Elevating Students At Arapahoe Community College

Lucas Miller, Reporter

Previously, the Pinnacle looked into Arapahoe Community College’s Student Access Services, and the programs offered to students requiring extra assistance. “Students are required to self-identify,” when it comes to seeking curricular help, explained Anna Berger, a Specialist and Interpreting Coordinator at ACC’s S.A.S. However, some students who come to ACC need more than what is offered as a baseline. In order to prepare these students for successful futures and careers, what does ACC offer these students?

For these students, ACC boasts about the Elevate program. Elevate is a unique program in the state of Colorado, and furthers its involvement with students. Unlike the basic Student Access Services, Elevate does require documentation. The program, which has been running for the last four years, has only just started to charge its students as of last year, but the first semester is free. The cost for the program is $1500 per semester and is the lowest among comparable programs. When the fee was first introduced, a meeting with all the parents of students was held. “The parents really supported the fee. A lot of them expressed, ‘that’s too little,’” recalled Jennifer Woegens, head of Elevate.

That fee comes with a variety of tools that offer Elevate students the best path to success. Students receive tutoring and in-class assistance when required. Ensuring the success of these students is critical, and the program has proven effective in the four years it has been active.

A graduate of the ACC Elevate program has found a job in a hospital, proving Elevate’s effectiveness at preparing students with greater educational assistance for the workforce.

Part of Elevate’s success comes from the ratio of faculty to students. Currently enrolled in the Elevate program are 22 of ACC’s students. There is three full-time staff catering to the needs of these students and are bolstered by an additional ten hourly members.

When the stay-at-home order was issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns for these students were raised. No longer was Elevate able to operate as per normal, and these students lost some of the vitally important tools for their success, such as in-person and in-class assistance.

Fortunately, technology provided answers. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, and of course mobile phones have allowed faculty to remain in contact with their students.

Staying in contact and keeping things as normal as possible has been critical to the success of the students in the Elevate program. At the time of this article was written, all 22 students were still active and keeping up with their classes, with four preparing to graduate in the summer.