Please see the Agenda below for each day's activities.  All listed session times are ET.

Conference Hours:
12 PM – 5 PM ET
11 AM – 4 PM CT
10 AM – 3 PM MT
9 AM – 2 PM PT


Monday, July 27: Day One

12:00 – 1:20 pm ET

Opening Plenary Session

Welcome: Reflecting on 20 Years of Service

We open the conference by recognizing the incredible contributions, innovative evolution, and tireless determination over 20 years of early college
programming for a surprising population. As we reflect on a difficult spring and look forward to an uncertain fall semester, we will leverage the power of dual enrollment and early college programs to address challenges resulting from COVID19.


We also want to take inspiration from our first 20 years of work together to imagine the bold possibilities of what we can do together to reimagine the transition from high school to postsecondary education.

  • Nick Mathern, Vice President of K-12 Partnerships, Achieving the Dream
  • Emily Froimson, Executive Vice President, Achieving the Dream



The Brandon Fleming Story

Brandon will share his personal story as a struggling high school student involved with drugs and violence, a college student who came back after dropping out, and an educator creating a pipeline for underrepresented students to the Ivy League.


This session will feature tools and takeaways for educators to inform their practice as well as a Q & A session with Brandon.

  • Brandon Fleming, Founder; Harvard Diversity Project & Assistant Coach; Harvard Debate Team


1:20 – 1:30 pm ET



1:30 – 2:45 pm ET

Plenary Session

Boosting Resilience During a Pandemic: Trauma Informed Strategies (Part 1)

Collective Trauma, such as the coronavirus pandemic, exacts a profound toll on populations, straining people’s ability to regulate overwhelming emotion and to prevent the development of trauma effects and other physical health symptoms. This interactive session will integrate information about the neurobiology of trauma and the inner workings of the human nervous system with practical mindfulness strategies to enhance long-term resilience.

Wayne Scott, MA, LCSW


2:45 – 3:10 pm ET


We encourage attendees to get up and stretch their legs during the break. This is also an opportunity for teams to meet in their team rooms.


3:10 – 4:00 pm ET

Concurrent Sessions

Boosting Resilience During a Pandemic: Trauma Informed Strategies (Part 2)

  • Wayne Scott, MA, LCSW


Gateway to Career: Moving Work-Based Learning Online

What does work based learning look like in the middle of a pandemic? This team of four Massachusetts based Gateway program directors will share how they leveraged grant funds, the Signal Success curriculum and their networks to provide a series of industry-based panels and student coaching to create a high engagement three-week summer learning experience.

  • Vivian Ostrowski, Director Gateway to College at Holyoke Community College
  • Katara Robinson, Director Gateway to College at Springfield Technical Community College
  • Allen Fowler, Commonwealth Corporation, Signal Success Youth Pathways
  • Samantha-Kaye Springer, Alumna, Gateway to College
  • Julissa Colon, Resource Specialist Gateway to College at Holyoke Community College
  • Stephanie Davolos, Director, Gateway to College New England


Using Data for Advocacy and Program Improvement

Telling a story based in data is an important part of advocating for any dual credit program. The team from Pueblo Community College will share how they work together to turn their raw data from the Gateway to College database into reports that make a compelling case for stakeholders to support the program.

  • Jeanelle Soto-Quintana, Director of Pre-College Programs, Pueblo CC
  • Arlene Sanders, Administrative Assistant Pre-College Programs, Pueblo CC


Gateway to College 101: The Power of Post-Secondary as a High School Completion Strategy

This session will address the essential elements of Gateway to College and provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about this unique and sustainable early college model.

  • Prentice Davis, Senior Manager Gateway to College, Achieving the Dream
  • Nick Mathern, VP of K-12 Partnerships, Achieving the Dream


4:00 – 4:10 pm ET



4:10 – 5:00 pm ET

Job Alike Peer Exchange

Engage in interactive dialogue with colleagues in similar roles from other institutions. Small-group discussions will be available for the following roles:

  • College Administrators
  • Program Directors
  • Student Support Staff & Student Success Coaches
  • Faculty
  • Data Entry Staff & Program Assistants
  • Students


5:10 – 6:00 pm ET

Virtual Reception & Happy Hour


Tuesday, July 28: Day Two

12:00 – 1:00 pm ET

Plenary Session:

Community Recovery and Institutional Transformation

  • Dr. Karen A.Stout, President of Achieving the Dream


Gateway to College Student Panel

Student leaders from GtC programs around the country will share their experiences in the Gateway to College program and their stories of resilience during the current context.

Moderated by Prentice Davis, Senior Manager Gateway to College, Achieving the Dream

Featuring: Current Gateway to College students and alumni from Community College of Philadelphia, Holyoke Community College, Mott Community College, & Spokane Falls Community College


1:00 – 1:15 pm



1:15 – 2:30 pm ET

Deep Dive Sessions

Deep Dive sessions will begin with a 20-30 minute presentation by a subject-matter expert and then we will transition to breakout rooms with facilitated small group discussions


Getting Relationships Right

New research from Search Institute shows that when young people experience relationships with adults that are characterized by five essential elements, their attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes are better, and their risk behaviors are lower. Those five elements are expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities. Dr. Kent Pekel will introduce participants to tools that they can use to help staff build developmental relationships with the young people they serve.

