San Jacinto College Accelerates Student Support for College Preparatory Courses With Starfish

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Courses Serve as a Bellwether for Student Success and Require Timely Problem Identification and Intervention

With Starfish, we are now able to spend more time helping students instead of being caught up in paperwork.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, announced today that San Jacinto College has adopted Starfish® to streamline and standardize its approach to student tracking and success intervention for the institution’s college preparatory courses.

Now in its 48th year, San Jacinto College is a public community college serving East Harris County, Texas. Comprised of three campuses and seven extension centers, the institution serves more than 27,000 students, offering more than 140 degrees and certificates in university transfer and technical programs. As a Title V institution, the college works to enhance and expand its capacity to serve Hispanic and low-income students.

“Approximately 53 percent of the students at San Jacinto College are first-generation college students,” said Niki Whiteside, vice president of educational technology at San Jacinto College. “We have a tremendous opportunity to introduce a whole generation to the benefits of higher education. At the same time, we have a responsibility to teach them how college works and how to get through the system. As a result, we need support tools to keep track of our students in a more efficient and effective way.”

Nearly a quarter of all students are enrolled in a variety of college preparatory courses in reading, math and writing. These courses lay the foundation for future coursework and provide valuable insight into a student’s ultimate ability to be successful in college. Given the importance of these courses and the logistics of offering the courses at each of its campuses, the institution has sought to standardize its approach to student tracking and success intervention.

“For obvious reasons, we pay a lot of attention to students in college preparatory courses,” said Whiteside. “We have selected Starfish to help us make certain that our faculty and advisors are looking at the same indicators of student success and following the same workflow to ensure that we are getting to students as quickly as possible to offer help and keep them on track. With Starfish, we are now able to spend more time helping students instead of being caught up in paperwork.”

Accessible with a single login to an institution’s portal system or course management system (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT or ANGEL), Starfish EARLY ALERT™ is an early warning and student-tracking system that makes it possible for instructors, advisors and academic staff to identify at-risk students in real time. Starfish CONNECT™, an education networking support system, helps students access a personal contact list of instructors, advisors and counselors who are dedicated to helping them succeed. Together the systems generate valuable performance and resource utilization data for the institution, which help optimize future service offerings.

“Starfish Retention Solutions is pleased to be supporting San Jacinto College as it develops new and innovative ways of improving student performance in its developmental courses,” said David Yaskin, CEO and founder of Starfish Retention Solutions. “Decades of research support the importance of ensuring that students have a solid foundation for college-level coursework. Starfish is committed to helping institutions identify students who are having trouble so that the appropriate support services can be provided – before it is too late.”

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The company offers a collection of software solutions that harness the power of the campus community in order to engage, motivate and graduate more students – securing valuable tuition revenue through student retention. Specifically, the solutions help institutions identify at-risk students in real time, based on their daily coursework performance, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit


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John Plunkett
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