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Customizing education to the student: The Educational Transitions Program at Greenfield Community College

Melinda Gougeon, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this case study has been to describe and evaluate the Educational Transitions Program (ETP) at Greenfield Community College (GCC). The ETP was established in 1995 to provide an opportunity for academically able high school students at-risk of dropping out to attend GCC full-time while concurrently enrolled in high school. Community college programs for at-risk high school students are relatively new and uncommon. A body of literature has begun to develop, particularly around dual enrollment programs and middle college high schools, two types of programs that share common elements with the ETP. Data for the study were collected using a combination of documents analysis and interviews with ETP students, and staff from GCC and participating high schools. Participants' experiences and perceptions provided a foundation for describing the program and outlining its benefits and challenges. Benefits to ETP students included earning college credit concurrently with a high school diploma, developing improved self-images, and experiencing renewed interest in education and the future. GCC and participating high schools fulfilled an element of their educational missions by providing potential dropouts with an opportunity to remain in school by enrolling in the ETP. Institutions' enrollment and finances benefited from the ETP since both high schools and college received funding for ETP students and could include these students in enrollment statistics. Challenges and problems the ETP faced included the limited number of local high schools participating in the program and the low level of success for ETP students from at least one high school that did participate. Factors contributing to these challenges included the existence and enrollment of an appropriate cohort for the ETP, the varying levels of commitment high schools made to the program, and the program's cost. Issues for further consideration include the need to (1) understand what keeps high schools from participating in the program, (2) determine whom the program can effectively serve and whether there is a reasonable cohort appropriate to the program, and (3) evaluate the relationship between the costs and benefits of the program as plans are made for the ETP's future.

Subject Area

Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Gougeon, Melinda, "Customizing education to the student: The Educational Transitions Program at Greenfield Community College" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3136731.