New grant designed for first year students is awarded

Rio Hondo College’s office of Student Success and Retention will be receiving a new Title V Grant that will be used to integrate a variety of new, comprehensive programs that aim to help first-year students.

Assistant Dean Barbara Salazar stated in the basic skills committee meeting that “we want to have an integrated program. The model that we created is to serve first year students, and is meant to provide a continuum of support services for the student.”

The summer math academy is one of many new academic programs that is going to be made available to new students in the summer as they start their first semester.

The summer math academy aims to have 200 students the first year, and will offer a two week, 20 hour program for the summertime.

The program will provide a counseling/student success component, as well as math workshops with tutors.

Counseling support will be tied into the Student Success Center.

Salazar stated this support would come from “student success coaches. . . they would be coaching the students by maintaining regular contact with them, assuring that they are following up with their counseling appointments, getting their tutoring, that kind of stuff. There is that on-going, one-on-one contact.”

As for the math workshops they will be split into two strands; one being for STEM students which covers the traditional algebra-based curriculum by using ALEKS math instruction.

The title V Grant helps expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students, and helps attain hispanic students as well.

The other will be made available to non-STEM students that are going to be pursuing a more statistics based curriculum, which will require the development of a new Pre-STATS course.

The next new program is one that requires students to have a “prescribed” first year schedule. This program aims at helping first year students pick their classes for the year, and will make picking classes less of a hassle for these students.

Some sections will be limited to these new students, and they would have to take both math and english courses for their first two semesters.

Salazar stated that “we want to guide students to make the right choices early on. . . we narrow down what are really the core courses they should be taking in their first year.”

The last program will be the development of a discipline-based first year seminar course, and will be held by different disciplines or divisions.

The course is most-likely going to be a 1.5 unit course, and is designed to help students get their “feet wet”, when it comes to learning about their area of study, or will help them narrow down what field of study they want to pursue.

Salazar made clear that the course “is not major specific, but discipline based.”

Salazar said that some of the programs components are still “general concepts” that need to be worked on.

The courses mentioned still need to be made into prototypes, and should be submitted by next fall.

There will be a Basic Skills Grant Proposal discussion held on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 2:30-3:30 that will further discuss the grant.

The title V Grant helps expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students, and helps attain hispanic students as well.

The Student Success and Retention Center does not have a disclosed location as of yet, but they can be reached at (562) 463-7073, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.