New Legislation Opens Door for Struggling Students to Access College

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Earlier in the month, California Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 288, which correctly suggests that dual-enrollment in college courses can be an effective intervention for youth at risk of dropping out of high school. Introduced by Chris Holden of Pasadena, this legislation fosters the development of College and Career Access Pathways partnerships. The new law addresses dual enrollment for high school students, an existing but still under-utilized strategy in California. In calling for the creation of new partnerships between community colleges and school districts, AB 288 does two important things for California students: it eases current restrictions and it challenges communities to broaden dual enrollment opportunities. It eases restrictions on dual enrollment so students participating in College and Career Access Pathways can enroll in up to 15 credits, or four college courses per semester, at no cost (currently, students are limited to 11 credits). This is a benefit to students enrolled in college-based early college programs, as it can increase their progress toward high school graduation as well as their ability to complete more post-secondary credits by the time they earn a diploma. 

What may be even more important about AB 288 is its language that challenges colleges and school districts to use dual enrollment in order to serve the most vulnerable students: Dual enrollment has historically targeted high-achieving students; however, increasingly, educators and policymakers are looking toward dual enrollment as a strategy to help students who struggle academically or who are at risk of dropping out.” (AB 288, 2015) Because dual enrollment has the greatest net benefit for students who would have otherwise not made the transition to postsecondary education, this language has potential to prompt the creation of many more transformative programs for off-track and out-of-school youth in California. “California should rethink its policies governing dual enrollment, and establish a policy framework under which school districts and community college districts could create dual enrollment partnerships as one strategy to provide critical support for underachieving students…” (AB 288, 2015) 

We know that these partnerships will be effective, because a handful of communities have forged ahead. Gateway to College programs already serve previously out-of-school and off-track students in seven California communities. Developing additional College and Career Access Pathway partnerships will provide precisely the type of intervention needed to prepare off-track and out-of-school youth for success as they enter the workforce.

Over the past two years, California has made meaningful investments in educational equity (LCCF, and Student Success Act of 2012, and career and college readiness via the California Career Pathways Trust ( While AB 288 has a modest scope both fiscally and technically, it does take a critical step toward combining the equity agenda and career pathway agenda. The Assembly is correct that educators and policymakers are looking to the potential power of dual enrollment and it opens a door which many students, communities, and other states can and should walk through. 

Who Graduates? Who Drops Out? High School Graduation Rates and Opportunity

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Just 81% of young people who entered the 9th grade in 2009 graduated within four years. While this represents significant progress in raising the national graduation rate, there is still work to be done. About 1 out of 5 high school-aged students do not graduate on time. This equates to approximately 2.7 million 16 to 24 year-olds out of school and without a high school diploma. Among this student population are disproportionate numbers of students of color, economically disadvantaged youth, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency.

The high school diploma, while a vital step in earning an education, is not enough in today’s economy to ensure a self-sustaining career. For those who are unable to pursue education beyond earning their diploma, career opportunities are limited. The unemployment rate for individuals with only a diploma is nearly triple that of individuals who hold a Bachelor’s degree.

Gateway to College National Network partners with school districts, colleges, and communities to provide a pathway to a high school diploma and meaningful postsecondary credentials. Please join us in supporting Gateway students on this journey. Give Change, and give a second chance

Nudging Students Toward Success

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

By Devora Shamah

For adolescents, academics happen in between rushing to class, negotiating friendships, managing work shifts, sports o­r clubs, and ultimately figuring out how school fits into who you are now and who you want to become or avoid becoming. For students who have struggled academically, the busyness that is teen life can be even more challenging. Creating school environments that allow youth to shift their understanding of school away from prior and feared future failures and toward future successes requires addressing both academics and social emotional skills within a supportive school environment.

School environments that support students are built by instructors and administrators. Good instructors who are accessible and passionate about their subject matter are important, as are staff members who greet students by name and make it clear that they know students as individuals. Advisors who reach out to students who are falling short and notice the achievements of students who become successful contribute to a warm, supportive school environment as well. But, sometimes even the best faculty watch students struggle. Often the tendency is to assume these students are unmotivated, don’t care enough about their education, or are unwilling to take on a challenge. Fortunately, motivation and mindsets are malleable characteristics[i]. To support students in building motivation around school or a mindset that makes challenges appealing the answers lie not in the content, but in the larger classroom and campus environments. Brief interventions that shift mindsets, build motivation, or make failure a normative part of learning utilize decades of research to nudge students toward success.

