WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College has received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to transform delivery of basic skills instruction in English and math, and align its curriculum with courses taught at K-12 schools.

The effort will draw on multiple measures for assessing student placement in English and math, and apply accelerated instructional pathways, tutoring and mentoring support to give students the greatest opportunity to progress through the courses.

For example, the College is creating a math statistics pathway for students who are not pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. The pathway is expected to be available in fall 2017.

“This grant program is at the heart of our continuing effort to refine our approach to instruction while ensuring all of our students succeed,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “Too often, students struggle with basic skills classes that can derail the pursuit of their dreams. We want to find ways to support them and accelerate their academic journeys.”

Right now, the College is focused on providing the foundation for curriculum redesign and course alignment, with implementation expected in 2017-18. Also planned is a K-16 College Readiness Summit in spring 2017 for schools across Rio Hondo’s service area.

The grant will complement a grant-funded program launched this summer at Rio Hondo. In June, the College received a $2 million, two-year grant to assist students at California State University, Los Angeles in completing their basic skills requirements.

That effort includes offering courses and support to students after they graduate from high school and before they begin college, as well as a program to assist students who complete their freshman year without passing the classes. As part of the effort, Rio Hondo College is working with K-12 schools on aligning curriculum.

Rio Hondo College is the only community college in the state to receive both grants.

In 2015, the College also received a $2.62 million, five-year grant for Hispanic-serving institutions. The grant is focused on expanding the College’s capacity for serving Hispanic students. This summer, students in the program’s first cohort attended an expanded math academy during the College’s Summer Bridge program.

All three programs are aimed at improving delivery of basic skills courses and allowing a greater number of students to enroll in and complete transfer-level coursework in math and English.

“We are delighted to have received all three of these grants, which recognize Rio Hondo College’s strengths in developing programs to serve students across a broad section of our community,” Board of Trustees President Mary Ann Pacheco said. “Success in these courses is the foundation to success in all levels of higher education.”