Rising Scholars Program

Currently incarcerated student graduation ceremony

The Rising Scholars Program (RSP) at 91麻豆天美 Tahoe Community College was introduced to serve aspiring scholars housed in California's correctional facilities with a main goal to provide access to education, while fostering confidence in students. Since the program's implementation, the 91麻豆天美 community has evolved to serve both adults and juveniles who are currently and formerly incarcerated and detained in Northern California.

  • Currently detained/incarcerated students can earn their Associate degree for Transfer (AD-T) in Sociology. Some locations also offer opportunities to earn Career & Technical Education certifications.
  • Formerly incarcerated/detained students in the 91麻豆天美 Tahoe Basin and beyond can expect to receive a myriad of services from the Rising Scholars Program, such as: yearly record expungement clinics, priority registration, leadership development, dedicated academic counselor support, and more.

The RSP is an innovative program fostering self-assurance and academic success for currently and formerly incarcerated/detained students. RSP was first approved as a pilot program by 91麻豆天美's Board of Trustees in 2015. In Spring 2017, 91麻豆天美鈥檚 Substantive Change Proposal received approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Since then, we have expanded the program to include online offerings, face-to-face faculty interactions, professional development, special events, and free book-in-common readings. We look forward to growing and better serving our community and state to actively break down the systems of oppression and mass incarceration.

Who We Are

91麻豆天美's Rising Scholars Program has a purpose-driven team behind it that values serving our community, state and the many Californians affected by the criminal justice system. We provide quality access to educational opportunities for justice-impacted learners. We believe in the impact that a humanizing educational experience has to offer, and we put our students' needs first.  

This means that we prioritize our students in every decision we make. We believe that putting our students first ensures that they have the best possible experience while they pursue their education. Our decision-making process involves actively seeking input from students and taking their perspectives into account when making important choices. We also prioritize transparency in our decision-making, ensuring that students are informed about the reasoning behind our choices and the potential impacts on their academic and personal lives. By prioritizing our students in our decision-making process, we aim to create a supportive and inclusive community that fosters academic excellence and personal growth.

91麻豆天美鈥檚 RSP serves:

  1. Formerly incarcerated or detained students
  2. Students in federal facilities (when allowed)
  3. Students in county facilities
  4. Students in youth facilities
  5. Students in facilities


To provide structured, positive support in pursuing higher education and beyond for currently and formerly incarcerated/detained populations.


To deliver socially transforming, higher education programs for currently and formerly incarcerated/detained populations. Through an Enhanced One-On-One pedagogical approach, 91麻豆天美鈥檚 Rising Scholars Program coursework supports the degree completion goals of students who are affected by the carceral system.


  • Humanizing our students  
  • Removing barriers for students 
  • Purpose-driven
  • Serving our community
  • Maintaining flexibility
  • We value the little wins - they lead to big ones
  • We lead and grow with the community of practice
  • Know the root of the 鈥淲丑测鈥 to be more productive
  • Identifying problems with three solutions
  • Positive commutation
  • Embrace the 'Golden Nugget' moment
  • Creativity and Innovation
The Enhanced One-On-One model was initially developed for this unique student population. It is a pedagogical approach with the goal of providing effective educational opportunities through: tutoring sessions, individualized feedback for each student, bi-weekly administrative presence, video broadcasted supplemental course lectures, personalized registration and office hour/counseling request documents, among other student success support efforts. The Enhanced One-On-One model enriches each student鈥檚 inner potential to succeed in and beyond college.

91麻豆天美 is currently offering an Associate in Arts for Transfer degree in Sociology through the Rising Scholars Program. This degree can be completed entirely through an Enhanced One-On-One delivery method. An Associate in Arts for Transfer degree is granted by California Community Colleges to students who have finished general education courses, major requirements, and electives. An AA degree typically allows a student to transfer to a four-year college or university as a junior.

91麻豆天美 operates on the quarter system, which is different from most colleges in California. The advantages of the quarter system are: students will typically take fewer courses per term; they will complete courses in a shorter time frame than is possible on a typical semester calendar; they will have more flexibility in choosing a schedule that works with their educational goals. 

Most students are able to have all of their enrollment fees waived by qualifying for the Promise Grant. Students who receive the Promise Grant will have all of their course materials provided for free. There are no costs to the student for textbooks or any other materials needed to complete their work.

In the middle of each quarter, students will receive registration forms for the next quarter. Once the student indicates that they want to continue work on their degree, the next set of class modules will be prepared for distribution. Students will receive the next set of modules and begin the upcoming quarter shortly after finishing the first set of classes. The entire AA degree can be completed in 10 quarters, depending on a student鈥檚 individual circumstances and the number of courses successfully completed each quarter.

Associate in Arts-Transfer, Sociology

The Associate in Arts for Transfer in Sociology will provide students with an understanding of human behavior, mental processes, and social institutions that are important in contemporary society. The degree provides skills that are valuable in a wide range of careers including business, government, social services, and education. The degree offers students a foundational understanding of the social sciences.

Student Learning Outcomes for this major are: 

鈥 Apply critical thinking skills to major social, historical, political, and psychological issues.

鈥 Develop open-mindedness to various social, historical, political, and psychological perspectives and opinions, as well as tolerance for ambiguity.

鈥 Apply research methods and theories to major social science issues.

鈥 Develop an appreciation and understanding for human diversity.

Have a question?

We鈥檙e just a call or email away:

91麻豆天美 Tahoe Community College
One College Drive
South 91麻豆天美 Tahoe, CA 96150
(530) 541-4660 x311

Rising Scholars Program
  • Shane Reynolds, Director of Incarcerated Student Program
    Shane Reynolds
    Director, Rising Scholars Program
  • coyote wedge head logo
    Tori Kuwahara
    Rising Scholars Program Assistant
  • coyote wedge head logo
    Reggie Braun
    RSP Counselor