The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) was recently awarded a three-year grant totaling $720,000 from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to improve college readiness. Kentucky was one of 10 states selected to receive the grant.

The grant program, called Core to College: Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success, aims to foster long-term collaborations between state higher education and P-12 entities that will improve student achievement and college readiness.

The focus is on using the Common Core State Standards and assessments to establish a statewide definition of college readiness and set of college readiness indicators to signal a student’s preparedness for credit-bearing college courses.

“Kentucky’s grant activities will build on the tremendous momentum already underway with P-12 and postsecondary education,” said Council President Bob King. “Thanks to Senate Bill 1 in 2009 and the one-time funding we received for implementation, Kentucky is leading the nation with our collaborative work to improve college readiness and, ultimately, increase rates of enrollment and graduation necessary to build a more highly skilled workforce. This grant will bolster our efforts as we continue this important work.”

Kentucky’s P-12/Postsecondary Alignment Grant will be used to extend and coordinate several statewide initiatives already in place, including the Professional Development and Assessment Academies housed at Morehead State, Western Kentucky and Northern Kentucky universities.

These academies are working with other public and independent universities, Kentucky Community and Technical College System campuses, as well as adult education and P-12 educators in their service regions to develop “continuous assessment models.” These models help educators analyze the results of ongoing formative and summative student assessments and tailor instruction to address their students’ particular needs.

A featured activity of the Kentucky grant is the early college program at St. Catharine College (SCC), a private four-year liberal arts institution. The grant provides $40,000 annually for three years to support the Washington County Commander College, which is a partnership between SCC, the Washington County school district and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

The Commander College provides students the opportunity to gain postsecondary coursework prior to their graduation from high school with the option of earning an associate’s degree or various industry certifications. Twenty-five juniors are participating in the program this year.

Funding for Core to College is provided by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The partners developed Core to College with the assistance of Education First Consulting, which will provide continuing project management. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the program’s fiscal sponsor, is responsible for grant decisions and all aspects of ongoing grant administration.

For more information on Core to College, click here.