TRIO programs at Iowa Lakes help students succeed

Three programs working hand-in-hand to improve student success were featured at Tuesday afternoon’s Board of Trustees meet at Iowa Lakes Community College.

Trudy Ahrens, TRIO Director, told the Trustees that the Talent Search, Upward Bound and TRIO-SSS programs – all federally funded grant programs – work together to ensure that students have a pathway to college.

The Talent Search program works with students as young as sixth grade. Kim Campbell coordinates the activities along with Kim Traub and LaCrecia Haywood to serve students in Algona Public, Bishop Garrigan, Emmetsburg Public and Catholic, Estherville Lincoln Central, Graettinger-Terril, North Union, Okoboji, Ruthven-Ayrshire, Spencer Public and Sacred Heart, Spirit Lake and West Bend-Mallard.

The main goal of the Talent Search program is to help students navigate the path toward high school graduation and college enrollment. Students are eligible to participate if they meet one of two requirements which includes being a first-generation student (neither parent has a four-year college degree) or meet a specific taxable income guideline. Just over two-thirds of the students must meet both requirements. The program is funded to serve 778 students in the five-county area served by Iowa Lakes.

The second program is called Upward Bound and is led by Nicole Heng. She works in concert with Matt Mincey. They work with 60 high school students at Emmetsburg, Estherville and Spencer. This is an intensive program with the goal to assist students in successfully finishing their secondary education and preparing them academically – and socially – for enrollment and completion of college. Students are eligible if they meet the same guidelines as Talent Search (concerning the taxable income recommendation or being a first-generation student.)

The TRIO-SSS staff members – Tiffany Neavin and Stacey Geerdes – serve some 200 students at Iowa Lakes. While they are focused on providing the skills and motivation necessary for graduation from Iowa Lakes, their main emphasis is to have participants successfully transfer to a four-year university. Student participants are required to meet the same guidelines as the other two programs, yet they could join if they have a documented learning, mental or physical disability.

Students who participate in the program also spoke with the Trustees. They include Derrick Feldhans of Spirit Lake; Chelsea Cave of Cherokee; Nate Benson of Spencer; and Keeven Long of Ruthven. They shared the impact these programs have had on improving their success rate.

In addition, Geerdes spoke about how valuable the services were when she attended Iowa Lakes.

Other services which enhance the participants’ experiences include:

  • A four-day, three-night STEM Camp for current sixth and seventh grade Talent Search students;
  • An overnight Career Camp for current eighth and ninth grade students in Talent Search;
  • An Upward Bound six-week residential experience; as well as a
  • Summer BRIDGE program for Upward Bound students during the summer after their senior year where they can earn six college credits; and,
  • A TRIO-SSS BRIDGE program the week before classes start where students can complete the Successful Learning class.

The Iowa Lakes TRIO Programs are supported through assistance from Monica Rosacker.

An updated Quality Faculty Plan was submitted to the Trustees by Kathy Muller, Executive Director of Human Resources. Muller has been working with a faculty committee to upgrade the plan. It was approved by the Trustees.

The first reading of a board policy was brought to the meeting by Delaine Hiney, Executive Director of Facilities Management. Wording was updated in the Health and Safety Regulations and Procedures section. The Trustees waived the second reading and voted to approve the changes as presented.

She also gave updates on college building projects.

In Emmetsburg, work continues on a resolution to the heating concerns in the Emmetsburg Student Services Center. The system performance has improved, yet future meetings will attempt to achieve the proper balance of the system.

The block layers continue to lay block for the Estherville Fine Arts whenever the weather allows. They work inside a heated plastic canopy. Christensen construction has also been installing the bar joists that increase the snow load on the college’s existing roof.

The Emmetsburg kitchen stainless walls have been put into place and Dining Services has been open for business. In the near future, Hiney will present data concerning replacing and extending the existing drain lines to the Trustees.

In Algona, the new addition should be enclosed in the next two weeks. The heating blankets are in place and hopefully concrete will be poured in the next month.

In other business at the meeting, Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Community and Business Relations, updated the Trustees on the preliminary 260E New Jobs Training Bond issuance which is slated for later this year. She reported that each county in the district has at least one company participating.

Rogers also told the Trustees about the Laker Athletic Hall of Fame from earlier this month.

“As we recognized the outstanding athletic and academic achievements of five individuals this year, their stories and tribute to how the college changed their lives is always a humbling experience,” Rogers said. “It is definitely an affirmation what a difference the college faculty and staff have on our students.”

She also shared that $861,950 was awarded in scholarships for the current academic year with 88 percent of the students completing a scholarship application receiving at least one scholarship. The average award was just over $2,000. And, she reported that fundraising events – Dancing with the Local Stars – will be held in Palo Alto and Kossuth counties in the next two weeks.

Jeff Soper, Chief Financial Officer, introduced Sherry Titterington of Williams & Company who presented the Trustees with their review of the FY 17 Audit Report. The report was issued with an unmodified opinion which means the report was a ‘clean’ review and continues the history of the college for good audit reports.

Also, the Trustees conducted a public hearing for the college’s published budget for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year. The Trustees approved the published budget which shows expenditures estimated at $44.34 million.

And, Soper presented the proposed housing and dining services rates for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Under the proposal, housing rates would remain the same as the current college year at $1,490 per term while dining service plans would see between a 1% and 2.6% increase depending on the food service plan option chosen. The Trustees approved the proposed Housing and Dining Services prices for fiscal year 2019.

The next meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, at the SERT Center on the Estherville campus of Iowa Lakes.

For More Information:

Iowa Lakes marketing office at 712-362-7947