Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, April 29, 2017 and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Yesterday was the culmination of an incredible day after an incredible week.  So much activity at BC that I will need to punt some of the events to next week’s blog.  Let me start my blog with The Kern Promise.

Bryon Schaefer Sonya Christian Horace Mitchell April 28 2017

Bryon Schaefer, Sonya Christian, Horace Mitchell

Imagine: Over the next 10 years, Kern County will advance our education attainment rates, increase the health of our community, engage our youth, and decrease poverty.

Kern Promise Logo

In Kern County, one in four residents live in poverty, with just 22% of Kern County residents 25 years of age and older holding an Associate’s Degree or higher, compared with California’s average of 39%. In the next ten years, more than six out of ten jobs will require employees to have more than a high school diploma. Today, only 40% of U.S. adults ages 25–64 are adequately prepared for the workforce.

Education is the key to equity, social mobility, and economic prosperity. This drives the work of educators throughout Kern County, and been the foundation for envisioned and implemented institutional, instructional, and student service policy changes locally and statewide in recent years.

KernPromiseEvent Horace Mitchell Sonya Christian Bryon Schafer.jpg

Horace Mitchell, Sonya Christian, Bryon Schaefer

 

With a critical lens on issues of equitable educational attainment, Kern County educators and industry leaders have been working to provide opportunities for applied learning through internships with business and industry partners, to embed academic support services for first generation and low- income students throughout the students’ pathways, and create pathways for success. Albeit a grand vision, the community is committed and inspired to usher in this vision, the promise of a college opportunity: The Kern Promise.

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Yesterday was an incredible day. It was one of hope, laughter, excitement, enthusiasm, but most of all – a promise. In front of almost 1,000 Kern County High School students, I was joined on stage by community leaders, political representatives, and industry partners to pledge our commitment to The Kern Promise.

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By working together with Kern High School District and CSUB, the Kern Promise is a commitment in action at Bakersfield College to help students complete their Associate Degree for Transfer within two instructional years through structured support, priority access to courses, and financial assistance to those who qualify. The Kern Promise focuses on a shared responsibility model where students will work with Completion Coaches and follow a clear path to success. In return, each promise student is required to maintain good academic standing and commit to their studies.

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Bree Parks

It was bright and sunny morning yesterday and as each school filled the stands at the Outdoor Theater, our student emcee, Bree Parks, shouted their school names and a roar spread across the auditorium. While they waited for the event to begin, students were engaged in games, videos, group selfies, and activities chanting, “We are BC!”

When our program began, Chancellor Tom Burke, gave his remarks exclaiming that the Kern Promise would be one of the best ways our future Renegades can contribute to the future of our city, state, community, and their own personal lives as well.

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Chancellor Tom Burke with dignitaries

I was joined by the initiative’s founding partnering institutions – Kern High School District Superintendent, Bryon Schaefer, and CSUB President, Horace Mitchell who also shared their excitement of the program. I remember specifically seeing the faces of the many students in the audience when Dr. Mitchell said that promise students who make it through that program, would be guaranteed acceptance into CSUB. Dr. Schaefer said that KHSD would work toward getting more high school students enrolled in college preparatory classes and promoting dual enrollment programs that allow students to complete college courses through BC while still being enrolled in high school.

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Horace Mitchell, Sonya Christian, Bryon Schaefer

The mornings dignitaries and guests even took a moment to share some words with the students before signing a commitment document. Mayor Goh touched on the ways education “transforms and advances communities.” Check out this video!


KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas urged the crowd to look into the program and said,  “Dr. Mitchell would like many of you here today to graduate as Roadrunners, but before you run, you have to walk. If you follow the Promise, everyone here will deliver.”

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Retired Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas

Supervisor Leticia Perez a strong supporter of Bakersfield College and a believer in the tranformative power of education said that she was proudly representing the Fifth District of Kern County.

Leticia Perez The Kern Promise

Supervisor Leticia Perez

Kern Taxpayers’ Association CEO, Michael Turnipseed described The Kern Promise as “instrumental in closing the education gap in Kern County”, while Michael Bowers, speaking for state Senator Andy Vidak, said that the program is “certain to create a pathway to success.”

Michael Turnipseed at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Michael Turnipseed, CEO Kern Taxpayer’s Association

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Michael Bowers representing Senator Andy Vidak

This kind of monumental promise is the kind of promise that only a community, working together can make. Thank you to BC’s educational partners and the KCCD Board of Trustees for providing such a powerful initiative for the students. Thank you to all of these community and industry leaders for supporting education in Kern County. Thank you to the elementary, middle, and high school educators in Bakersfield and in Kern County for preparing students before they begin college.

