Skip to main content

Pottawattamie Promise

Pottawattamie Promise logo
Pottawattamie Promise is an Iowa West Foundation initiative designed to:

  • Better prepare high school students for post-secondary education
  • Eliminate financial and other barriers to access with tuition scholarships and support services
  • Support and counsel students to pursue a college degree and/or to complete a certificate program

View the Eligibility Requirements

Pottawattamie Promise is based on the belief that students who receive both education and wraparound support services can and will go on to earn competitive wages in fulfilling careers and contribute to their communities. Put simply, the program allows more local students the opportunity to earn the credentials they need to acquire well-paid jobs upon graduation.

Pottawattamie Promise recognition Breakfast for the 2019 scholarship recipients.

Pottawattamie Promise recognition Breakfast for the 2019 scholarship recipients.

How it Works

Students apply for the program during their senior year of high school. Preference is given to first-generation, low-income students who fall in the academic middle and for whom college would not be possible without scholarships and support services. Part of the selection process includes an interview with high school and college representatives.

Pottawattamie Promise students also receive tailored and targeted supports to help them succeed. This includes career exploration and planning, proactive (also known as intrusive) advising, co-curricular supports and a summer series which aims to smooth the transition from high school to college.

The support services continue throughout their time at Iowa Western. Specialized orientation keeps the students together as a group. College advisors are very deliberate when working with the students to ensure they take advantage of academic tutoring, writing and math labs, and other interventions to help them build a growth mindset.

A management committee comprised of administrators and counselors from each school district, as well as Iowa Western Community College, meet regularly to continually improve and evolve the program to best support students. For instance, mental health education has been added to the summer series, and families, not just the students, are involved throughout the process.


Pottawattamie Promise is a unique collaboration, led by Iowa West Foundation, in partnership with Peter Kiewit Foundation and Iowa Western Community College. The participating school districts include two urban school districts (Council Bluffs Community Schools and Lewis Central Community Schools) and three rural school districts (Riverside, AHSTW and Tri-Center).

College Road signOutcomes

Pottawattamie Promise students have higher high school and college grade point averages than their peers. The persistence rate for these students is TWICE that of other first-time, full-time students. The three-year college graduation rate is higher, too – 23 percent higher.

Pottawattamie Promise and its students will help establish Pottawattamie County as a premier education community with a strong, trained workforce.

Benchmarks include:

1. Increased high school graduation rates
2. Increased number of students college/certificate and career-ready
3. Increased postsecondary enrollment and completion
4. Seamless education to career pathways
5. A culture where earning a college degree, obtaining professional certification, or becoming skilled in a trade is the norm in our community.


McKinzie Bricker
AHSTW Community School District

Angie Huseman
Tri-Center School District

Jordan Norris
Iowa Western Community College

Tim Mitchell
Riverside Community School District

Lu Peverill
Lewis Central Community School District
712-366-8212 ext. 7358

Montana Renter
Council Bluffs Community School District
712-328-6514 Ext. 11344

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.


Enter your email address to receive updates from the Iowa West Foundation directly in your inbox.