FORT PIERCE – Achieving the Dream (ATD) has designated Indian River State College as a “Leader College,” a national honor awarded to institutions in the ATD National Network who have shown exceptional student success.

“Leader College status represents a sustained, successful effort to build a student-centered culture,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. “Colleges that stay focused on the hard work of transformation deserve to be recognized when they make measurable progress.”

IRSC scrutinized student data, teaching methods and policies to enhance retention and graduation rates with the resulting accomplishments leading to the ATD Leader College designation. These include increased completion rates in Intermediate Algebra from 58 percent in fall 2012 to 65.9 percent in fall 2015. The overall completion rate for students was increased by 13 percent in spring 2015, with a 2 percent decrease in course withdrawal rates, and 40 percent decrease in incompletes.

The new year-round registration schedule supported program retention, allowing students and advisors to map their entire pathway, identify challenges and plan solutions. Other successful priorities include live and online new student orientation and a student success course providing training in financial literacy, time management, goal setting and lifelong learning.

“IRSC is honored to be recognized nationally for closing achievement gaps and increasing success for every student,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “Helping students reach their educational goals contributes significantly to their individual career prospects, and the benefits extend further to support the economic strength of our community and nation.”

Leader Colleges are eligible to compete for all grant-funded learning initiatives offered by ATD and are encouraged to provide leadership and support to other colleges in the ATD network, disseminate lessons learned, support state and national efforts to advance the student success agenda, and continue to improve student outcomes.

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status.

This year, Achieving the Dream designated four institutions as Leader Colleges for the first time and recertified 17 Leader Colleges.

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