Mary Barlow Superintendent of Schools April 28 2017

Mary Barlow, Superintendent of Schools, Kern County

Mayor Jose Gurrola a Renegade and a Runner spoke in support of The Kern Promise and shared the vision of having a Bakersfield College satellite campus co-located with Arvin High School.

Mayor Jose Gurrola at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Mayor Jose Gurrola

Mayor Jose Gurrola signing The Kern Promise

Mayor Jose Gurrola signing The Kern Promise

Keenan Hochschild stopped by with a message from Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Sonya Christian with Keenan Hochschild

Keenan Hochschild representing Congressman Kevin McCarthy

 

Michael Herrera representing Senator Jean Fuller.

Michael Herrera at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Michael Herrera representing Senator Jean Fuller at The Kern Promise

 

Lauren Skidmore represented Assembly Member Vince Fong at the event.

Lauren Skidmore for Vince Fong The Kern Promise

 

Amanda Sampson represented Assembly Member Rudy Salas

Andrea Sampson representing Rudy Salas at The Kern Promise

Amanda Sampson representing Assembly Member Rudy Salas

The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a great partner of BC.  Here is Jay Tamsi, CEO of the KCHCC

Jay Tamsi at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Jay Tamsi, CEO KCHCC

Nick Ortiz, CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce pledged his support for The Kern Promise

Nick Ortiz at The kern Promise

Nick Ortiz, CEO Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce

Kristen Barnes, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation pledged scholarship dollars to support The Kern Promise students.

Kristen Barnes at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Kristen Barnes, CEO, Kern Community Foundation

Here is Adam Alvidrez pledging Chevron’s support to advancing educational attainment.  Chevron has supported CSUB, BC, Taft College consistently over the years.  Adam, in his truly Adam way, then slaps on a BC baseball cap before he signs The Kern Promise.

Adam Alvidrez of Chevron at The Kern Promise

Adam Alvidrez, Chevron

Adam Alvidrez signing the Kern Promise with the BC hat

Adam Alvidrez

 

It was great to have Wonderful Company represented by Rebecca Farley.  BC has partnered with Wonderful to provide Pathways that start in the 9th grade.

Rebecca Farley for Wonderful Academy at The Kern Promise

Rebecca Farley representing Wonderful

Richard Chapman, CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) wholeheartedly supporting The Kern Promise.

Richard Chapman at The Kern Promise April 28 2017

Richard Chapman, CEO, KEDC

But perhaps most importantly – thank you to our future students for believing that you can, knowing that you can, and pushing yourself to excel. You are the future of Kern County and you are the reason for the promise and the inspiration for all that we do. And thank you for using ASL to sign PROMISE every time the word Promise was mentioned by a speaker.  Thank you Rayven Webb for stopping by my office in the morning and teaching me how to sign PROMISE.  Here I am demonstrating the second half of the word.

 

KernPromiseEven-042817 Sonya Christian ASL Promise

Sonya Christian

This is a promise where our young people can define their own future and I’m so pleased to invite them to take the first step at Bakersfield College with The Kern Promise.

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I can’t thank enough my fellow speakers, leaders, and friends who joined me yesterday to sign The Kern Promise –

Tom Burke – KCCD Chancellor
KernPromiseEven-042817s-64-X3Superintendent Bryon Schaefer – KHSD
President Horace Mitchell – CSUB
Trustee Bill Thomas – KCCD Board of Trustees
Karen Goh – Mayor of Bakersfield
Leticia Perez – Supervisor, County of Kern
Michael Turnipseed – CEO, Kern Taxpayers Association
Michael Herrera – Senator Jean Fuller’s Office
Amanda Sampson – Assembly Member Rudy Salas’ Office
Michael Bowers – Senator Andy Vidak’s Office
Lauren Skidmore – Assembly Member Vince Fong
Nick Ortiz – Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Jay Tamsi – KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Arleana Waller – KC Black Chamber of Commerce
Jose Gurrola – Mayor of Arvin
Rebecca Farley – Wonderful Academy
Adam Alvidrez – Chevron
Kristen Barnes – Kern Community Foundation
Richard Chapman — Kern Economic Development Corporation

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Here are some fun pictures before and after the event

BC Cheer Team at The Kern Promise

BC Cheer Team

Band

BC Drumline Students

Before the Kern Promise April 28 2017

Sonya Christian with BC Students

Dignitaries having fun

Mayor Karen Goh, Jay Tamsi, and Michael Bowers having fun

KernPromiseEven-042817s Karen Goh Sonya Christian Horace Mitchell

Mayor Karen Goh, President Sonya Christian, President Horace Mitchell

After the program, our high school visitors were treated to a resource fair, workshops, and activities on campus. Thank you to Steve Watkin and the Outreach Team! 