Some (here and here) have critiqued these brief interventions as shortcuts and/or ways to ignore the effects of poverty, family responsibilities, or other barriers beyond a student’s control. It is absolutely true that a set of lessons on the neuroscience of learning, a workshop on new strategies for studying, or a set of activities to build motivation will not solve the societal issues of our time. And the critics are right to bring attention to bigger issues that create unnecessary struggles for students. However, young people cannot wait for society to solve inequality, racism, or inconsistent schools. They need ways to engage with their education today, so they have the opportunity to earn the meaningful credentials needed to achieve their goals, support their families, and take their place as contributing community members.

Interventions around growth mindset[ii]  and identity-based motivation[iii] are both examples of social-psychological interventions. Social-psychological interventions essentially work because they utilize what psychologists know about how we all make decisions, and they nudge youth to make small decisions that move them closer to success[iv]. These nudges help youth put education at the center of who they want to become instead of defining who they were, what Daphna Oyserman[v] refers to as an education-dependent identity. Oyserman notes, identity-based motivation interventions suggest a variety of motivational paths, each of which has the power to frame how students make sense of their experiences of ease and difficulty, whether they see current choices as connected to or irrelevant from their possible future selves, and whether they embrace strategies to get there or not.

We know many young people struggle with a host of challenges beyond their control: illness, mental health issues, poverty, parenting, and the list goes on. Implementing brief interventions of any kind won’t make these issues go away. However, social-psychological interventions have solid evidence behind them and improve outcomes[vi].  In concert with good teaching and supportive staff, social-psychological interventions are useful for students (and teachers) to increase motivation, think about learning, struggle with difficult problems, and ultimately help them make sense of their academic work.

At Gateway to College, students rarely attribute their struggles to the academic work or requirements. Tutoring, study groups, and excellent instructors are already in place at the community colleges Gateway to College students attend. What students do need in addition to their academic work is the opportunity to figure out why school matters to what they want to do, to build an identity as a successful student, and make all the small decisions that are necessary to keep them in school. Social-psychological interventions use the same psychology that marketers use.  If educators can harness the same power that gets us to the mall in order to help students skip the snooze button, do their homework instead of going out with friends, rework a challenging problem again, and attend study workshops on campus, more students will have the skills and support they need to achieve the degrees and credentials they aspire to.

Additional Reading

Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework

Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They’re Not Magic

Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’

Pathways to Success Through Identity-Based Motivation

[i] Covington, M. (2000). Goal theory, motivation, and school achievement: An integrative review. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 171–200.; Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.; Oyserman, D. (2009). Identity-based motivation: Implications for action-readiness, procedural-readiness, and consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19(3), 250–260.

[ii] Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

[iii] Oyserman, D. (2015). Pathways to success through identity-based motivation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[iv] Yeager, D. S., & Walton, G. M. (2011). Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They’re Not Magic. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267–301.

[v] Oyserman, D. (2015). Pathways to success through identity-based motivation. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

[vi] Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087–1101.; Dweck, C. S. (2007). The perils and promises of praise. Educational Leadership, 65(2), 34–39.; Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-Based Motivation: Implications for Intervention. The Counseling Psychologist.; Yeager, D. & Walton, G. (2011). Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They’re Not Magic. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267–301.; Yeager, D., Walton, G., & Cohen, G. (2013). Addressing achievement gaps with psychological Interventions. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(5), 62–65.

Gateway FAQ: Options for completing high school, GED, HiSET, and TASC

Monday, October 12, 2015

For young people who have dropped out of high school, it can be a challenge to reconnect to their educational pathway. However, there are options available in every community for completing a high school degree or an equivalency.

What options do I have to complete a high school degree or equivalency?

Gateway to College

If you’re interested in pursuing a postsecondary degree or credential, completing high school is the best option. Some young people will choose to re-enroll in high school through one of Gateway to College’s 41 programs. For others, a district-specific reengagement program in their area will allow them to complete their degree.

