STLCC Receives Gateway to College Grant

STLCC Receives Gateway to College Grant  

St. Louis Community College has received a $350,000 startup grant to become a Gateway to College replication site, a national drop-out recovery model developed by Portland Community College in Oregon.

The Gateway to College National Network is part of the Early College High School Initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Jobs for the Future, an action/research and policy organization that promotes innovation in education and workforce development, serves as the initiative's coordinating intermediary.

Gateway to College is designed for young adults ages 16 to 20 who dropped out of high school.  The program enables them to earn a high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate degree or certificate, and pays for student maintenance fees and books.

"The education system loses many students, particularly from low-income families, during the high school-to-college transition," said Marcia Pfeiffer, president of St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus.  "This program blends both high school and college-level work into a single academic program that we hope will challenge and inspire students to complete an associate's degree and beyond or prepare them for high-skill careers."

Along with funding from partner school districts, the grant will provide support staff and services for up to 350 students from the Hazelwood and Ferguson-Florissant school districts who left high school without a diploma.  Students must meet specific criteria for entrance into the program and will be dually enrolled at Florissant Valley until they complete their high school diploma or reach the age of 21.

"Our mission is high achievement for every child we serve," said Jeffrey R. Spiegel, superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District. "We are proud to be a partner in such an innovative program that helps young people continue their education."

Blaine Henningsen, assistant superintendent of the Hazelwood School District, concurred.  "The Hazelwood School District is extremely excited to be a partner in this program. We see this as a natural extension of the programs we already have in place with Florissant Valley.  By providing this opportunity to the young people of our community, we not only give them a second chance to meet their educational needs, we give them hope for the future."

Since 2002, the 13 partner organizations of the Early College High School Initiative have started or redesigned 160 schools in 24 states.  The partners ultimately will open about 250 schools, annually serving more than 100,000 students.

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