Alamo Colleges District Earns Second Top National Honor For Excellence In Student Success

February 20, 2020

Kay Hendricks

Achieving the Dream College of Distinction Award

For the second time in a week, the Alamo Colleges District has been recognized with a national award for its remarkable achievements in student success. The district is one of only 11 colleges in the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Network to earn Leader College of Distinction status for achieving new, higher student outcomes and narrowing equity gaps.

“I am so proud of the work the district and the colleges have done which has resulted in two outstanding national award,” said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Mke Flores. “This recognition is specifically attributable to our work to increase student success metrics, while closing performance gaps among subgroups of students. This was apparent during our work this past year, when we engaged in an ATD “relaunch” initiative which assisted in highlighting our work to the ATD organization with two site visits by an ATD vice president who accompanied our coaches,” he added.

“Accelerating improvement in student success outcomes is difficult work and requires a sustained commitment from the entire college community. National recognitions such as this one are important for affirming and applauding the often unsung and behind the scenes work of these institutions,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream.

The 2019 cohort of Leader Colleges of Distinction are:
  • Alamo Colleges District (TX) 2020 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Austin Community College District (TX)
  • Brazosport College (TX)
  • Columbus State Community College (OH) 2019 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Grayson College (TX)
  • Harper College (IL) 2016 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Montgomery County Community College (PA) 2014 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Northern Virginia Community College (VA)
  • Porterville Community College (CA)
  • San Jacinto College (TX)
  • West Hills College Lemoore (CA)


ATD created the Leader College of Distinction award in 2018 to recognize colleges that have continued striving to meet challenging student success goals, often earning Leader College status several times. Leader Colleges of Distinction must show improvement in three measures, including a lagging indicator like such as completion, while Leader Colleges must show improvement in two student outcome measures.

Leader Colleges of Distinction also are required to show they have shrunk performance discrepancies in at least two metrics between groups disaggregated by gender, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

The metrics that applicants for the Leader College of Distinction honor are required to select from include:

(a) completion of gateway math and/or English in Year 1,
(b) persistence from Year 1 to Year 2 (fall-to-fall retention),
(c) courses attempted/completed with a C- or higher grade within one year of initial enrollment;
(d) completion of a certificate or degree within four years of initial enrollment; and
(e) transfer to a four-year institution and achievement of a baccalaureate degree within six years of initial enrollment.

Only colleges that have been Leader Colleges for three or more years are eligible to apply for this status. The Alamo Colleges District has been recognized as Leader College since 2010.

The increased visibility of the Leader College of Distinction should help accelerate the adoption of effective practices across the ATD Network institutions and the community college field as a whole.

Earlier this week, the district was honored as one of only two community colleges in the nation to receive the 2020 Leah Meyer Austin Award from Achieving the Dream (ATD). This national recognition is given annually to a college or colleges in the ATD network that show measurable improvement in student outcomes driven by top-to-bottom cultural change in the institution.

At the Alamo Colleges District, high-quality education and affordable costs provide exceptional value to students and alumni who are major contributors to the economy and culture of our community. For more information, go to https://www.alamo.edu.

About Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of 277 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with ATD Network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Additional Information

Achieving the Dream Website ATD College of Distinction Information