A Montgomery County Community College program designed to make sure struggling high school students do not slip through the cracks of the education system has earned a national honor.
The Gateway to College program at MCCC is one of only eight programs nationwide to receive the Excellence Award from the Gateway to College National Network. The Network includes more than 40 programs at community colleges throughout the country.
Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or are significantly off track complete their high school diplomas at college-based programs such as the one at MCCC while simultaneously earning college credits toward a post-secondary degree or certificate.
Currently, the Gateway to College Program at MCCC serves 45 students from 18 school districts in Montgomery and surrounding counties. Established at MCCC in 2013, the program has help 83 students earn their high school diplomas and matriculate at MCCC.
To achieve the award, the MCCC program surpassed established benchmarks in all four categories including first-term grades, one-year persistence, two-year persistence and graduation rate, according to Gateway to College National Network President Emily Froimson.
"Your program is an exemplar for all of our partners and high school reengagement programs across the country," Froimson wrote. "We are encouraged by your success and look to your program to be a model and a leader within our network."
Keima Sheriff, director of the MCCC Gateway to College program, said the staff and students in the program were excited to receive the award.
"This award is a tribute to the caring, hard-working staff of the Montgomery County Community College Gateway to College Program, and the students who have worked so hard toward completing their high school diplomas," Sheriff said. "Many of these students, for one reason or another, had nearly given up on completing high school, but through this program, they find an inner strength and confidence that they need to achieve their educational goals."
Photo Caption: Students in the Gateway to College program earned their high school diplomas at a graduation ceremony at Montgomery County Community College in January.