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Here is a We Are BC pump up video from Chris Glaser prior to The Kern Promise event.

Thank you to those who worked behind the scenes to make The Kern Promise a reality.

Jennifer Marden, Lesley Bonds, Shannel Tyus, Tom Gelder, Janet Fulks, Chris Glaser, Mary Jo Pasek, Dylan Wang, Monika Scott, Keri Kennedy and many others. 

I don’t have pictures of many of these individuals, but here are pictures of few of them.

 

 

GardenFest on Earth Day

GF1Last Saturday was Earth Day and the BC campus was buzzing for GardenFest 2017. The open house featured the Environmental Horticulture and Agriculture programs for a day of family fun. With over 150 vendor booths featuring gardening, pets, farmer’s market, cooking, arts and crafts, and more… there is something for everyone. The Bakersfield Californian had a nice piece this week highlighting this year’s Gardenfest – check it out here!

The official website for Earth Day says in its history, “On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.”

Today on the site, it says “Education is the foundation for progress” and they offer suggestions for how you can take action in becoming more green. Check out http://www.earthday.org/take-action/ to learn more.

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Renegade Health Fair

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On Wednesday April 19, 2017, BC hosted the Renegade Pulse Health Fair on the lawn between the Student Services building and the Library. The local organizations who attended this Health Fair gave students an opportunity to peruse, discuss, and obtain pertinent information that could aid them and their loved ones in a variety of ways. Some of the local businesses that attended this year’s Health Fair were; Kern Public Health, US Army, Bakersfield Police Department, Blue Shield of California, Child Support Services, WIC, Behavioral Health and Recovery, Covered California, Community Connections for Childcare, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, The Dolores Huerta Foundation, Bakersfield College’s own DSPS and student nursing program who were doing free health screenings, and many more.

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The Bakersfield Pregnancy Center or BPS who was on site with their mobile health van, which allows individuals to obtain free screenings along with free ultrasounds. The Milan Institute booth was one of the biggest attractions, giving much needed neck and back massages to those students who visited and the constant line that was present seemed to speak to the need for some stress relief in this upcoming finals preparation. Another booth that seemed to have captured the attention of many in attendance was the booth on Community Needs Survey.. The individual at the booth was asking everyone to have a voice in Kern County concerning areas they feel are of greatest concern and could use attention. Each person was given five stickers and asked to place them on a chart of local needs.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, which was located directly behind the Community Needs Survey brought attention to the growing need for adequate Mental Illness facilities and care in Kern County as well as passing out green ribbons to commemorate that May is Mental Health Illness month. Throughout the morning and afternoon, a multitude of students frequented the Health Fair, listening to music, walking from booth to booth, obtaining healthy and helpful information and hopefully took away knowledge, and resources that will better their lives. I loved our photo on BC’s instagram of Terri Goldstein out at the Health Fair.  If you’re not following BC on Instagram, check us out at https://www.instagram.com/bakersfieldcollege/ for most up to date snaps and photos.

Instagram

Retail Management Showcase

The Retail Management and Hospitality Showcase sponsored by Deputy Sector Navigator, Shelley Attix (Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Programs) and CTE Transitions took place on Monday. ROC students learned about the sector and received valuable insight about industry trends, employment opportunities, and HS to College pathways and certifications. Thank you BC Faculty and staff including, Mike Ivey, Alex Gomez, Beth Harrison, Lupe Aguilera, Antonio Alfaro and Pam Gomez.

 

Guided Pathways in April 2017 Rostrum

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has a quarterly newsletter titled Senate Rostrum and it was great to see two special BC Faculty had an article published in April’s edition. The article, Guided Pathways: Two Professors’ Perspective on Why We Need the College GPS  by Nick Strobel and Jessica Wojtysiak is a piece worth reading if you’re not familiar with the Guided Pathways project.

 

Talking about Guided Pathways, we had our statewide CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee meeting in LA on Thursday, April 27, 2017.  The one-day meeting funded by College Futures and hosted by Bakersfield College was successful.  We made progress on a few difficult issues which makes the hardship of travel and and other work associated with the meeting, well worth it.  Lesley Bonds and Jessica Wojtsiak are amazing!

