Image from Annual Report

The word “unique” is often used inaccurately, but WestConn and two local high schools have developed a program that we can safely say is one of a kind.

Since 2004, WestConn professors have worked with teachers at Danbury and Bethel high schools to develop a partnership to improve student learning. As a result, more students are able to avoid remedial classes. They also save money and more of them move on to their sophomore year at the university.

It began with discussions between WestConn professors and teachers at the two high schools about how to address this problem: Too many incoming first-year students at the university were not ready to take college-level courses in math and English.

The effort to lessen that rate became “Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success" It led to increased and more-focused testing and instruction for high school juniors and seniors — and a significant increase in the number of college-ready students.

The testing, which began with high school juniors, showed that more than 60 percent of those students would have qualified only for remedial classes in math and English in their first year at the university. By the third year of Bridges, only 40 percent of incoming freshmen needed to take a remedial math class and 15.5 percent needed remedial English.

In addition, retention improved, with 20 percent more Danbury and Bethel students moving on to their sophomore year than students from other schools.

The Connecticut State University System has recognized Bridges as a “Beacon of Excellence” that will be put in place at the other three CSUS universities. And at WestConn, we continue to build on our partnership. Please see the next page on our new Exploratory Academy.