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Christel House DORS and Ivy Tech Community College to Launch Gateway to College Program

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Indianapolis – Christel House DORS (Dropout Recovery School) in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College has received a contract of up to $424,000 from Gateway to College National Network to implement Gateway to College, a nationally recognized dropout recovery program. Gateway to College National Network receives support for this replication effort, in part from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund, and other funders.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 22 percent of the students in the Indianapolis area between the ages of 18-24 do not have a high school diploma. It is estimated that nearly 6,000 students in the Indianapolis area drop out of school annually due to several socioeconomic issues including homelessness, poverty and financial barriers.

The Census Bureau has declared that those without a high school diploma have a much higher poverty rate and are more likely to find it difficult to obtain employment than individuals who have at least a high school diploma. The Gateway to College program partnership between DORS and Ivy Tech Community College is designed for young adults who have dropped out of high school or are significantly behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The program enables them to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate degree or certificate.

“With the high local unemployment rate and the difficulty that those without a high school diploma have in finding employment, it is essential that we create more opportunities for these former students to not only receive a high school diploma, but also pursue a college education,” said Dr. Kathleen Lee, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the Central Indiana region of Ivy Tech.

Up to 300 students will be served through the program over the next three years. Although the program is open to all eligible students within Marion County, students will be recruited primarily from Southside of Indianapolis. Students must meet specific criteria for entrance into the program and will be dually enrolled at the Christel House DORS Charter School and Ivy Tech until they complete their high school diploma. Tuition and books are free for students enrolled in Gateway to College.

Students are placed into small learning communities during their first (foundation) term, and together they take classes in reading, writing, math, and college skills. After completing the foundation term, students transition to the comprehensive campus, taking classes with the general student population. Throughout their enrollment in the program, students receive one-on-one advising and support from resource specialists who act as coaches, mentors, and advisors. The wrap-around support of the resource specialist keeps students on the right track for success.

Students graduate from Gateway to College once they have completed their high school diploma requirements. Nationally, Gateway to College students accrue an average of 36 college credits by the time they graduate from the program, putting them well on their way to earning a college credential.

Christel House DORS in collaboration with Ivy Tech Community College is one of 35 entities across the country currently offering the Gateway to College program. Typically, Gateway to College programs are operated by community colleges, however, this partnership is unique in that Christel House DORS is playing the lead role implementing the program.

Christel House DORS is a new public charter school in Indianapolis for students who have dropped out of high school and want to come back to earn their diploma.

For more information on Gateway to College, visit www.gatewaytocollege.org. For more information on Chritel House DORS, call Principal, Emily Masengale, at (317) 783-4690 or email at emasengale@chacademy.org.

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