The Bridge Program was initiated in 1998 to address the educational and support needs of incoming, first-time freshmen who place into the lowest basic skills levels at Mt. SAC. The program supports basic skill students to successfully progress to college level courses. The majority of students are Latino (91%), first generation, and low income. The program utilizes a culturally sensitive learning community model that organize students into cohort groups, similar to “familias” by linking course instruction, (English or math) with counseling courses. Supplemental instruction, peer mentors and personal, career, and academic counseling is provided. A unique aspect of the program is the strong partnership between student services and instruction and a pro-active counseling approach which includes academic progress monitoring and electronic educational plans. By immersing students in a system of networked support services and providing students with the necessary skills and “college knowledge” required to succeed, the program is counteracting the challenges most first generation students, especially Latinos, face when entering college. A sense of community and validation is instilled in students. From its first cohort of 82 students in 1998, the Summer Bridge Program served 367 students in 2015. The fall and spring Bridge learning communities served over 1,000 students in 2015-16. Program components include bilingual parent orientations and culturally relevant guest speakers.
Bridge Program mission: to provide low income, first generation, basic skills students with the academic tools and self-confidence to succeed in college. A learning communities model is used to increase student success, students’ self-efficacy, enhance engagement, and validate students as empowered learners. Goals: 1. Students will experience academic success upon their initial enrollment to the college by successfully passing gatekeeper courses in basic skills. 2. Faculty will utilize effective practices that are culturally sensitive, in teaching under-served students. 3. Students’ persistence and successful pass rates will exceed other students. 4. Students will experience a successful transition into college and receive an educational plan to reach their goals. 5. Student success rates for under-prepared, first generation college students, especially Latinos, will rise. To accomplish mission and goals, the program was relocated to a brand new Student Success Center building.
The 2015 Summer Bridge program had a cohort of 367 students with 59% female, 92% Latinos, 4% Asian, 3% African American, and 1% other.
· Among them, 97% completed an abbreviated educational plan and 97% persisted to fall 2015.
· The 2015 Summer Bridge cohort achieved extremely high course success and retention rates especially Latino students, 93% and 99% respectively.
· Of all the classes enrolled by the cohort in fall 2015, cohort students achieved higher success and retention rates in Bridge courses, 73% and 92%, than in the non-Bridge courses, 62% and 87%.
· Latino cohort students earned higher success rates in Bridge courses than in non-Bridge courses, 73% compared to 61%.
Student survey results (2013) indicate an increase in students’ self-esteem, sense of direction and purpose, ability to form a study group, understanding the difference between high school and college, asking questions, and understanding the importance of student services.
· Data from a 2010 Summer Bridge Cohort Tracking Project indicate: fall to spring persistence was almost 7% higher for Summer Bridge students, and at the end of their freshman year, 70% of Bridge students were in good standing while only 57% of other freshmen students were in good standing.
· Bridge students’ progression to college level English (73%) was phenomenal compared to a control group (57%).
· Summer Bridge Latino students performed better than the control group of Latino students on all measures being tracked including success, persistence, academic standing, and achievement.
· In combined achievement of associate degree/certificate/transfer to four-year combined, Summer Bridge students earned higher completion rate at a faster pace than the control group students; by winter 2015, 16% of Summer Bridge students reached the transfer ready status while 10% of the control group students attained as such.
The Bridge Program has conducted over 20 presentations in both local, state and national conferences.