Raising three boys under age 11 at home is challenging enough for Dr. Simon Crawford and his wife, Tracy. Crawford embraces that challenge and also takes on being “Dad” to 50 students at NorthBridge College Success Program.
Dr. Crawford is a role model Dad both at home and at work. During weekdays he teaches, mentors and supports post-secondary students who have learning differences. Because of him and the team at NorthBridge, post-secondary students who learn differently and have previously failed in their attempts at college are succeeding. Eighty-two students received NorthBridge support this academic year while attending universities including ASU, NAU, GCU, and Maricopa community colleges including at Scottsdale, Glendale and Paradise Valley. Because of this program, which involves tutoring students in the way they learn, mentoring and supporting them with the challenges of time management and college enrollment, these students are no longer failing. In fact, they are achieving an average GPA of over a 3.0 and are enjoying success which will lead toward future employment. Seven more students just graduated from their post-secondary programs last month.
Crawford recently was awarded his doctoral degree from ASU. His dissertation was an analysis of community college success factors among students classified as learning disabled and/or on the autism spectrum. The success factors identified have been incorporated into NorthBridge support systems for students. Crawford is a former high school instructor at New Way Academy, a K-12 program for students with learning differences. He and a small group of parents and community members felt their graduating high school students needed support to make it through college, community college and vocational training. They founded NorthBridge College Success Program to meet that need. Beyond academic support and mentoring, Crawford leads a program that teaches organization, self-advocacy and provides social opportunities to boost these skills. It’s because of NorthBridge that seven of his “kids” (recent graduates) produced a video of thanks.
This summer, Crawford and NorthBridge team are supporting 20 students who have decided to build upon their successful progress and take summer courses. One student will be finishing up her last couple of requirements for an Associates Degree, before transferring to ASU; another is taking two community college courses before moving to Tucson to start of the U of A, and another is completing a 40 page research paper that will put him on track to graduate from ASU in December.
According to Jason Moore, Executive Director of NorthBridge, “The number of students with learning disabilities enrolling in college is on the rise. And the difference between success and failure for these unique learners isn’t trouble understanding course content, it’s academic confidence and resiliency. With the right support, these students don’t just succeed but they excel, doing much better than their neurologically typical peers. NorthBridge is making a difference.”