Consortium will expand class offerings in districts and add services that prepare students for college

The Oregon Education Investment Board and the Oregon Department of Education announced that Portland Community College has been awarded a $445,000 grant for its Oregon Metro Connects All Students to College Consortium.

With the new funds, this partnership aims to expand the dual-credit offerings in local school districts and add services that prepare students for college.

The consortium, led by PCC, consists of Mt. Hood Community College, Portland State University, the Multnomah Education Service District as well as the Beaverton, Centennial, David Douglas, Forest Grove, Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, Parkrose, Portland and Reynolds school districts.

“Ensuring the college success and career readiness of Oregon students is all of our responsibility,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, interim Sylvania campus president and co-project director with the consortium. “We are very excited to be undertaking this work with our Washington and Multnomah county K through 12 school district partners, along with Mt. Hood, PSU and the Multnomah ESD.

"This is the type of large-scale collaboration necessary to truly move the dial for our youth and our state.”

The consortium of education partners aims to use the grant to expand dual-credit offerings in math and college success courses so students can:

• Earn college credit while still in high school;

• Create transfer degree maps to decrease time to degree completion by aligning degree requirements;

• Establish professional learning communities to improve college access between high schools, the educational service district, community colleges and universities;

• Create a “College Going Culture Workgroup” to serve populations that historically attend college at a low rate to help them see college as a viable option; and

• Form a Regional Resource Network for students and their families to support their college objectives.

With the funding, Oregon Metro Connects All Students to College Consortium’s goals for the 2014-15 school year include certifying an additional 65 teachers to teach dual-credit math and college success courses; have nearly 80 district, college, university and ESD employees participate in professional learning communities; enable 2,200 high school students to earn dual credit in math and college success offerings; add about 6,400 dual credits for high school students in math and college success courses; and engage more students and their families in services and activities.

“Community colleges increasingly have access to research-based effective practices to help students transition effectively from high school to college, and avoid the loss of time and motivation that can occur as a result of falling behind in math,” Ryslinge said. “We are excited to work with our partner to extend and leverage work that is already occurring to help build a true college-going culture in Oregon, starting in middle school and even earlier.”

The grant is one of three that were awarded by the Oregon Education Investment Board and Department of Education to statewide education consortiums ranging from $445,000 to $500,000.

The board is led by Gov. John Kitzhaber and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a seamless, unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college and career.

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