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Express to Success Program

The Express to Success Program (ESP) offers accelerated learning communities in developmental math and English for students who assess at one to two levels below college level.  The goal of the program is to get students through their developmental classes more quickly and better prepared so that they can begin taking the courses required for a degree or transfer.  ESP differs from the standard learning community model where different teachers instruct the same cohort of students.  Instead, students have one teacher for their classes in all of the math and English models.  ESP students take two or more classes together, working collaboratively in class and forming study groups outside of class to support their learning.  Students in ESP also receive full support from ESP counselors, who meet with each student to explain the program and assess the student’s placement in an ESP learning community.  At this time, students sign the ESP agreement that specifies the commitment necessary to succeed in the program.  One important commitment is to become a full time student and enroll in at least 12 units.  ESP counselors also provide support services for ESP students throughout the semester, meet with each student to develop an individual student educational plan, and visit each learning community several times each semester to give presentations on a variety of student success topics.  In addition, instructors and counselors work together closely to monitor student progress, and students who are experiencing difficulty in or outside of class are referred to the counselors, who contact the students and meet with them to help them resolve the problem.


Other benefits of the program include book loans and support from Gateway tutors both inside and outside of class.  These tutors are students who have taken the course during a previous semester, usually from the same instructor, and who complete an intensive training program that stresses identifying student needs and providing supplemental instruction in targeted areas.  These peer tutors are especially effective  in working with students since they have personal knowledge of the class, they have been successful in the class themselves, and they attend all of the class meetings so that they know what is being taught at any given time.  They work in small groups or one on one with students in class and meet outside of class with students who require additional instruction.


Beginning with 10 learning communities in Fall 2011, the program has grown to 23 learning communities in Fall 2015. The ESP instructional model, with its counseling and peer tutor components, has proven to be highly effective.  Course completion rates and college persistence rates far exceed the college average.  ESP students completed two levels of accelerated math or English at a 40% to over 50% higher rate than students taking traditional courses over a two semester period, with Latino ESP students making the largest gains of all when compared to their peers. Students in the accelerated learning communities are now completing their required developmental math and English classes more quickly so that they can enroll in their college level courses sooner and with a strong foundation in their math, reading and writing skills.  Because of the demonstrated success of the program, ESP received the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Best Practices in Student Equity.  More recently, ESP received recognition as the 2014 Example of Excelencia at the associate level from the national organization Excelencia in Education.


For further information, visit the ESP website:http://sbcc.edu/esp/


For more information on ESP, we invite you to watch this short video: 



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