By Amy Matthew, Pueblo Community College

Original story published on the Pueblo Community College website.

The Gateway to College program at Pueblo Community College was recognized nationally for exceeding all key benchmarks for the 2020-21 academic year.

Gateway to College, part of the Achieving the Dream network, is for students ages 17-20 who have not had success in other learning environments. They are able to earn a high school diploma, not a GED, from their home district while simultaneously earning college credit. The program covers the cost of tuition and books.

PCC exceeded the benchmarks for first-term success, one-year persistence, two-year persistence and graduation. The college works with eight Colorado school districts and offers the Gateway program at its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses. There were 120 students enrolled during the 2020-21 school year and 52 will graduate in May.

“The program works because it is so unique and it is not a stand-alone type of program,” said Jeanelle Soto-Quintana, director of PCC’s Gateway program. “It is strengthened by its partnerships with the districts, the college, the national network, the amazing staff that choose to work with our kids and, of course, our resilient and intelligent students.”

In 2020-21, 91 percent of PCC’s Gateway students passed all of their first-term courses, compared to a 50 percent network average. One-year persistence was 92 percent; GTC’s benchmark is 65.5 percent. Two-year persistence was 72 percent compared to a 61 percent benchmark. The graduation rate of 72 percent was well above the 50 percent benchmark.

PCC’s Gateway students earned an average first-term GPA of 3.16 compared to a network average of 2.66. In addition, PCC Gateway graduates have an average of 24.7 college credits when they graduate.

“Our network’s continued improvement is due to exemplary programs like yours and your outcomes will have an impact well beyond your community,” Nick Mathern, executive director of K-12 partnerships for Achieving the Dream, said in a press release. “Your work is changing lives and we are proud to learn from you and hold your program up as an example for educators across the country.”

Achieving the Dream will formally recognize PCC in June at the K-12 Partnerships Institute in Portland, Ore.