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High school dropouts have a gateway to college
Photos and Story by James Hill
High school students from all over the country just got good news.
PCC’s nationally-recognized Gateway to College program, which helps dropouts complete their high school diplomas by taking college courses for dual credit, has been awarded a new five-year, $3 million award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This award follows two earlier grants by the foundation, bringing the total amount received for this project to more than $13 million.
Since 2000, Gateway to College has provided dropouts in the PCC district, a traditionally underserved population, with rigorous, college-level curriculum and the opportunity to earn significant college credit. In 2003, PCC was chosen by the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) to replicate the successful program nationwide.
The new grant provides PCC with funding for planning and startup at three more colleges, bringing the total to 20 sites, plus PCC. It will also fund model development within the existing network.
"There is a strong demand for Gateway to College across the country, because every city has a dropout problem," said Laurel Dukehart, director of the Gateway to College National Network. "We are thrilled to have this opportunity to bring Gateway to College to more young people, as we help broker partnerships between community colleges and school districts looking for alternatives for struggling students."
The money will help replicate a series of one-credit companion college courses in economics, business, history, biology, and political science. It will also help implement Gateway Preparation, which is an additional term of study that builds academic skills and study habits to prepare students to enter the core Gateway to College offerings
"At PCC, (Gateway to College) graduates have earned an average of 73 college credits by the time they complete their high school diploma requirements