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Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Ute Maschke, Grossmont-Cuyamaca CCD

Transitions team extends holistic support services

The Challenge

Adult students who picked up the phone, sent an email, or walked onto a campus with the intention to get back into education or pick up their paths where they left off, were immediately registered for classes but were often left alone with their concerns or unanswered questions about next steps.

The motivated students completed classes successfully, but surveys revealed that students felt “lost” and unsure about the bigger picture. Some students felt deprived or unprepared to navigate support services. Students also received different information from different people and struggled to access and persist in services. English-language learners, especially, required more intense support and preparation to be successful.

The Solution

A transition services (TS) team extended holistic support services. Focusing attention on the front end of adult education, TS provides orientation and introduction to adult education in general, and ensures that the students’ earliest contacts incorporate experiences that foster personal connections. Orientation is an opportunity for new students to develop relationships with fellow students and staff. Learning about different adult education programs and options for studies allows students to make informed decisions and become agents of their education. Co-designing a transition map together with the transitions specialist initiates the short and long-term goal-planning process and provides a power tool to personalize the learning experience.


Students indicate that they appreciate the attention to their personal backgrounds, as well as the acknowledgment and respect for their concerns. Students note that orientations often feels like a waste of time at first but has a longer-term impact because, as one of them stated, “I started to feel like I know what I am doing because I have this map. So far I really like it, and I love the positive vibes in the room.”

Based on transition maps, TS and teachers are able to get to know their students faster and better, and to provide personalized services and learning experiences. Students take ownership more often than before. One-on-one transition services and class visits every three months allow for inclusive support across programs and levels.

The Data

The consortium increased the number of students receiving orientation and transition maps by more than 53 percent, and the number of students who follow up with a transition specialists at least twice a year by 47 percent. Through one-on-one transition services, the consortium supported 39 students in matriculating directly into credit-bearing, transferable college courses in 2016-17. Also in 2016-17, and based on data collected through one-on-one and group meetings, transition specialists connected a monthly cohort of between five and seven English-language learners to training resources at the regional career center.

Supporting Information

East Region Adult Education website

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