Vista College Wins “Innovator of the Year” Award at CCST 2015 Annual Awards Conference

RICHARDSON, TEXAS –January 6, 2016 – The Career Colleges and Schools of Texas (CCST) awarded Vista College the “Innovator of the Year” Award in recognition of implementing an innovative program (The S.A.V.E. Process) within the school to solve the problem of students withdrawing from school, which improves students’ lives as well as business results for Vista College. The award was presented to Vista College’s CEO Jim Tolbert and Jewel Reid, Corporate Director of Process Excellence, at CCST’s 2015 Annual November Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
“What really caught my attention when reading Vista’s submission, was the depth of statistical analysis they presented,” said Jeff Brown, CCST Chair. “You just don’t see that. Typically, when there’s a problem such as retention and improvements are needed, most organizations will just try to come up with a solution, but they don’t attack the problem like Vista College did. Another benefit of putting this kind of time and effort into finding a solution is that it can lead to the discovery of other things along the way that may also need to be addressed. CCST was quite impressed with Vista’s approach to tackling this problem, and we feel they are very deserving of this honor.”

The S.A.V.E. Process is a multi-departmental advisement structure designed to prevent students from withdrawing and to inform them of the consequences of withdrawing. The process normally begins with the program director advising the student, but it is designed so that any campus employee can become involved and direct the student as needed. The S.A.V.E. acronym stands for Seek the truth; Acknowledge their reality; Verbalize and visualize successful solutions; and Engage in next steps. It is implemented for students who give notification in person, by phone, or letter, of their desire to withdraw from school.

“Vista College utilized a systematic project approach to solve the problem of students dropping out,” said Jewel Reid, Corporate Director of Process Excellence, Education Futures Group, LLC / Vista College. “In my opinion, this is one of the greatest things about winning the award. Many times in education, staff members simply try to come up with quick solutions. This thorough approach enabled us to address many factors that caused the problem and create a series of steps to ensure successful outcomes – most importantly, keeping our students in school so they have the opportunity to get a good education and a better chance in life.”

The S.A.V.E. Process, implemented across Vista College’s seven Texas on-ground campuses (Amarillo, Beaumont, College Station, El Paso, Killeen, Longview and Lubbock), its Las Cruces, New Mexico, campus and the Vista College – Online Campus, resulted in approximately 900 students going through the S.A.V.E. process since July 2014.

“We are excited to have The S.A.V.E. Process in place already making a difference, and we look forward to continued positive retention results from our students across all campuses,” said Jim Tolbert, CEO, Education Futures Group, LLC / Vista College. “We’ve learned how to better identify and monitor at-risk populations before they leave school; we’ve developed processes to provide visibility into trends that highlight drop risk; and we are providing students with solutions to the academic and life challenges that create their desire to drop. It goes without saying that this is a win-win for both the students and the college. Congratulations to our hard-working staff, whose dedication to our students will, without question, result in even more innovative programs in the future.”

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