Equivalency Tests

The most common option, other than completing a high school diploma, is to take one of three equivalency tests – the GED, the HiSET, or the TASC. Prior to 2014, the GED was exclusive option for a high school equivalency. In 2014, the GED was significantly overhauled to meet Common Core Standards. It is now a more rigorous test than it was prior to 2014, and many states use one of the other two options. Currently, 40 states still offer the GED Test, 15 offer the HiSET, and 6 offer the TASC. Some states offer two options, and a few offer all three.

Since the revamped GED is still relatively recent, and results from the test are new, states have been changing which tests they offer. For the most up to date information, be sure to check with your state Department of Education prior to pursuing one of the three tests.

GED (General Equivalency Diploma)

Subject Areas Tested: Reasoning through language arts, Mathematical reasoning, Science, and Social studies

Question Types: Computer-based

Cost: Varies, but generally $80 plus $5 for each of the four tests

States offered in: GED is offered in 39 states.

HiSET (High School Equivalency Test)

Subject Areas Tested: Language Arts (Reading and Writing), Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics

Question Types: Computer-based or paper-based

Cost: Varies by state, but generally $50 to $65

States offered in: HiSET is the only option in Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. It is one of the options in Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming, and California (Long Beach and Los Angeles)

TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion)

Subject Areas Tested: Language Arts (Reading and Writing), Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics

Question Types: Computer-based or paper-based

Cost: Varies by state, but generally $52 to $65

States offered in: TASC is the only option in Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. It is one of the options in California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

How do I find a high school completion program in my area?

Gateway to College programs operate in 41 communities in 21 states. Visit our program map to discover whether Gateway to College is available in your community. If a Gateway to College program is not available, many districts operate their own reengagement centers or partner with a nonprofit program that allows students to complete their degrees. The best way to find these programs is by searching for alternative high schools, re-engagement centers, or dropout recovery programs.

Can I get accepted to college by completing an equivalency?

The GED and equivalency tests are accepted by 95% of colleges. However, most colleges will not admit students who do not meet subject completion requirements. On top of the subject completion, most colleges also still require scores from the ACT or SAT standardized tests.

Where can I go to read more about my options?

We’ve found a few resources that can help navigate the difficulty of choosing an educational pathway:

High School Equivalency Degree Loses Its Dominant PositionThe Wall Street Journal

High School Graduates Rates: The Good, The Bad, and The AmbiguousNPR News

What’s the Value of Graduating High School Versus Earning a GED – KQED Education

Incomes of Young Adults by Educational AttainmentNational Center for Education Statistics

The Rising Cost of Not Going to CollegePew Research Center

Give Change, Give a Second Chance

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Dear friends,

Every day, formerly disconnected youth are seizing the opportunity offered by Gateway to College programs and exceeding what they once thought was possible for themselves. I came to Gateway to College National Network in the spring, moved by the transformative experiences of thousands of Gateway to College students. They continue to inspire me.   

Check out some highlights from 2015:

Gateway to College graduates a record number of students. In 2015, Gateway to College programs graduated our largest number of students to date—nearly 1,000 formerly disconnected students completed the programs with a high school diploma and an average of 22 college credits. The majority of these students will continue pursuing a college credential, working towards a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree. They are well on their way to fulfilling careers and self-sustaining futures.

We begin our second decade with strength. Thanks to generous investments from partners at Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Tipping Point Community, Kresge Foundation, College Spark Washington, and others, GtCNN is able to conduct original research, collaborate with our 41 network partners, and begin new efforts to increase student success.

We have started new initiatives to support disconnected youth. We are piloting new curriculum in Washington aimed at reinforcing student motivation and increasing persistence. We are working with new partners, including the Casey Family Programs, to better support the many Gateway students who have been in foster care. And, we are launching Ambassador Councils in two regions, allowing us to grow partnerships and be more effective in areas with Gateway programs.

And we have much more work to do:

  •  1 in 5 high school students don’t graduate on time; most of those will not earn a high school diploma.

  •  Nationwide, the high school graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students is 73.3%, significantly below that of their peers.

  •  There are an estimated 5.5 million Opportunity Youth (16 to 24 year olds who are out of school or out of work) in the U.S. today, each of whom costs taxpayers on average $13,900 per year.

  •  See more in the infographic below.

With your support through #GiveChange—an annual event to raise resources and awareness for the national network of Gateway to College programs and services—we are able to foster new partnerships to leverage school district funding, enabling formerly disconnected youth to go to college.

