Friday, October 16, 2015

White House Names Rio a “Bright Spot”

web header for White House initiative

Rio Salado College has received two recognitions from the White House for its dedication to serving Hispanic students.

The college is one of more than 100 Commitments to Action named yesterday by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Organizations that participate in the commitment pledge to increase educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes, and deliver a complete and competitive education for all students, including Hispanics.

“We are honored to be recognized by the White House for our efforts to reach out to underserved populations,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “Educational opportunity has never mattered more than it does today. Regardless of where a student is on their educational journey, Rio Salado College is here to help prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

students studying at a Rio Salado location

As part of its action plan, Rio Salado is increasing efforts to reach local schools with large Hispanic student populations, assess their education needs and increase awareness of college programs.

“Rio Salado College already has many offerings from GED® test preparation to post-baccalaureate master’s degree partnerships,” said Dr. Jennifer Gresko, faculty chair for teacher education. “By identifying the school’s needs, our staff members can start conversations about enrolling in the many different programs, whether within educator preparation or in other fields.”

AACE graduate holding up her certificate of completion

Last month, the Initiative named Rio Salado College’s Adults Achieving a College Education (Adult ACE) program as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education as part of its 25th Anniversary of Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Bright Spot organizations are recognized for using data-driven approaches, promising practices, and effective partnerships resulting in increased educational completion opportunities for the Hispanic community.

“This nation has set a goal for citizens to achieve at least some post-secondary education to be competitive in the job market,” said Dr. Jo Jorgenson, dean of instruction and community development at Rio Salado. “Yet, more than 40 million Americans lack either a high school or equivalency diploma.”

Rio Salado’s Adult ACE program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, helps bridge that gap by providing an educational pathway for minority, first-generation college students.

Adult ACE students are simultaneously enrolled in Rio Salado’s college classes and in classes to help them prepare for the GED® test. Students are also provided with personalized academic advising and support services to ease the transition.

“The primary objective of Adult ACE is to help students become more confident, improve their college and workplace skills, and lay the foundation for a better future,” Jorgenson said.


About the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
The Initiative was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. To learn more visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

By Rio Salado Communications Coordinator Mira Radovich.