Services with $1 Million Great Lakes Grant

September 15, 2016


Madison, Wis., September 15, 2016—During the past 12 years, Achieving the Dream (ATD) has grown to become the nation's largest non-governmental community college reform network, serving more than 200 colleges in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Through coaching and strategic planning services, ATD helps its network colleges build capacity for institutional transformation and implement policies and practices that improve success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color.

With a three-year, $1 million grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, ATD is now prepared for the next generation of reform work. ATD will restructure its coaching model to integrate a new assessment tool, update its coach training and development, and actively seek feedback from colleges evaluating ATD's services. With these enhancements, ATD will deliver more personalized consulting to help community colleges across the country apply even more impactful reforms so greater numbers of their students earn degrees and credentials.

"The Great Lakes grant will allow for a more strategic and customized deployment of our coaching services, to meet colleges where they are in their reform work," said Karen A. Stout, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achieving the Dream.

ATD guides organizational change based on a comprehensive institutional capacity framework. The latest applied research and more than a decade of experience have informed the evolution of this framework to include seven essential capacities that must be in place for colleges to create and sustain a culture of student success. The areas are: Leadership and Vision, Data and Technology, Equity, Teaching and Learning, Engagement and Communication, Strategy and Planning, and Policies and Practices.

ATD will use the Great Lakes funds to restructure its coach training and development curricula to align with the seven capacities. Leadership and data coaches will focus on each capacity with a customized approach that meets the particular needs of an individual community college. Coaches will help colleges set goals and measure progress, connect to rich resources and subject matter experts, develop priorities and action plans, and leverage and analyze institutional data. ATD also will develop an evaluation process to solicit direct feedback from the colleges on the effectiveness of its new coaching model.

"Great Lakes and Achieving the Dream share a commitment to improving community college retention and completion rates, particularly for traditionally underserved students," said Richard D. George, Great Lakes' President and Chief Executive Officer. "We're pleased to support the evolution of ATD coaching to better serve colleges nationwide that are seeking to close achievement gaps and increase degree attainment."

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