For over a decade we have designed, implemented, and stewarded programs that have reconnected thousands of previously disengaged youth to education and postsecondary pathways. Your gift of any amount will help give opportunity to the next generation of youth who need a second chance.

Thank you sharing our belief that all youth, when provided with educational opportunity and the right supports, can thrive. Give Change. Give a Second Chance.

Warm regards,

Emily Froimson


Gateway to College National Network

Everybody Will Eventually be a Teacher’s Pet

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our current research project, Understanding Academic Success, included more than 60 interviews and 20 shadow days with the most successful students in Gateway to College programs[i]. Our goal was to understand what experiences help these students earn their high school diplomas through Gateway to College. Data collection wrapped up in June, and our research team is beginning its analysis. While results will not be available until next year, we have come across several statements that highlight the power of relationships. Gateway to College Resource Specialists, Instructors, and Staff are often cited by our students as being critical to their success.

As the Fall term begins, program staff spend a good deal of their time tracking down students who miss class, assisting students with transportation needs, and just listening when an ear is needed. We wanted to take the opportunity to share what Gateway to College students say about these moments, and how much they contribute to their success in completing high school. To all of our Gateway to College program staff: thank you for making a profound difference in so many lives!

  • I feel like the support that I got right away when I went in there [to the Gateway Orientation] to discuss signing up and what you have to do it. It was like, “Oh my gosh, that would be amazing we’d love to have you, this is what you need to do that”; like welcoming, let us fix what’s going on. That is what made me feel like yes,  someone is actually going to help.

  • Every single student had attention. And that’s one of the main things about Gateway—is that every student, no matter if they are A average, B average, C average, they all get attention and that was really good for me. That helped me out a lot.

  • The counselors seek you out. They come talk to you, and they make you stay involved with the program and also they kind of assist you in helping you figure out what you want to do or if you have any problems.

  • My high school experience wasn’t very good. Gateway is, well, the exact opposite. It’s supportive and it challenges [you].

  • I really learned to like my education.

  • I don’t think there’s anything negative about Gateway to College. It took a failing student to a straight A student, you know.

  • And my government teacher, she’s tough. She doesn’t take any bologna, but if you respect her, she’ll respect you too…Some people don’t realize it now, but she’s actually helping us think about ourselves instead of just writing stuff down.

  • I love the faculty because they’re all so loving and they care about you.

  • I ended up taking a year off so that I could have my son and focus on that …. So in between that time my advisor was keeping in contact with me. If she wouldn’t have, who knows?

  • [Gateway to College is] very life-changing. It changes your whole thought about learning and about going to college, because I never thought I would go to college.

  • My biggest achievement I think… I think it’s more of a personal thing because right now I feel like I’m able to think critically a lot more than I used to.

  • They are just more on top of you. They give you a lot of time to do the work, but if they see you not doing anything, because I do sometimes do that. I try to get good grades, but they will talk to me about it. Or if I am disrupting the class, if I am talking, because I talk a that’s pretty good…and the counselors are all pretty cool.

  • What I like is, like I don’t know just the size. The one-on-ones. The relationships that you grow while being there.

  • They [Gateway Staff] make you feel like it’s a family.

  • All the teachers will let you know that they’re there for you. They won’t let you fail.

  • I really like how supportive everybody is and I like how realistic they are about it. In that first quarter they didn’t like fluff anything. They were like this is going to be hard, this is going to be challenging, and you are going to have to put your effort forward and put your best in and I really like how they were honest and they were supportive of you.

  • They won’t give up on you. No matter if you give up on yourself. No matter how hard you try to give up. They will stay pushing you.

  • [At] high school I believe they sort of give more attention to the students that are doing better. That’s why they call them teacher’s pets. So things like that. With Gateway everybody will eventually be a teacher’s pet. Eventually. I guarantee it.

This research is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York

[i] Students were eligible for the study if they had a 3.0 college GPA as of January 2015, and had been in Gateway to College for at least two terms. Interviews were conducted by phone or video chat. Shadows were done in person. 

Lessons Learned from Launching Enrollment Strategies for Out-of-School Youth

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gateway to College specializes in enrolling out-of-school youth (OSY) on career and education pathways.

