Clovis Community College selected as finalist for Bellwether Award

Clovis Community College was named a finalist for the Bellwether Award for its collaboration with Clovis Unified School District in preparing high school students for post-secondary education. (Clovis Community College)

A pair of local educational institutions are working together to prepare students for college-level curriculum and their efforts were recognized Tuesday as Clovis Community College was named a finalist for the prestigious Bellwether Award for its collaboration with Clovis Unified School District.

The Bellwether Awards annually recognize outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future.

“The English curriculum alignment project not only successfully prepares students for college-level English courses, but also provides students with additional skills and resources students can apply to all college courses, whether it be at the community college, university, or graduate college level,” said Clovis Community College President, Dr. Lori Bennett. “The college is one of 10 finalists out of 400 nominees nationwide to be selected as a finalist for the prestigious Bellwether award. I am so proud of our faculty and Clovis West High School’s faculty for their dedication to student success and this project.”

Clovis Community College is being acknowledged for the curriculum alignment project with the Clovis West English Department, which prepares high school seniors for college-level English through aligned and dual enrollment courses. Faculty from both Clovis Community College and CUSD worked together to align curriculum and core standards.

“Partnering with Clovis Community College has allowed us to make a positive difference for our students, and the results have been significant,” said CUSD Superintendent, Dr. Eimear O’Farrell. “In our fourth year of implementation, less than 10% of our graduating population needed to enroll in remedial classes prior to taking college level English, and 86% of our senior class at Clovis West had earned four units of transferable college credit. We are making a real difference in the lives of our students, and in their future success in obtaining a college degree.”

As part of the program, college level English classes are offered during the senior year as dual enrollment classes. As a result of the partnership, the class of 2017, which graduated in June, had a preparation rate of non-AP students of 58% and an overall preparation rate of greater than 70% based the college English placement tests. Instead of 33% of the students being prepared for college and a staggering 67% unprepared, the program reversed that entirely. College readiness for unprepared students showed remarkable growth from 33% prior to the alignment project, increasing to 67%. Based on this success, Clovis Unified School District is expanding this program to all five high schools.

“Placing all non-AP senior students into a single, rigorous college-focused class has presented these students with new opportunities and higher expectations for their academic performance, and the achievement gap has significantly decreased,” said Dr. Marc Hammack, Assistant Superintendent of the Clovis West Area. “The percentage of minority students earning English 1A credit has equaled or exceeded the campus percentage of minority students; virtually all students on campus are now eligible for freshman level composition before graduation, regardless of their economic or ethnic background. The partnership with Clovis Community College has been transformational for our non-AP students’ successful transition to post-secondary education.

Clovis Community College, Clovis Unified School District, and State Center Community College District are all sending representatives to present as finalists at the Jan. 29, 2018 Community College Futures Assembly Conference in Florida, where the winner will be announced.