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'Achieving the Dream' to help close Diné College Achievement Gap

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August 29, 2013

Tsaile, AZ - Diné College brings in the Achieving the Dream organization to improve student success at each of their six campus locations. The College is one of two Tribal Colleges to be selected into the 13 College Achieving the Dream National Reform Network. Omero Suarez and Luzelma Canales, representatives from the Achieving the Dream Network were on campus in Tsaile to provide College staff and faculty with information about the network. The pair will be coaching Diné College team members through a series of initiatives that will enhance student success. Dine College President Maggie George is optimistic about the program and the benefits the College will receive.

“While graduation is a good thing, we must step back and analyze our work beginning with the time a student steps onto our campus and the semesters following, “ said Dr. George, “ In doing this, we will develop a deep understanding of the methods that are effective and strategically address those that need improvements.”

A core committee will be developed to oversee designated areas and will begin the planning process. As part of the initiatives Diné College will be focusing on two areas, academics and student success. The College will also report the successes of students and other milestones through a monthly newsletter. The central focus of the initiative is the data and how they reflect the success of students.

Once the committee is established they will report their data to the coaches and begin the process of analyzing the information. In doing so, the team at the College will begin collecting their data through focus groups designed at retrieving students attitudes and progress. The Coaches will guide the team at Diné College through the process by providing some tools and methods that are effective.

“Changes will not occur immediately through graduation rates, but we will see course completion rates increase,” said Ms. Canales.

The Achieving the Dream, Inc is an organization that provides services to low-income students and students of color to earn college degrees and certificates. According to Achieving the Dream Inc, they will help Diné College to close the achievement gaps and accelerate student success by; Guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, influencing public policy, generating knowledge, and engaging the public.