Out-of-school youth (OSY) are, by definition, difficult to track because they aren’t engaged in our education system. Gateway to College has the largest database of previously OSY in the country through our nationwide programs that reengage youth on meaningful education pathways. Our data shows interesting patterns about OSY – where they are referred from, how they are engaged, and what reengagement efforts are likely to yield the best results.

In our work, we have learned a number of lessons that can be applied to your organization:

Strategic planning ensures enrollment efforts work. In order to launch an effective enrollment strategy, it’s necessary to plan. A strategic enrollment plan is multifaceted and efforts must be continuously evaluated to ensure that you and your partners are spending time on areas that yield the most positive results. There is no single solution that works for every community. A strategic enrollment plan is a living document that is flexible and can adapt to community needs and opportunities.

Student volunteer recruitment strategies are highly effective. Of all stakeholders in this work, current students know best where to find OSY. Gateway to College has launched student-advised efforts to hit the streets, hangouts, and community centers to engage OSY where they spend time. 

Technology is key. Based on our nationwide technology survey, in partnership with Pacific Research and Evaluation (PRE), Gateway students are wireless and the majority (87%) have smartphones. While a YouTube video, social media, or a website are good first steps, how do you ensure your messaging gets to OSY’s phones? Gateway to College has developed an outreach strategy that combines technology and more traditional forms of communication. We utilize posters, fliers, and word-of-mouth along with Search Engine Optimization and smart technology to increase the effectiveness of our outreach and increase site visitors. To learn more about the PRE study, listen to our recorded webinar from September 22. 

Enrolling OSY is a collaborative venture. Many nonprofits and community-based organizations in your community are looking for these youth. There are more OSY than there are programs to serve them. Rather than competing, by working collaboratively organizations can widen the net and ensure OSY are engaged on a pathway that meets their needs and aligns with their goals, while ensuring the programs serving them remain sustainable.

Many OSY are already engaged in other federal/state programs. While OSY aren’t engaged in education, they are often engaged in other social programs including juvenile justice, welfare, workforce, and/or foster youth services. Creating partnerships and referral loops with these federally funded programs meets the needs of all parties.

Student persistence is paramount. Enrollment is only the first step. Student persistence must be part of the strategy from the beginning, and it begins at first contact with OSY. 

Gateway to College has developed a Strategic Enrollment Planning Program through a federal grant from the Social Innovation Fund. We have collaborated in communities around the country to recruit and reengage OSY on education and career pathways. We help organizations meet WIOA eligibility requirements, engage OSY on career pathways, and find solutions to complicated problems. 

Join us on October 14th for a webinar where Mary Wiener and Jeremy Asay will provide detail on some of the above lessons and share our data-supported outreach strategies to enroll OSY on career and educational pathways. Register here. 

Learn more about how Gateway to College can partner with your organization to find and enroll OSY. 

Read more about our federally funded enrollment project. 

Our Experience with Google Adwords Grant for Nonprofits

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nonprofit organizations, especially smaller organizations, often have employees who are asked to wear multiple hats. At Gateway to College, our two-person communications team oversees our website, social media, marketing, editing, design, press releases, and more. As an organization, we’ve developed a strong brand, and we believe we’re telling a compelling story about our impact on the world. We’ve generally developed strong practices in each of these areas we oversee, but we don't always have the deepest background in each. 

In August, we launched a new Gateway to College National Network website. Our website launch was the culmination of months of hard work in refining language and creating a style that supported the Gateway to College brand. As we began our work in visioning and designing the site last spring, we were confronted with terminology such as Traffic Generation, Keyword Research, and Conversation Optimization. We knew a bit about SEO and linking blogs and keywords to our site, but we didn’t have the strategic background that would truly help us increase our impact online.

As we were beginning to research more about online presence and tools such as Google for Nonprofits, we met John Randak and Okay Grow. Okay Grow had the exact expertise that we needed. Over the course of three or four months, as our new website was taking shape, we had periodic check-ins with John. Okay Grow worked with us in a host of areas: researching and refining keywords and phrases; applying for a Google Ads Grant (an application that was successful!); and building an ad campaign that complemented the keywords built into our website.

Our new website has only been live for less than two months. In that short period of time, we’ve seen unprecedented traffic. Our website, social media, GtCNN Blog and Google Ads blend seamlessly into each other and make our online presence quite dynamic. Digital marketing and website optimization isn’t always where a nonprofit organization chooses to place its resources. In our case, it was one of the best investments we’ve made as an organization.

