Texas college success program a winner in Gates Foundation Competition for Educational Innovation

Catch the Next wins award for Mentoring & Counseling

25 Sep, 2013, 18:38 ET from Catch The Next, Inc.

MCALLEN, Texas, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Catch the Next, Inc., a non-profit organization focusing on college readiness and completion, was one of three winners of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Academic Advising Challenge for its Texas College Success Program: Crossing Bridges, Catching Dreams.  The program is designed to create a 'community of learning' focused on the development of students, faculty, administrators, and institutions to improve individual and institutional performance and effectiveness.  Catch the Next (CTN) builds on the pioneering work of the UC/Berkeley Puente Project, which has operated in California since 1981.  The Puente Framework is interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on Language Arts, Counseling, Mentoring, and Professional Development at the secondary and post-secondary level.  CTN has contracted with Puente to take the program to scale outside of California.  In Texas, the first state replicating the model, partners include Alamo Colleges, South Texas College, El Paso Community College, Lee College, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, VIDA Careers, and University of Texas-Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.  The model also includes a high school component.

Dr. Maria Martha Chavez, PhD., Chief Education Officer for Catch the Next, presented the work of CTN at the foundation's post secondary convening titled: The Future of Higher Education- Is it Time for Transformation?  The conference was held at the Gates Foundation headquarters September 18-20, 2013.    

Bill Gates opened the conference.  He challenged the attendees to come up with new models for post-secondary success which build on evidence-based outcomes.  Bree Obrecht and Ed Smith Lewis, Associate  Program Officers for Education, Post Secondary Success and Special Initiatives at the foundation had praise for Catch the Next: "We found your model particularly interesting for the following reasons:  Mentoring utilizes advisors beyond program and course selection and builds community to support engaged, student learning environments. The collaborative approach breaks down institutional silos to facilitate student success. The teaching is contextualized:  It integrates culture into the curriculum."

The other two winners include: Brigham Young University, for their peer mentoring program, and Indian River State College, Academic Advisor model.

The  Puente Framework has a thirty year record of doubling the rate of college completion for its students. In Texas, CTN and its partner institutions work closely with Hispanics and other underserved students in community colleges, who have been placed in remedial studies called Developmental Education.  Counseling and mentoring provide support, engagement and empowerment for the students.  The results are outstanding.  Eighty-three percent of its students in Developmental English successfully completed remedial study and enrolled in college-credit bearing courses.  Once in college-credit courses, their success rate was ninety one percent.  These outcomes demonstrate that CTN's work provides a model to turn around the high drop-out rate in community college. (In Texas, over eighty percent of Hispanics who enroll in community college do not obtain a degree.)  More information at www.catchthenext.org and www.facebook.com/catchthenext and Twitter @catchcollege

Media Contact: Maria Chavez, Catch The Next, Inc., (212) 878-6650, maria.chavez@catchthenext.org

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SOURCE Catch The Next, Inc.