Small group discussion will include examination of tools the Search Institute has developed for building strong developmental relationships and adaptive strategies for doing this crucial work remotely in the context of COVID19.

Dr. Kent Pekel, CEO and President, Search Institute


Re-imagining Outreach in the Wake of COVID19 with a Focus on Race and Underrepresented Populations

This is an interactive session designed to engage colleagues around the development and maintenance of outreach planning. This session will specifically address how to reimagine recruitment into programs with a focus on race and underrepresented populations. We will take a step back from the day-to-day operations that have entangled us in the wake of COVID-19.

Dr. Shasta Buchanan, Vice President of Student Affairs, Austin Community College


2:30 -2:45 pm ET


2:45 – 3:45 pm ET

Deep Dive Sessions

Optimizing Engagement in Online and Hybrid Instruction

  • Jon Iuzzini, Director of Teaching & Learning at Achieving the Dream
  • Susan Adams, Instructional Designer, Achieving the Dream


Pursuing an Equity Agenda Through Community Impact

  • Francesca Carpenter, Director of Equity Initiatives at Achieving the Dream
  • Shawn Taylor, Director, Student Equity & Success, Las Positas College


3:45 – 4:00 pm ET


4:00 – 5:00 pm ET

Concurrent Sessions

Centering Youth Voice in COVID Response

In this session, attendees will learn about the results of a youth-led survey project in King County, Washington. The survey was designed to surface the effects of COVID19 on young people’s needs and aspirations in order to inform recovery efforts of reengagement programs and community leaders. Hear directly from young people about their experiences and ideas for solutions and reflect on how your programs can respond to the needs raised by young people in the survey.

  • Maria Guizar, Opportunity Youth System Manager, King County Department of Community and Human Services
  • Nicole Yohalem, Opportunity Youth Director, Community Center for Education Results
  • Young Leaders from Soar and Reconnect to Opportunity


Budgeting to Expand K-12 Partnerships

This session will feature the growing partnership between the Gateway to College program at Holyoke Community college in Holyoke Massachusetts and how the district expanded their investment in the program and reduced the district's high school drop-out rate in half in just three years.

  • Vivian Ostrowski, Holyoke Community College
  • Mickey Buhl, Holyoke Public Schools


Engaging Students: Relationships, Retention, and Rolling to Goals

Many educators contemplate what retains students, keeps them engaged, and progressing toward their goal? Being cognizant of fiscal and human resources, this workshop presents a relational model benefiting both students and schools aiming to achieve goals (e.g., graduation, course completion, attendance, etc.). Strategies will be shared, but more importantly, the critical role educators contribute to student goals will be highlighted and why the relational model matters for disconnected youth.

  • Dr. Dorene MacKinnon, Gateway to College, Durham Technical College


Communicating with Your Stakeholders

This session will highlight a Director's work in developing an annual report designed to inspire, engage, and share program outcomes and strategic goals to a diverse set of stakeholders from within the college and across 13 different public school districts.

  • Nadira Hairston-McDonald, Director Gateway to College at North Shore Community College


5:10 – 6:00 pm ET

Virtual Reception & Happy Hour


Wednesday, July 29: Day Three

12:00 – 12:30 pm ET

Program Recognition
Join us in celebrating the success of our Gateway to College program partners and celebrate a culture of continuous improvement.

Alumni Address:
Gateway to College alumni will share insights from their experience in the program and how it has impacted their education and career journeys.

  • Niko Gimbolo, Portland Community College Gateway to College Alumnu
  • Eden Shaveet, Project Coordinator, Commonwealth Medicine, U Mass Medical School; Candidate, Tufts University School of Medicine; and Alumnus Graduate Gateway to College at Mount Wachusett Community College

12:30 – 1:30 pm ET

Concurrent Sessions: Student Voice/Student Experiences

Student Voices in Community College and Higher Education Governance

GtC at MWCC alumni share their reflections on serving as student union members, representatives to the College Board of Trustees, and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. This session offers strategies to ensure that student voices are heard in policy making and governance at in K-12 and higher education.

  • Sharmese Gunn, Resource Specialist, Mount Wachusett Community College
  • Gateway to College Alumni from Mount Wachusett Community College


Institutional Leadership & Program Success

Because Gateway to College is a unique early college model--featuring a staffing plan and funding arrangements that are different from typical K-12 partnerships, campus leadership plays an important role in program success. In this session, administrators from three Gateway partner institutions will share their insights and experience supporting Gateway programs.

  • Jim Brady, Vice President of Learning, Spokane Falls Community College
  • Dr. Chrissy L. Davis Jones, Dean of Student Support Services
  • Nick Mathern, Vice President of K-12 Partnerships, Achieving the Dream
  • Dr. David Thomas, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Dr. Keima Sheriff, Montgomery County Community College


1:30 – 1:45 pm ET


1:45 – 3:00 pm ET

Team Time:

Facilitated Strategic Planning Activity

Before heading back to summer planning, this session will provide a structured activity with your college team to reflect on what you have learned during the conference and turn your learning into action steps. You will work with your college teams to document your aspirations and goals and identify the strategies needed to make progress toward a strong future.

  • Dr. Devora Shamah, Director of Research, Achieving the Dream


3:00 – 3:15 pm


3:15 – 4:00 pm ET

Plenary Closing Session

In this final session, we will synthesize what we have done together over the course of our three days and make our commitments to the challenging and exciting work that lies ahead.


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