Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, August 11, 2018.
A great day to be a Renegade.
Do you have children…nieces….. Well, Bessie’s story started with my daughter letting me know that she wanted a dog. You see she has a very busy life and lives in LA. I kept talking her out of it….and then when it appeared that she she was getting serious, I shifted to counseling her to get an older dog from the shelter making arguments like “you wont be able to take care of her as a puppy…the attention …the chewing … etc etc…” So then she tells me that she has a brilliant solution. Have the puppy be raised for three months here in Bakersfield and then she will take her! So now there is Bessie and Neo at home, and life as I know it has changed.
Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take,
But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away
This last week was another fabulous week at Bakersfield College. Great people doing great things.
Thankful for our Firefighters and First Responders
On Thursday afternoon, a grass fire started on our beloved Panorama Bluffs. This iconic and scenic area overlooks the Kern River oil fields and is historic to our community. While the flames remained in the vegetation across the street, smoke and ash was billowing over onto campus. The administration team sprang into action, checking buildings and evacuating the north side of campus for safety. Within minutes, we needed to shut down the HVAC system campus-wide because the smoke was beginning to infiltrate the air duct systems of the buildings and we made the decision to evacuate the campus. The Child Development Center quickly reached out to parents and had children picked up. The college identified a pick-up location for all other youth and students on campus, and employees cleared the buildings and evacuated the area, avoiding the north side of campus.
Bakersfield Fire Department has shared that they “established a control line on the west flank while additional light engines and brush patrols were deployed to contain the fire’s eastward movement. The fire, which was wind-driven in light, flashy fuels, burned approximately 100 acres before being fully contained by BFD and KCFD Firefighters.”
I am so thankful for the quick work of our city and county firefighters, the administration and leadership at the college, and our firefighters across the state of California and our country who brave flames locally and across the nation year round to keep us safe.
Firefighters, thank you for your hard work and for being an important part of our community. Your bravery is heroic and your service is commendable. Thank you for being selfless when you do not think twice about heading towards those flames to save lives. Thank you for being an inspiration to that young child who is fascinated and in awe of the fire trucks passing by. Thank you for staying strong, acting quickly, and protecting the city, county, and country we love. #WeareBakersfield #WeareKernCounty and together, we support our firefighters.
Watching this video clip, I can’t help but think about our most recent class of firefighter graduates from Bakersfield College. On May 15, we celebrated the most recent class of Bakersfield College Firefighter I graduates and each year, students learn from the special curriculum designed for Bakersfield city firefighters, curriculum that includes academic courses required for an associates of arts degree, plus on-the-job training, including the use of motorized fire equipment under emergency conditions.
The Bakersfield College Fire Science program was first set up in 1956 through the joint efforts of Chief Phil Pifer of the Bakersfield Fire Department and Norman Harris, coordinator of technical vocational education at Bakersfield college. Earlier this year, Anthony Galazaga, a BC Fire Technology graduate and 26-year veteran of BFD became the newest Fire Chief at the Bakersfield Fire Department. BC continues to strive in every way to make a difference in this community through preparation and quality education for our graduates.
Exploring Early College and Touring Rural Initiatives Partnerships
Just as the California State Legislature was inspired to adopt the California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960, Bakersfield College is prepared to lead the way and advocate for our rural education and early college program as a model to revolutionize access to higher education. We know that the future success of our state and country demands an agile educational system with the flexibility to serve the needs of our evolving 21st Century economy and diverse student populations, and to reduce the strain on time and financial resources.
We know that at the top of our priority must be creating a system that increases access and equity, affordability, preparedness, and accountability for academic quality. The groundbreaking work being done thus far at Bakersfield College, along with the recent data documenting its success, has inspired a partnership to bring Early College to be within the grasp of every child, every student, and every family throughout our community, region, and state. Across seven high school districts in Kern County, BC expects to have a 40% increase in sections offered and will serve approximately 4,000 students during the Fall of 2018. BC has exponentially expanded the Early College Program as the groundwork for systemic change.
