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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Saint Paul Public Schools and Saint Paul College Launch Gateway to College Program
Innovative partnership provides new path for high school dropouts and at-risk students to earn a diploma and college credit

Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) and Saint Paul College have teamed with Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) to implement a nationally recognized dropout reengagement program. Gateway to College serves young adults ages 16 to 20 who have dropped out of high school or are significantly behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The program enables students to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credit toward a college degree or certificate.

"We are excited to provide a new dual credit pathway to a high school diploma for students who need an alternative," said SPPS Superintendent, Valeria Silva. "Many students have life circumstances that prevented them from succeeding before. Gateway to College will be an important part of our district’s strategy to serve all of our students effectively."

During this academic year, 52 students are enrolled in the Gateway to College program. Twenty-five percent of the 52 students currently enrolled in the Gateway to College program are also taking college 
level courses at Saint Paul College. Saint Paul Public Schools and Saint Paul College have a goal to enroll 200 students in the program over the next three years. Students must meet specific criteria to begin the program and will be dually enrolled in the school district and Saint Paul College until they complete their high school diploma. Tuition and books are free for students, and instructional staff will use innovative methods to ensure students who have previously struggled will succeed in a college setting.

Throughout their enrollment in Gateway to College, students will receive one-on-one advising and support from Teachers on Special Assignment who will act as coaches, mentors, and advisors. The wrap-around support provided by the program keeps students on the right track for success.

Students will graduate from Gateway to College once they have completed their high school diploma requirements. Nationally, Gateway to College students accrue an average of 35 college credits by the time they graduate from the program, putting them well on their way to earning a college credential.

Rassoul Dastmozd, President of Saint Paul College said, "Working with SPPS and Gateway to College National Network in this way helps us achieve our educational mission. We want to see more young people on track to succeed here at Saint Paul College and are proud to be part of a national effort to engage at-risk youth in postsecondary education. Providing an early college option for our students is paramount."

Saint Paul Public Schools has contracted with Gateway to College National Network to help implement the program at Saint Paul College. GtCNN has applied $100,000 from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund to support the startup. Additional funding from The Travelers Foundation is supporting Saint Paul College in this initiative.

GtCNN will provide ongoing training and support to faculty and administrative staff, and technical assistance to enroll and track progress for students. With this program, Saint Paul College and SPPS join a network of 42 Gateway to College programs around the United States. The program aligns school district credit requirements with courses offered by Saint Paul College for students who have dropped out or have not been successful in high school.

"Getting a high school diploma is not enough for young people to be prepared for success. To break the cycle of generational poverty, postsecondary work is necessary," said GtCNN President Laurel Dukehart, "We congratulate the Saint Paul education community for creating this innovative partnership to serve students who otherwise would not have an opportunity to complete a diploma and get a firm grounding in college."

Students interested in Saint Paul’s Gateway to College program may contact: or 651.403.4222. Additional information can be found via Twitter @GTCSPPS.

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