Gateway FAQ: Can you get your high school diploma after dropping out?

Monday, September 14, 2015

In a word, yes. If you’re 16 – 21 and you’ve left high school or are behind in credits, there is an option for you to complete your high school diploma if you live in one of the 41 communities Gateway to College serves. Gateway to College helps students not only earn their high school diploma, but also college credit toward a meaningful credential. The best part? It’s free for qualified students.

Is Gateway Right for Me?

Traditional high school doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re experiencing difficulty in your course work or your home life, Gateway provides a supportive classroom environment that helps students thrive. At Gateway, the teachers, staff, and counselors truly care about your success. It isn’t an easy ride, though. Attending a Gateway program takes a significant amount of work and personal commitment. The important thing to know is you’re not alone. If you put in the work, someone will be there to help you through.

How does it work?

All students begin the program by participating in an intensive Foundation term with their Gateway to College peers. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to build academic habits and study skills, learn time management techniques, explore career choices, and gain confidence with the support of instructors and resource specialists trained to help you adjust to college life.

After successfully completing the Foundation term, you’ll transition to the comprehensive campus, taking courses with the college’s general student population. These courses follow a pathway to ensure all credits count toward both a diploma and your college goals. Students in good standing remain in Gateway to College until they earn their high school diploma or turn 21. After you graduate Gateway or turn 21, Gateway staff will provide you with an individualized plan for continuing your college education.

Can I get into college after I graduate?

Yes. At graduation, you’ll receive a high school diploma issued from the high school you most recently attended. Upon graduation, 73% of Gateway graduates continue their postsecondary education. In fact, you’ll already have been in college, and Gateway graduates earn an average of 22 college during their time in the program. Gateway staff will help you create a plan for continuing your education and meeting your career goals.

How do I apply?

Each Gateway location has a different application process. You can find the list of Gateway programs by visiting our program page, where you can contact your program directly. In general, to apply to a Gateway to College program, you’ll need to attend an info session at the college and fill out an application.

Where can I learn more?

If you want to learn more about what it’s like to be in the Gateway to College program, visit our student stories blog. You can read the experiences of #GatewayGrads, and see what it’s like firsthand. 

Women Wonder Writers Inspires Gateway Students and Staff Alike in Riverside

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The 41 Gateway to College programs that operate in 21 states are not only part of a national network, they’re critical components of local community efforts to provide more opportunities for young people. As programs become more ingrained in their communities, they build key partnerships that provide additional support for students and help students recognize opportunities available to them when they graduate. The Gateway College & Career Academy (GCCA) at Riverside Community College has been serving students at Riverside, California, since 2004.

GCCA and Women Wonder Writers (WWW), a Riverside nonprofit dedicated to serving at-risk youth, have a long-standing partnership in working toward the common goal of educating, empowering, and strengthening young people in their community. GCCA secures Arts and writing programs offered by WWW staff and volunteers for their “Bridge” students, who are awaiting placement into the Gateway Foundation Term. The 10-week program allows each student to discover their “authentic selves” through writing and art projects. It is offered one day each week as an extracurricular activity to GCCA’s new students, and helps students more easily transition into a dual enrollment program.

In Spring 2015, Gateway College & Career Academy celebrated more than 25 GCCA graduates of The Write of Your Life program. Most of the GCCA staff (pictured) attended an educational luncheon sponsored by WWW and featuring Erin Gruwell, founder of Freedom Writers. Erin shared her story of reaching students in unconventional ways, and getting them to be readers and learners. Her work inspired the GCCA staff as they prepared to kick off the new school year. It has been said that working with youth needs constant recommitment – the “Healing Young H’Arts” event allowed GCCA staff to have their inspirational work recognized and their souls fed as they enter a new academic year. Most importantly, it served as a reminder that our students succeed when communities come together to provide holistic support. 

Pictured above, GCCA Staff attending WWW luncheon

Top Row: Zack Taylor, Linda Montgomery, Mercedes Sapien; 2nd Row: Misty Loucks-Messenger; 3rd Row:  David Medina, Elena Bautista, Brenda Forsse, Miguel Contreras, Kathy Bywater, Scott Jacobs, Michael Pass


Partner Login