On Friday, August 3rd, I had the pleasure of touring various community sites to share how BC is partnering with education and city leaders to expand opportunities for students. I was joined on this tour by KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Senator Jean Fuller, and Abel Guzman, BC’s Director of Rural Initiatives. Senator Jean Fuller truly values access to higher education for our youth, so I was glad she was able to see all of the amazing work happening in our rural communities.
The tour kicked off in Senator Fuller’s hometown of Shafter. David Franz, Director of the Shafter Education Partnership, met with us at the Shafter Learning Center where he shared all of the early education initiatives he oversees at the center, as well as the recent collaboration with BC. Through this partnership, BC has expanded course offerings to include morning sections, as well as consistent student services for Renegades in Shafter. The City of Shafter leadership is dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to their youth. We are very thankful to David and his team, who have made it possible for BC to establish a presence for Shafter Renegades.
The second stop of the tour was Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano. With nearly 40 Ag-Pathway graduates a couple of months ago, WCPA is now a proven Early College model. Shondra Walker, WCPA Principal, was gracious enough to set up a tour led by three of those graduates.
At this stop, we were joined by Raquel Lopez, the program manager in charge of the Ag Pathway work for BC. At this special stop, we were able to hear about the program’s impact directly from the students. I had a great time engaging with the students, as well as seeing Senator Fuller do the same. It was evident that the Early College experience for these three young people has helped them feel more confident heading to their respective universities this fall.
Our tour ended with a very exciting meeting at McFarland High School. The principal, Brian Bell, spoke passionately about his vision to provide early college opportunities to their students.
His administration team has been actively engaging with our BC Rural Initiatives team, and are ready to make big moves in the fall. The plan for this coming term is to double the amount of dual enrollment sections they offered last semester. Recognized as a top athletic school (particularly for Cross Country), Brian and his team are looking to add another focus for McFarland High School, and that is to become a College Pathways school. We are ready to take on that challenge and support Brian and his team!
Special thanks to everyone who joined us that day, especially Senator Jean Fuller, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and our rural partners for joining us on this tour.
Final Summer Bridge of 2018
This was our last week of BC Summer Bridge 2018 freshmen academy! We served over 1300 students! There were so many highlights, too many to count. KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke spent a full ten-hour day with us this week mentoring his table of new freshmen. He said that programs like BC Summer Bridge are going to become even more important and critical to student success especially with the new community college funding model, which is based heavily on completion versus enrollment. Students who complete the BC Summer Bridge intensive Freshmen academy are twice as likely to complete more units and persist to their second year than those who do not attend the program.
The lead faculty who participated this year were so wonderful to work with all summer. We started the 2018 Bridge season in February with training new leads, rewriting curriculum, designing technology support, and so much more. The Curriculum and Technology leads who worked closley with me were Teresa McAllsister and Erica Menchaca. Other leads included Matt Garrett, Stephen Tavoni, Kaureen Brady, Don Brady, Marcelyn Allen, Olivia Garcia, Eddie Rangle, Jessica Wojtysiak, Mindy Wilmot, Faith Bradham, and Lisa Harding!!!
These are some of the most amazing faculty you can ever imaging working with, and they come from across so many disciplines. The support staff, counselors, advisors, and other discipline faculty really stepped up this year. If you did not sign up as a table mentor or advisor this year, you really missed out, and the staff and faculty participants will attest to that statement. Many of these people answered text messages from us begging for coverage at 7 am. They will never fully understand our appreciation for this real time support. You know who you are, and yes, this is a thank you to YOU! Kimberly Bligh tells me, “I made many new friends, and I witnessed many blooming friendships between students, staff, and faculty who would never have crossed paths if not for the intense, powerful Summer Bridge days.”
Our last Bridge session was especially memorable. Kimberly Bligh said in a recent email, “I spent lunch with my support staff and the amazing Summer Bridge student peer mentors discussing our experiences and numerous special memories we have from the past 6 months. Tears of appreciation were abundant from all of us, and the testimonies shared by the student workers reinforced why I spend April through August in the scorching summer heat working 12-hour days at BC; I am fueled by passion for our students’ successes.”