Here are some photos:

Lesley Bonds and Jessica Wojtsiak CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee April 27 2017

Lesley Bonds, Jessica Wojtsiak

Sonya Christian Janet Fulks and Craig Hayward at CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee

Sonya Christian, Janet Fulks, Craig Hayward

Sonya Christian and Craig Hayward April 27 2017 at Manhatten Beach

Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward

The Joy and Enchantment of Life

CCCApply Annual Meeting

Michelle Presenting w screen (2)

Every year, the CCCApply and eTranscript California steering committees meet to connect with colleagues at other institutions and discuss the issues unique to the online application to the California Community Colleges (CCCApply) and electronic transcript exchange across California, including CSU, UC, and private universities. This year, it was held on April 12th and 13th at Sacramento City College.  As the Vice Chair, Michelle Pena, BC’s Assistant Director of A&R, helped coordinated the conference, sessions and meals. She provided the introductions for each speaker including Dr. Walker and gave an overall orientation of what the day, the closing, and the raffles. She ran a session on Residency Algorithm 101 with Michael Quiaoit and Natalie Wagner with the CCCCO, in conjunction with Los Medanos.

Dr Walker and Michelle _n

Veterans Club Giving Back

On Friday April 21st the Bakersfield College Veterans Club went to the Bakersfield homeless shelter to serve dinner to the community as well as the people living at the center. They took a tour of all the facilities to better understand where their help may be needed.

Veterans Club

BC’s Korean Culture Festival

The first annual Korean Culture Festival took place at BC this week on April 25th. Students of the Korean Club put together a great event including Korean karaoke, information on the culture and history, a language table to have your name written in Korean script, known as Hangeul, food and snacks, and a table on tourism and UC/CSU study abroad opportunities. Check out the fun photos taken by Belen Martinez at https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Korean-Culture-Festival

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Civic Engagement covered by CHAP in Delano

CHAP2017The Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) hosted its final event for the spring semester. Political Science Professor Charles Kim did a wonderful job moderating an informative panel about civic engagement and the political process with staff members from Congressman David Valadao’s office and State Senator Andy Vidak.  Following a 45-minute discussion about their entrance into local politics, political staffers Ariana Joven (Valadao) and Rogelio Caudillo (Vidak) fielded questions from the audience ranging from immigration reform, human trafficking, water policy, and what prompted their interest in pursuing a career in politics. This was a fun and lively session and connected local issues to the lives of our rural students. We hope this is the first of many future policy-oriented community dialogues our campus can host in the spirit of promoting civic education and participation in the political process.

Penelope Project

I’m always impressed when hear incredible stories about what our BC students are doing with their lives. A recent article on BakersfieldNow.com featured one of our BCSGA students and her incredible story. The article titled, “Local dog owner turns fundraiser into business venture” begins by highlighting Diana Martinez as a BC student studying architecture and photography. She is the founder of the Penelope Project which she started as a way to afford her dog’s medical care after her pet was hit by a car. In the article, Diana says, “I wanted to create a win-win situation, where the people would receive something in return and I did not want it to be an unequal service, I wanted to give the community a service.”

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Congratulations to Sue Vaughn

Sue vaughSue Vaughn was recently honored with the Robert Brown Award for distinguished leadership at CAACRAO. The website describes the award by saying,  “The Robert Brown Award is given to a CACCRAO member who has distinguished him or herself within the Admissions and Records profession.  CACCRAO presents this award to recognize the outstanding contributions of individual CACCRAO members and to further the profession of Admissions and Records Officers within the California Community College system.  It is a symbol of commitment to leadership, innovation and professional standards.” From everyone at BC, Congratulations Sue!!!

Jerry Ludeke, a BC Treasure

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A beautiful piece about Jerry Ludeke by KGET,  Tabatha Mills did a great job capturing the spirit and person of Jerry Ludeke.

http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local-news/jerry-ludeke-a-true-bakersfield-college-treasure/700757000

I went back to my photo archives and found these two pictures of me with Jerry.  One from 2014 when Jerry received one of the 100 stars and the second from the 2016 Sterling Silver event.

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Sonya Christian, Jerry Ludeke receiving one of the 100 BC stars

 

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Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian. 2016 Sterling Silver

 

Bakersfield College transforming our community one degree at a time.

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That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time

  1. Nick Strobel April 29, 2017 at 9:57 pm Reply

    April 28th was a busy day at BC, hosting many hundreds of high school students for the Kern Promise AND Physics Olympics AND the Open House.

    • SonyaChristian April 30, 2017 at 6:29 am Reply

      Yes indeed. I will include the Physics Open House and the Pre-Law conference in next week’s blog. We are BC!

  2. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg April 30, 2017 at 7:56 am Reply

    End of the academic year, two week until commencement, this is when we see the results of BC’s commitment to our students. It is even more remarkable that the energy is so high on campus and there is so much activity. Wonderful students and dedicated employees students make it all worthwhile.

  3. […] last Friday, our commitment day to The Kern Promise. If you haven’t seen last Saturday’s blog, check it out here! It’s an incredible program which will greatly improve the future success of our students and the […]

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