Completion Coach motivates Weekend College students to persist to graduation

Jessica Falla, Weekend College Completion Coach
Jessica Falla, Completion Coach for the Weekend College at Lee College, counsels a student during a session in her office. The Completion Coach works with Weekend College students to offer support and help break down barriers they encounter before enrolling in the program and through graduation. A free information session about the Weekend College is set for Thursday, April 13.

BAYTOWN, TX — As a community college graduate who took developmental classes, commuted to her Queens, N.Y., campus and juggled schoolwork with caring for her grandmother, Jessica Falla is especially well suited for her role as the Completion Coach for Lee College’s innovative Weekend College program.

Whenever a Weekend College student needs help with a problem inside or outside of the classroom, Falla is only a phone call, text message, email or visit away — and many students credit the consistent, warm and knowledgeable support of their Completion Coach for motivating them to conquer challenges and persist toward their degree.

“The common ground is that everyone is filled to the brim with responsibilities. No one can be just a college student; they have all of these roles they play that have to remain intact even while they go to school,” said Falla, who holds a Master of Education degree in school counseling.

“I understand what it’s like being pulled in so many different directions, and I was always grateful for the personal interactions I had with staff and counselors when I was in college,” she said. “I want students to walk into my office and feel they can relax and open up. Whatever barrier they’re facing, I take it on with them and we will overcome it together.”

Weekend College students can earn associate’s degrees in less than 2 years by attending classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Funded through a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program caters to adult learners and others who want to advance their careers but have to balance classes with work and other responsibilities.

A free information session for prospective Weekend College students will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Faculty, staff and current students will outline the five different majors offered — Transfer in Allied Health, General Studies – Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management, Industrial Welding Technology and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology — and give details about enrolling for the Fall 2017 semester. Information will be available in English and Spanish, and refreshments will be provided.

Additional information sessions are set for May 21, June 10, July 18 and Aug. 2.

Weekend College students are kept together in small cohorts of 18-25 people from enrollment to graduation or transfer. Courses are offered at multiple Lee College locations to make them more convenient, and many are delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction. With block scheduling, students know exactly which courses to take and when they will be held — and once accepted into the program, they are guaranteed to always have the classes they need for their degree.

For her part as Completion Coach, Falla considers herself to be a student advocate. She regularly drops by classes and makes herself available on Fridays, Saturdays and any day students need her. She helps them decide if the Weekend College is the right fit for their goals; connects them to campus and community resources; invites them to bring their children and families to college events; and breaks down the parts of applying for and attending college that overwhelm them the most.

It’s also important to encourage students to take ownership of their education and be accountable for their own learning and success, said Falla, who enjoys being a role model and trusted adviser as they pursue higher education and work toward a brighter future.

“I get to know these students for two years and watch them graduate,” she said. “We’re very lucky to see them grow, adjust and reach their reward. It’s a great and wonderful experience.”

For more details about the Weekend College at Lee College or the upcoming information sessions, contact Falla at 281.425.6421 or Outreach and Recruitment Specialist Sharon Guillory at 832.556.5776, or visit www.lee.edu/weekend.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Weekend College still enrolling students for fall

Free info session on July 26 will include more details about program for adult learners

BAYTOWN, TX — When Cathy Graham made the decision to enroll in the Weekend College at Lee College, she was tired of being a secretary and eager to embark on a new career path — but also a little apprehensive about returning to the classroom after many years away.

Graham’s journey in the Weekend College, in which students earn associate’s degrees in less than 2 years by attending classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays, has been better than she could have imagined. In her very first class in the Computer and Network Maintenance Technology program, she learned how to build a computer from scratch; now, even coworkers in her department at NASA come to her for help troubleshooting their machines. She marvels at how much she has learned so quickly.

“When we started this, we never thought that in a year and 9 months we’d be graduating,” said Graham, a grandmother of three and long-time Baytonian who will walk across the stage in May to receive her Associate of Applied Science degree. “I didn’t believe it at first, but our instructors knew. They are our cheerleaders. I learned to start trusting.”

Funded through a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Weekend College is designed for adult learners and those juggling work, school and other responsibilities. A free information session about the program will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 26, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Faculty, staff and students will provide more details about enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester, share experiences and answer questions. Free food and refreshments will be provided.

