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Awake58: Summer melt and blitz week

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Monday, September 3, 2018.  Click here to subscribe.

Welcome to Awake58!

Hello, it’s Nation. Welcome to Awake58, Edition Two. This week we are looking back on our statewide tour of community colleges, lifting up key statewide voices, and exploring summer melt. Thank you for reading.

What a week. Over the past several days, we have visited 55 of the 58 community colleges and by the end of this week we will have visited all 58.

We have heard about the promise Sandhills has made to their students and community. We visited the Advanced Technology Center at Central Piedmont Community College and heard all about Tesla. Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton laid out a list of challenges for the community colleges which he hopes the state will address.

My colleague Bryan and I even had the chance to take batting practice with Dr. Garrett Hinshaw to discuss his path towards leadership. Oh, and the next day we had livermush and eggs at my favorite local diner with Dr. Mark Poarch as a precursor to a day where we were able to participate in the same tests which a student truck driver might take.

It was an exhilarating week. We were inspired, challenged, and humbled by the opportunity to travel the entire state. This is the start of our conversation, but not the end. Do you have feedback? Thoughts? Stories to share? How did you think the week went? Text AWAKE to 73224 or email me direct by clicking reply.

EdNC Picks

CPCC is a ‘hub of economic development’

Adam Rhew explores Central Piedmont’s work with Siemens and Tesla. Adam had the opportunity to see their new Advanced Technology Center which “is a symbol of future opportunity for students.”

Keeping a promise at Sandhills Community College

Robert Kinlaw documents the Sandhills Promise. Sandhills Promise offers students from Moore and Hoke County free tuition for their first two years at Sandhills Community College after high school if they meet certain requirements. 

Perspectives worth your time

Due to the amount of articles we published on EdNC this week, I wanted to take time to spotlight a few of the perspectives which were submitted by leaders from across North Carolina related to the community colleges.

Reflecting on my first 4 months of President

NC Community College President Peter Hans reflects on the four months he has served as President of the system.

Taking people from where they are and carrying them as far as they can go

Surry Community College President David Shockley explains his vision for an institution which meets students where they are and provides them with an opportunity to go as far as their ambition and talent will take them.

Building the next generation of community college leaders at NC State

The NC State College of Education recently announced the new Belk Center which is focused on the community college leadership pipeline. Audrey Jaeger leads the efforts and shares more about the vision for the program. 

Investing in community colleges to transform rural North Carolina

Dan Gerlach of Golden LEAF,who answers our three questions below, shares the Golden LEAF vision for investing in community colleges as a tool to transform rural NC. Gerlach writes, “Community colleges are both the backstop and the accelerator for building the state’s talent pipeline.”

Three quick questions with Dan Gerlach of Golden LEAF

Each week we pose three quick questions to a North Carolina leader who is involved with education. This week, we asked Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach, known as @NCLeafChief on Twitter, to provide context for Golden LEAF’s involvement in the community college space.

  1. For those unfamiliar, what is Golden LEAF’s role with our community colleges?

Dan Gerlach: Golden LEAF has invested over $100 million in community colleges to respond to the current and future needs of private sector employers across NC. We have provided grants to the institutions to fund equipment and facilities necessary for high-quality training to develop our talent and skills. And we also provide help to rural students attending college through scholarships.

  1. What do you see as the top opportunities ahead for community colleges over the next decade?

DG: The top opportunity is to build on the success of existing collaborations of colleges with public school systems and 4-year colleges.  Also responsiveness and relationships with the business community can help lead to “success for all.”

  1. Why are you involved with the work of the myFutureNC Commission to build a statewide attainment goal for our state?

DG: We need a clear target to keep all education, civic, and private sector groups focused on working together to meet the demands of companies in a global economy

Issue: Summer Melt

Summer melt is a term used by researchers and policy analysts to identify students who make plans to go to college ahead of high school graduation, but do not step foot on a college campus come fall. Rebecca Tippett of Carolina Demography has shown the number across postsecondary institutions in North Carolina is one in four.

Vox has one of the best explainers I have found which showcases the pipeline in a compelling, simple way. It is worth your time. They break out the numbers to illustrate where melting is most likely going to occur. Take a look by clicking here.

We showcased an article from the Washington Post last week which discussed the problem, but we also wanted to pass along a few tidbits on schools which are actively seeking to address the challenge.

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education attempted to tackle the issue through “summer nudging” via text messaging. NBC news noted: “The weekly texts are personalized, sent between January and December, and will connect students with resources on their campuses, give them answers to their questions via two-way messaging, and can be translated into Spanish.”

Georgia State has been held out as an institution which is tackling a host of access issues in innovative ways. The Harvard Business Review explored their use of an algorithm to help students navigate the path to higher education. It is particularly worth noting the method in which their program, Pounce, has differentiated itself:

“Pounce features two key innovations. First, the system integrates university data on students’ progress with required pre-matriculation tasks. Thus, rather than providing generic suggestions, Pounce matches the text-based outreach that students receive to the tasks on which data indicates they need to make progress and therefore may need help.”

We are interested in exploring this issue in the years ahead. Do you have an innovative idea for addressing summer melt? Do you know of any colleges or districts doing work to address this issue? Reply directly to the email to let us know.

By the numbers

Up to 40% melt

Research by Harvard University indicates that summer melt could be as high as 40% for college intending students in some areas.

58 counties declining

58 North Carolina counties are projected to see decreases in their population of working-age adults by 2036 according to Carolina Demography.

1 in 4 NC high schoolers

In 2015, one in four North Carolina high school graduates claimed a desire to enroll in a postsecondary program and were not enrolled in the fall according to Carolina Demography.

63% of Hispanic children

In 2015, 63% were living in a household in which neither parent had any educational experiences or training beyond K-12 according to Carolina Demography.

37% of the workforce

37% of North Carolina workers between the summer of 2015 and 2016 had been students in the Community College System within the past decade according to Carolina Demography.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.