Things to Know – Friday, April 28, 2017

Commencement is just around the corner now…May 26th. I can’t believe it. My three months (First 100 days) @SWC has gone quickly, and now…Commencement. I am trying to put together a letter to you about what I have heard, some of my observations since arriving, and to share some of the steps implemented and planned. I hope to have that out to you next week. Thank you for sharing your stories, concerns, and commitment to students. Many of you have either emailed me or taken the time to make an appointment to share your thoughts. I appreciate your honesty.

Eloy Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges sent a letter with some of his thoughts late yesterday. I am attaching to my email this morning, because he makes some very important points in his letter and raises some concerns and actions that I believe we should take seriously. The issues Chancellor Oakley raises are what I call “wake me up at 2 a.m. moments”…California has invested a lot of money in community colleges to help us support student achievement and the progress is very slow. The question is, will the legislature continue to provide this financial support when the progress is so slow or not happening?

Did you know that California has invested $1.5 billion dollars in community college student success initiatives since 2012?

These initiatives include: Student Equity, Student Success and Support Programs, Basic Skills Initiative, Career Pathways Trust Fund, and the Strong Workforce.

Did you also know that the completion rates for our six-year cohorts have not improved as a system or @SWC:

System                                                                                   Southwestern

2011-12 49.2%                                                                                    44.3%

2012-13 48.6%                                                                                    44.0%

2013-14 47.5%                                                                                    44.1%

2014-15 47.3%                                                                                    40.4%

2015-16 48.0%                                                                                    42.6%

Chancellor Oakley called on all of us to focus on “immediate steps” that are proven to “move the needle” on student achievement:

  1. the use of standardized placement exams and implement multiple measures placement.
  2. Take an aggressive and intentional approach in implementing remedial education reforms.
  3. Align and implement practices that improve student outcomes, examples are curricular articulation, dual enrollment, and summer bridge programs. He also asks us to consider strong College Promise programs to assist with student economic insecurity.

SWC is one of the 20 California Pathways Colleges and is at varying degrees of implementation in many of the other areas. I hope we will really focus our “intention” on helping our students achieve. I know many of you are, as I visit different meetings and talk with many of you, I see your heart and efforts toward student equity and achievement. Thank you for that commitment. Please take a few moments to read Chancellor Oakley’s letter and check out some of his links.

So, are you ready for something inspiring? Check out this video from Patrice Milkovich on Second Chance Pell:

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

I sincerely hope you have a good weekend and come back rested and ready to sprint toward Commencement.