Umoja Community’s Alignment with Student Success Task Force Recommendations

In “Advancing Student Success in the California Community Colleges,” the Student Success Task Force asserts that “improving overall completion rates and closing achievement gaps among historically underrepresented students are co-equal goals.” Umoja Community practices align with the Student Success Task Force’s fundamental recommendations. Below are the Task Force recommendations followed by the corresponding Umoja practices.

SSTF Recommendation 1.1: Collaborate with K-12 education to jointly develop new common standards for college and career readiness that are aligned with high school exit standards.

Umoja Practice: Continue to build k-12 alliances with underserved populations of students to build a bridge of hope and success. Students will take College Guidance courses and other college preparatory courses to prepare to enter local Umoja Programs in the community college system.

SSTF Recommendation 2.2: Require all incoming community college students to: (1) participate in diagnostic assessment and orientation and (2) develop an education plan.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students are required to take the college assessments; complete a program application/intake form; complete a mandatory program orientation; enroll in a guidance/college success course; complete a comprehensive student educational plan; meet with a counselor twice per semester; participate in core Umoja-sponsored program activities; complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) application.

SSTF Recommendation 2.4: Require students whose diagnostic assessments show a lack of readiness for college to participate in support resources, such as a student success course, learning community, or other sustained intervention, provided by the college for new students.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students participate in either a learning community or cohort model program that provides support services and appropriate intervention strategies. A college guidance or college success course serves as the anchor course for either program design. In addition, students are provided counseling services throughout their time on campus until they reach their educational goal.

SSTF Recommendation 2.5: Encourage students to declare a program of study upon admission, intervene if a declaration is not made by the end of their second term, and require declaration by the end of their third term in order to maintain enrollment priority.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students are required to complete and update a comprehensive student educational plan and are required to meet with a counselor twice per semester. Students declare a program of study at the initial counseling appointment and are provided follow-up counseling until they reach their educational goal.

SSTF Recommendation 3.4: Community colleges will require students to begin addressing basic skills needs in their first year and will provide resources and options for them to attain the competencies needed to succeed in college-level work as part of their education plan.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs require students to complete their campus diagnostic assessments for placement recommendations into appropriate basic skills courses. Umoja Community programs with learning community models that include English and/or Math components immediately enroll students into the appropriate basic skills courses.

SSTF Recommendation 5.1: Community colleges will support the development of alternatives to traditional basic skills curriculum and incentivize colleges to take to scale successful model programs for delivering basic skills instruction.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs are designed to address the needs of the student at the local level. Umoja Community programs provide mandatory tutoring, study hall sessions, an early alert warning system, mid-term progress reports; university and college tours; peer mentoring, cultural enrichment activities, student leadership development; service learning, mentoring, supplemental instruction, culturally-responsive curriculum and pedagogy to close the equity gap. Umoja provides students access to computer resources and incorporates social media to facilitate outreach and in-reach to new or continuing students. Several Umoja Community programs use accelerated basic skills models which significantly decrease the number of units and courses students must complete to reach transfer level work. These Umoja Community accelerated pathways demonstrate dramatic increase in students successfully completing transfer level math and English.

SSTF Recommendation 6.1: Community colleges will create a continuum of strategic professional development opportunities, for all faculty, staff, and administrators to be better prepared to respond to the evolving student needs and measures of student success.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community provides annual professional development opportunities for faculty, staff and students including regional symposia, campus site visits, a week-long Summer Learning Institute and an annual conference.

SSTF Recommendation 6.2: Community Colleges will direct professional development resources for both faculty and staff toward improving basic skills instruction and support services.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community provides regional workshops and trainings for faculty and staff in the Basic Skills Initiative. Umoja Community programs are directed to Basic Skills funding sources.

SSTF Recommendation 7.3: Implement a student success scorecard.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs are given a special populations MIS data element which captures statewide data by individual programs on all of the matrixes suggested in the student success score card. Umoja Community programs are required to update their metric every year. Umoja Community programs already demonstrate better success rates along those matrixes as compared to African American students not in an Umoja Community program.