Forsyth Tech Community College. A place of promise. President's Message. Dr. Janet N. Spriggs.

Hello Forsyth Tech Faculty and Staff

I am excited to announce a new access and success program for economically underserved middle and high school students.

The new program, College Lift, is modeled after the University of South California’s (USC) Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), and was started in Winston-Salem three years ago under the direction of the non-profit Piedmont Renewal Network (PRN), started by Logan Philon, who has joined Forsyth Tech as the assistant director for the program.

PRN was created to champion equity in Winston-Salem by providing unmatched educational opportunities for underserved children of our city. Effective July 6, 2020, College Lift became part of Forsyth Tech’s educational partnerships programming.

We believe this program can be a critical component of the College’s vision of becoming a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming

Communities. Moreover, College Lift, as it currently exists and with great possibility for expansion, can be a game-changer for our community, particularly the East Winston community served by Carver High School. This gives us a platform to not only impact success  for prospective high school graduates, but also to advance opportunity for families. We see great potential for advancing social mobility at a generational level.​

A Weekend Academy, the central focus of College Lift, takes lower-income students through seven years of rigorous Math, Science, and Language Arts instruction on weekends beginning when they are in the sixth grade to better prepare them for college and collegiate success. In addition, students are provided one-on-one tutoring and counseling, and are encouraged to determine “where,” not “if,” they are going to college. When they graduate, qualified students receive scholarships to attend college tuition free.

By bringing the College Lift Initiative under Forsyth Tech, we are more closely mirroring the highly successful USC NAI model and we believe a higher education institution is the perfect home for a strong access and success program like CLI.  Moreover, we are committed to equity of opportunity and success for all students, and promoting social mobility, the same primary goals of NAI when it began in 1997. Since that time, almost 1,100 middle school students have completed the program that boasts a 100% high school graduation rate, a final average high school GPA of 3.6%, a 99% college attendance rate, and an average college graduation rate of more than 70% for NAI students.

One of the most unique and transformative aspects of the program is that students’ families are involved through the Family Accompaniment program. In this program, parents or guardians participate in programming several times per month where they learn how to encourage and support their children and keep them engaged academically, ultimately leading them to success.

You may remember that Forsyth Tech entered into a partnership with PRN in February 2019.  Through our partnership, each year when College Lift students graduate we will provide scholarships covering the cost of tuition at Forsyth Tech for up to 25 students. Now, we will meet them earlier in their educational journey, giving us an even greater opportunity to help them build a successful higher educational pathway forward. We also believe we have a substantial opportunity to impact the cycle of generational poverty, by expanding the family accompaniment programming with occupational extension and Human Resources Development (HRD) options through our Economic and Workforce Development division.

Two employees from the Piedmont Renewal Network will join our Forsyth Tech team to support CLI and other educational partnership programs.  Please join me in welcoming Logan Philon and Jay Fordham to Forsyth Tech. Both Logan and Jay will be with us beginning July 6, 2020.

According to a 2015 Harvard University study, Winston-Salem is the hardest place in the United States (with the exception of a few Indian reservations) to escape child poverty.[1]  That is a grim statistic, but we believe numerous community entities and initiatives have already made great strides in addressing it. We’re confident that College Lift is one more way Forsyth Tech can be a critical leader in transforming our communities from places where, for many, the American dream has died, into places where the American dream thrives for all!

College Lift has established partnerships with Salem College and Piedmont International University, and plans to establish partnerships with other colleges and universities in the region.

 Budget

As you all know, July 1 marks the beginning of a new fiscal year, however, we do not anticipate having a new State budget until at least sometime in August. You will also recall, we were under spending restrictions for the last fiscal year (ending June 30, 2020), due to fiscal concerns associated with the impact of COVID-19 on the State’s revenues and economy. The Office of State Budget Management has notified the NC Community College System Office that these spending restrictions are continuing into the new fiscal year. Basically the spending restrictions mean we can only spend State funds on payroll and mission critical expenses as approved by the College President.

Additionally, the North Carolina General Assembly did take action to provide $41.5 million in enrollment growth funding to community colleges by appropriating money from the Federal COVID relief money awarded to the State. This money is one-time money that must be expended by December 31 and will be awarded to Colleges in proportion to their enrollment growth last year. This equals an approximate increase of $255,074 in our State formula budget.

We will provide additional information about budgets as it becomes available. Additionally, more information about budget will be shared with you during our Convocation Week, August 10-14. We are planning information sessions for that week that will provide additional information to help everyone understand our budgets including our funding sources and how budget decisions are made, as well as more technical sessions for budget managers and others to help enhance budget management and increase transparency. At this time, we are hoping to offer multiple sessions with both virtual and face-to-face options.

 Information on Fall 2020 Classes

As the health and safety of our students and employees is our primary concern during the continuation of COVID-19, classes may look different for the Fall 2020 Semester.

Options for class instruction modality are: on campus (face-to-face), internet, or on campus with an internet component. Internet classes may be offered synchronously – internet or distance education that happens in real time, or asynchronously – learning occurs through internet channels without real-time interaction.
Student veterans need to check with Paige Lee about their education benefits to guarantee that their classes will be covered by the GI bill.
Face-to-face classes will end by Thanksgiving, although some clinical and in-person labs may continue into early December.

 Challenges Breed Opportunities

“Challenges breed opportunities.” We have certainly seen our share of challenges in 2020, but throughout it all, we have also found incredible opportunities. I remain proud of the work that we are all doing together to serve our students and our communities with excellence. You are continuing to focus on our mission and vision and creatively solving problems and using innovative design thinking to remove barriers. It is my great privilege to have the honor of working alongside you!

Warm Regards,

Dr. Janet N. Spriggs
President
Forsyth Technical Community College