Gateway to College receives national recognition

By Diane VanDyke
National Program of Excellence Award highlights MCCC's Gateway to College program's accomplishments.

National Program of Excellence Award highlights MCCC's Gateway to College program's accomplishments.

The Gateway to College program at Montgomery County Community College has received a Program Excellence Award in recognition of exceeding all four benchmarks used to assess the performance of Gateway to College programs nationwide.

Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly off track complete their high school diplomas while simultaneously earning credits toward a postsecondary credential. Since MCCC launched the program in 2013 at its campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, more than 150 students have earned their high school diplomas. Gateway is part of the Achieving the Dream national network that promotes community college reform.

This marks the second Program Excellence Award for the MCCC Gateway program for succeeding in the areas of first-term success, fall-to-fall persistence, two-year persistence and three-year graduate rate.

MCCC’s Gateway Program Director, Dr. Keima Sheriff, was presented the award by Achieving the Dream President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Executive Vice President Emily Froimson at the Gateway to College Directors Convening in New Haven, Connecticut at the end of July.

“Gateway to College programs provide a critical second chance for vulnerable high school students and a powerful testament to the importance of wraparound supports and creating a sense of belonging in college. Nearly 75 percent of program graduates nationwide continue their postsecondary education,” said Emily Froimson, Executive Vice President of Achieving the Dream.

“I believe the true success of the program is the tireless dedication of the entire Gateway team, and I cannot thank them enough for their work in supporting our students,” said Dr. Sheriff. “We work together to make the goal of student completion the primary focus of the program.”

The team includes Vice President of Student Services Phil Needles, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Nicole Henderson, Program Director Dr. Keima Sheriff, Resource Specialist Jezerey Weiderman, Resource Specialist Esau Collins, English Assistant Professor Diane McDonald, Reading Senior Lecturer Karen Harding-Tasca, Math Instructor Stephanie Wuertz, Math Senior Lecturer Donald Slaughter, English Instructor Tracey Fida, Psychology Instructor Amon Gibson and Psychology Instructor Kathleen Nash and Math Instructor Durrell Jones.