The Math Performance Success (MPS) program was launched in 1999 when its creator and first director, Dr. Carolyn Wilkens-Greene, noticed that some of her African American students were delaying transfer because they could not complete Algebra. After extensive research on the best innovations for student success, specifically African American students, Dr. Wilkens-Greene formed a learning community comprised of a Counselor, a Tutor, a Math Instructor, and a cohort of 20 African American male students and named this innovation the MPS Program. This newly formed learning community began at the lowest level of Algebra through Statistics and provided African American students with a learning community with embedded student services to help them succeed in Math.
Resources for piloting the MPS program included one counselor, Pauline Wethington, math instructors, Chris Avery and Richard Lopez, and a tutor. Although there were limited resources, the success of the MPS program was immediate. In 2000, the MPS program was open to all students, and two years later, it was awarded the Partnerships of Excellence Grant, which paid for an MPS counselor. Because of the MPS program's continued success, the MPS counselor position became institutionalized, with Herminio Hernando serving in this role for 15 years.
From the program's conception, the MPS program has had overwhelming support from the District Chancellor, senior administrators, and faculty that all have encouraged and assisted with the continued expansion of the MPS program. In 2002, the MPS program won the California Community College Chancellor's award. In 2008, Mission college emulated the MPS program and launched the Math Achievement Pathways to Success (MAPS) program. In the same year, the MPS program became a recipient of a Hewlett Foundation cash award for excellence in basic skills education.
In 2016, the MPS program was awarded a $1.34 million grant from the Community Colleges Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation (BSSOT) Program to scale up and redesign the MPS program at De Anza College. This grant enabled the program to hire more Counselors to serve more MPS sections and offer more resources to support students. In 2019, the MPS program was awarded $1.9 Million as a "2017-18 Innovation in Higher Education" awardee from the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. Funds were used to expand the MPS STEM pathway, increasing the share of students finishing the Pre-Calculus series (Math 41, 42, 43), and extend the MPS Program to Foothill College.
Today, MPS has a large team that consists of one full-time Director, one part-time program Coordinator, three full-time Counselors, seven to ten Instructors, two part-time Instructional Support Technicians, and 10 to 15 tutors, all serving 280 to 350 students a quarter. The MPS program at De Anza College continues to be extraordinarily successful in helping students who have previously struggled with Math to persist and succeed in completing their required Math.