'Gateway’ provides additional chance
College program certifies students
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 15:09
Second chances do not come often, especially for high school dropouts or students who did not graduate high school on time.
Gateway to College, located in AA-219, offers those chances to students.
Gateway to College is a college-based program that allows high school students to complete the necessary requirements for their diploma.
Students are also able to earn college credits toward a certificate of completion or associate degree.
“We recruit high school dropouts or people who are so behind that graduation isn’t likely for them,” said Dr. Karl Debro, Director of Gateway to College. “They enroll in dual credit courses, earn diplomas, credits and (eventually) transfer.”
Jennifer Crowell, former director of Gateway said that Contra Costa College is the fourth college to offer this program.
Gateway is a duplication of similar programs that are currently offered at Riverside City College, Laney College and City College of San Francisco.
Crowell said that Gateway recruits students from high schools within the West Contra County Unified School District at no cost.
“Students who are behind have few options,” Crowell said. “GEDs are not plentiful. This is another alternative for a high school diploma.”
Math and English courses are offered to students along with a counseling class and gateway seminar.
Dr. Debro said the seminar focuses on setting goals and teaching students to be successful.
The program also has mentors for students who they meet with every week for help.
“Gateway allows students to get support beyond teachers with the staff,” DeBro said.
Gateway received its start up money from private donations and a grant.
Jennifer Ounjian, a psychology professor, was the main person involved in bringing the program to the college.
Ounjian said she heard about program while working in the district Chancellor’s Office last year.
“I researched it and talked to former college President McKinley (Williams) about it,” Ounjian said. “I thought the program would be perfect for this college and eventually it was brought to CCC.”
Ounjian said Gateway contacted the college and because of its familiarity with Williams and the San Pablo area they encouraged CCC to apply for the grant.
“They felt we met their mission,” Ounjian said.
Ounjian said she wrote a grant worth $325,000, which is distributed over a four-year period.
Ounjian said the grant was sent to Gateway and after meeting with the Governing Board and administrators it was approved in November 2011.