Weekend College students can choose from five different Associate of Art and Associate of Applied Science degree program options: Industrial Welding Technology, Computer and Network Maintenance Technology, Business Administration and Management, Transfer Allied Health and General Studies – Social Science. The program uses a cohort model that keeps the same groups of students together from enrollment to graduation or transfer, and class sizes average just 18-25 students.

Through 3-week and 8-week bridge courses, Weekend College students are able to move more quickly from developmental classes into credit classes. Classes are offered at multiple Lee College locations to enhance convenience and flexibility, and many are delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction. Weekend College courses are never dropped; once accepted into the program, students will always have the courses they need for their degree.

Students in the Weekend College also receive personalized advising, financial assistance and tutoring offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A completion coach provides assistance with the application process, financial aid and registration, and continues to help students through each semester until graduation or transfer.

The overwhelming support of her Weekend College instructors and classmates helped calm Graham’s initial fears about going back to school, and has kept her motivated to succeed. She looks forward to completing her associate’s degree and moving on to her bachelor’s and master’s — and feels confident her Weekend College family will always be there to cheer her on as she pursues a career in information systems and security.

“You have to commit yourself and your time to the program,” Graham said. “Believe in yourself and don’t give up; never give up. The Weekend College has been a great experience that I am so glad I’ve had.”

For more about Lee College’s Weekend College or the July 26 information session, contact Completion Coach Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or visit www.lee.edu/weekend.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit

Free info sessions on Weekend College set for July 20 & 26

Students in program earn associate’s degrees by taking classes Fridays and Saturdays only

BAYTOWN, TX – Adult learners and those juggling work, school and other responsibilities can learn more this month about Lee College’s Weekend College, a specially designed program that allows students to earn an associate’s degree in less than two years by taking classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays.

The Weekend College will host open information sessions from 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 20, and Tuesday, July 26, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Faculty, staff and students will provide more details about the program and enrollment for the fall 2016 semester, share their experiences and answer questions. Free food and refreshments will be provided.

Weekend College students can choose from five different Associate of Art and Associate of Applied Science degree program options: Welding Technology, Computer and Network Maintenance Technology, Business, General Transfer Allied Health and General Transfer Social Science. The program uses a cohort model that keeps the same groups of students together from enrollment to graduation or transfer, and class sizes average just 18-25 students.

Through three-week and eight-week bridge courses, Weekend College students are able to move more quickly from developmental classes into credit classes. Classes are offered at multiple Lee College locations to enhance convenience, and many are delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction. Weekend College courses are never dropped; once accepted into the program, students will always have the courses they need for their degree.

Students in the Weekend College also receive personalized advising, financial assistance and tutoring offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A completion coach provides assistance with the application process, financial aid and registration, and continues to help students through each semester until graduation or transfer.

The Weekend College is funded through a $2.7 million First in the World Grant awarded to Lee College by the U.S. Department of Education. For more about the program or the upcoming information sessions, contact Completion Coach Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or visit www.lee.edu/weekend.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Open house June 11 at Lee College Education Center — South Liberty County

Community invited to discover all the programs & services the new campus has to offer

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College invites the community to a free open house at the new Lee College Education Center — South Liberty County to explore the campus and learn more about the classes, camps, and programs offered there.

The open house will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, June 11, at the education center at 1715 Highway 146 Bypass in Liberty. Participants will enjoy free food, giveaways, raffle drawings, and the chance to meet the Runnin’ Rebels basketball team. Get important information about how to begin the enrollment and registration process for credit and non-credit classes, community education courses, summer camps, teaching opportunities, and more available at the center this summer and fall.

Representatives from Lee College academic and technical programs and the offices of Outreach and Recruitment, Student Career and Employment and Student Success will be available to answer questions and share details about resources and services. Prospective students can learn which college courses and degree programs they can take at the South Liberty County education center, and parents can learn more about the Dual-Credit Institute, which allows students in five neighboring school districts — Anahuac, Dayton, Liberty, Hardin and Hull-Daisetta — to earn a college credential by the time they graduate from high school.

The Lee College Education Center — South Liberty County opened in January to advance the college’s commitment to enhance the academic resources and workforce training offered throughout the region by providing a wide range of programs for students of all ages. Summer classes will begin June 20 and run through Aug. 12.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.