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Achieving The Dream Leader College

Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a national initiative dedicated to helping more community college students stay in school and earn a college degree. Capital Community College (CCC) is one of a select group of colleges in the country designated as an "ATD Leader College" in implementing strategies to close achievement gaps and promote student success.

This designation followed a five-year period in which new courses and academic supports were implemented for first time degree seeking students in mathematics, writing and English Language Learning (ELL). Embedded tutoring, Learning Communities, enhanced faculty advising and interventions with black and Latino male students were all effective strategies initiated as a result of ATD projects.

What We Are Doing:

The collective efforts of deans and other CCC personnel in combining student and academic services helped improve retention of black and Latino men in developmental courses.

  • The fall-to-fall retention rate of black men in developmental courses increased from 28% in Fall 2006 to 50% in Fall 2010
  • The fall-to-fall retention rate of Latino men in developmental courses increased from 23% in Fall 2006 to 40% in Fall 2010

The Black and Latino Men Initiative includes an annual student-run conference and a resource center.

Who We Are:

Capital Community College, located in the center of Hartford in the historic G. Fox building, is a public, open-door, educational institution committed to providing higher education and lifelong learning to people of all cultures, abilities and ages, and to serving the needs of the community, government agencies and business and industry. Capital is among only a handful of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in Connecticut and one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in New England with a student body that includes 34% African American, 28% Hispanic, 21% Caucasian.

How We Work:

Achieving the Dream and all other initiatives at Capital Community College are driven by the same measureable outcomes in the strategic plan.

CCC is scaling its First-Year Experience Program and Enhanced Academic Advising for all students in 2011-12. A Math Software Intervention and English-as-a-Second Language Intervention have already been scaled in developmental courses.

It will continue Mathematics Improvements as a test site for the Carnegie Foundation's Statway curriculum.

It is extending Learning Communities by partnering with the Hartford Heritage Project.

Capital plans to start an Accelerated Developmental Reading and Writing Course and a Self-Paced, Pre-Algebra Course.

Student Success Strategies:

Capital Community College is using the following strategies to impact student success:

Accelerated Developmental Course Sequence

This intervention allows students to bypass the second developmental level and progress to ENG 101, Freshman Composition from the lowest level developmental course. Students must have an A in the reading (ENG*003) and writing courses (ENG*013) and approval of the instructor (s) to perform the additional work. Student work is then graded by a committee of developmental and composition instructors using a rubric. Students whose work meets all of the criteria for freshman composition are allowed to skip the next developmental courses and enroll in ENG 101.

Learning Communities (Paired Courses)

The linking of courses has been a successful intervention that the college has used for many years. These courses offer developmental students the opportunity to learn together, thus creating a student cohort while maintaining a highly interactive environment. These paired courses create an environment that fosters student success.

Math Supplemental Instruction Using My Math Lab

All students in Pre-algebra and Introductory Algebra are required to complete online homework using the My Math Lab online courseware. Students are encouraged to utilize the tutorials, videos, and animations provided in the online resource to increase engagement and strengthen comprehension of critical course concepts.

New Student Academic Advising

This intervention allows students to obtain academic planning assistance when they enter as new, incoming and transfer students to Capital. After placement testing, students receive one-on-one assistance by a staff member from student services or a faculty advisor in planning and registering for first semester coursework. Students also receive course of study program sheets and are notified of future advising events to follow-up with the initial planning worksheets. In addition to registration, change to course of study planning sheets can occur during academic planning as well. Academic Advising events take place during the fall and spring semester as noted on the college's academic calendar. During the summer, Academic Advising events are offered in collaboration with the Welcome Center.


Statway is a newly designed pathway for developmental mathematics students which take students to and through college-level statistics in two semesters. This new course utilizing applied statistics for students who have difficulty with algebra courses. Course uses real life situations and technology. Students use a statistics software package that provides immediate feedback.

Statway Poster

Achieving the Dream Leader College Logo PDF summary page.

Achieving the Dream is accelerating Capital's long history of helping students achieve their dreams.

Wilfredo Nieves, President, Capital Community College

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