Summer Advantage Receives the 2015 Bellwether
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Summer Advantage Receives the 2015 Bellwether


Norco College’s Summer Advantage program, a collaborative model for building the future with college readiness, won the Bellwether Award in the Instructional Program and Servicescategory. The category winners were announced Tuesday, January 27, after administrators from Norco College and Corona-Unified School District presented aspects of the program and success rates for Summer Advantage at the Community College Futures Assembly on January 26 in Orlando, FL.

Summer Advantage was selected as the category winner over nine other community college programs in the Instructional Program and Service category.  

“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award,” said Norco College President Paul Parnell. “The competition was tough, but our team did a great job at presenting the Summer Advantage model and the success it has brought to our incoming students.”

The Bellwether Awards, established in 1995, are a part of the Community College Futures Assembly, sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida. The Assembly focuses on cutting-edge, trendsetting programs that other colleges might find worthy of replicating. The Bellwether Awards are given annually in three categories to colleges with outstanding and innovative programs or practices. The Instructional Programs and Services (IPS) category recognizes programs or services that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.

“This is one of the highest honors an institution can receive. The awards are similar to being selected by your peers for the Oscar ®” or Emmy® Award,” said Dale F. Campbell, professor and director of the Community College Futures Assembly and Institute of Higher Education. “Leaders from the winning institution are often recruited by other colleges to replicate the award-winning program. They also receive hundreds of phone calls and visits by other colleges wanting to replicate the success of their program.”

Summer Advantage was developed in 2012 by College staff, in collaboration with the Corona-Norco Unified School District. Together the two groups developed a unique first-year experience for graduating high school seniors to address the lack of college readiness skills. Norco College derived its solution from intensive faculty and administration collaboration to launch Summer Advantage. Students placing below college level readiness in math and composition participate in workshops giving them a chance to demonstrate their true abilities. Most participants subsequently placed one to three levels higher and demonstrated success in their first level mathematics and English courses. Students in the program receive a student education plan, early registration, and guaranteed English and mathematics enrollment in the fall of their freshman year.

Other winners in the Bellwether competition were: Flathead Valley Community College (MT) in the Planning, Governance, and Finance (PGF) category and Alamo Colleges, San Antonio (TX ) in the Workforce Development (WD) category. Click on the link to view category list and winners:

Photo attachment: Summer Advantage team holding Bellwether Award at the Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando, FL.

From left to right
Nathan Miller, Board of Trustees, Riverside Community College District
John Zickefoose, Board of Education, Corona-Norco Unified School District      
Paul Parnell, President, Norco College
Melissa Bader, Associate Professor, English, Norco College
Monica Green, Vice President, Student Services, Norco College
Greg Aycock, Dean, Institutional Effectiveness, Norco College
Marissa Iliscupidez, Associate Professor, Counseling, Norco College
Diane Dieckmeyer, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Norco College
Reggie Thompkins, Administrative Director, Student Services, Corona-Norco Unified School District
Anita Shirley, Counselor on Special Assignment, Corona-Norco Unified School District