APRIL 15, 2020
Dear Colleagues,

In this time, the collective campus footprint of higher education is rendered silent.  Hallways lack shuffle-borne squeaks from tennis shoes, light switches have dimmed, radiators no longer interrupt silent moments of thought, cafeterias lost their smell, break rooms are clean, and parking lots where students once vied for a spot sit vacant.  
But an institution is more than just its campus; it is the energy brought to that physical space by the people who make it a community.  Sounds, echoes and stark quiet of concentration have dispersed to millions of new confines. Desks, tables, couches, patios, porches, roofs, basements or any other nook where the desire to improve our understanding through learning from and with each other serve as the origin of our collective voice.  It is something we will never lose – the desire and yearning to connect, create, and collaborate to contribute to ourselves, our families and our communities.

While the times are not easy, our ability to innovate, elevate and recreate how and what we learn are immutable. You have power.  You are the campus. You are needed by others.  Your voice matters.    


Christopher M. Mullin, Ph.D.
Director, Strong Start to Finish
In the midst of this nationwide pandemic, we are seeing Scaling Sites lead the way in moving quickly to adapt to this new teaching landscape while addressing the needs of students, faculty and staff and the general community.

Among the highlights:
  • Creating online resources with up to date information that teachers and students can use to adapt their classroom curriculum to online education.
  • Providing laptops for students who need them to complete spring and summer courses that have been moved online.
  • Making financial decisions such as keeping tuition stable for 2020-21, mindful of the financial impact the pandemic is having on students and their families; and creating student assistance funds.
  • Using now-vacant campuses as housing for health care workers and for virus testing sites.
  • Holding daily and weekly briefing calls with system and institution leaders to provide real-time support and share best practices that can be scaled across systems.

It is for reasons such as these, and countless others, we consider ourselves lucky to work with the leaders of these systems.
We know you have all had and taken time to read the Core Principles for Transforming Remedial Education Within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy: A Statement from the Field.  And, while we haven’t provided a book talk about the riveting information yet, we do offer you this resource: A webinar that provides additional nuance into the Core Principles and how they guide the work of Strong Start to Finish. 

Please take the time to enjoy a recorded webinar using this link.

SSTF's partner network serves as critical support for systems and institutions which are implementing actionable, evidence-based policy and practice about student entry to, and success in, their initial year of college at scale. It engages leaders, practitioners and partners in a network of value focused on working at scale.  One way of doing so is by developing content of value. 

Today, as our partners, states and systems work to meet the ever-changing needs of institutions responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, Strong Start to Finish remains ready to help support their efforts. The following is a list of SSTF Network Partner Covid-19 response resources:

Education Commission of the States

 The Charles A. Dana Center
  • Hosting a free webinar about moving co requisite classes online and offers additional online resources  
Association of College and University Educators
  • Coronavirus response page which includes freely available toolkit and resources to help faculty transition their courses online, and curated essential guidance on the six key topics of welcoming students to the online environment, managing your online presence, organizing your online course, planning and facilitating quality discussions, recording effective micro-lectures, and engaging students in readings and micro-lectures.
Achieving the Dream

For additional developmental education reform resources, please visit our Strong Start to Finish resource library and Covid-19 resources from our Solution Network Intermediary partners Every Learner Everywhere Digital Solution Network and Advising Success Network.

  • In the short term the Strong Start to Finish team is not traveling, as scheduled events have been cancelled in an abundance of caution.  We recognize all too well the effort that goes into planning an event and stand by the decisions our partners in the field are making.
  • We will be engaging in webinars and are a willing partner to provide webinars when requested and where possible. Please do reach out if your system or organization would like an opportunity to engage with the work.
Our mailing address is:
700 Broadway, Suite 810
Denver, Colorado 80203-3442

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