Our BC Summer Bridge student workers are beyond amazing, and their growth as students, as parents, as professionals, as mentors, and as future leaders urges me to share the importance of not just hiring student workers, but more importantly mentoring them intrusively. For many, this is their first paying job, and what we impress upon them, what we teach them, and how we support them, all of these actions are critical to their life-long successes. Christina Maldonado and Isabel Castaneda, thank you for the stellar job you did this past year supporting these amazing student workers.
We have one more event on August 14th 5-8 pm that extends the Summer Bridge to families- The Family Bridge to BC Open House and New Student Convocation. There are still reservations available! Students can sign up here to bring their families! Free parking and dinner, information booths about programs and services, free t-shirt for freshmen enrolled at BC, scavenger hunt and raffle, entertainment, and welcoming ceremonies are included in the event!
Dr. Nicky Damania and Dr. Kimberly Bligh showcased the event on KGET on Friday morning. #WeareBC!
Sign up here! and Follow Summer Bridge on Facebook!
Sending the 2018 ISER to the Accreditation Visiting Team
Over the past many, many months, the college has been preparing for the 2018 Accreditation visit where BC will be re-accredited for the next 6 years. As part of this process, we had a team of writers and editors develop the 2018 Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER), and this past week, we prepared the digital version and sent it to the visiting team.
After officially emailing the document with Vice Presidents Liz Rozell and Zav Dadabhoy, we also prepared official flash drives in a special gift box that I previewed last week.
Industrial Drawing professor, Darren Willis, took inspiration from a jewelry box designed by a BC student and made some modifications to the design. Dean of Instruction, Michele Bresso said, “Our Industrial Technology faculty and students are the best!” And friends, its true. Have I shared recently that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever? It’s because of faculty, staff, and students who make ideas come true and represent BC!
The packages were prepped and shipped with the help of Hannah, our student employee in the Mail Room. Thank you Hannah and Leo in BC’s Mail Room!
2018 Football Media Day
Our Renegade football season is right around the corner. We had the opportunity to hear from Mayor Goh and Sandi Taylor about their excitement for this coming season and also from Coach Chudy on what the team expects to do this season.
We also were treated to an “unveiling” of the new football uniforms for this coming season. The Bakersfield Fire Department drove football players Cam Roberson (#22), Carson Olivas (#10), Elisha Ortiz (#5) and James Thomas (#35) to the event on a fire engine to introduce the jerseys.
It was a joy to see Carl Bryan at the event, who is going into his 33rd year as PA announcer for Renegade Football. I plan on being there for every game. How about you? Let’s cheer on the ‘Gades together!
And Brandon Urry, photographed above with Sandi Taylor is BC’s star addition to the Renegade Athletics team. In his role as Community Relations Manager for Renegade Athletics, Brandon’s commitment to our student athletes, their education, the college, and our community is clear.
Jon Mettus of the Californian highlighted the event in an amazing piece titled, “Bakersfield College football kicks off 2018 season with first full gear practice.” Media day was a great way to kick of the 2018 season. And by the way, are you following BC Athletics on social media? Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics throughout the year to know the latest on our sports teams:
Wrestlers Signing to go to University of Jamestown
Every week it seems like we have more and more Renegade student athletes who are moving on to the next level.
This week wrestler Romiro Macias and Zavion Roberson announced their commitment to attend school and wrestle at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, ND. Congratulations to these two and all 38 of our Renegade student athletes from this last season who are moving on. Go Gades!
Law Enforcement Training Academy
On Thursday morning, we were honored to host the Bakersfield Law Enforcement Training Academy for the 23rd Peace Officer’s Basic Academy for the Class of 17-01. Eighteen individuals went through 24 weeks of intense training and education. The celebration opened with a class video of the class members and then four awards were presented with the highest academic award, marksmanship award, physical fitness award, and top overall achievement award. The class was introduced to the indoor theater full of family, friends, and BC Supporters as the class with the motto “Every Day Counts”.
The class speaker, Officer Jason Perez, shed light on their experiences as a cadet in the program and the challenges they all went through. He shared that there’s a “culture of accountability” in the Bakersfield Police Department. On his birthday, Chief Lyle D. Martin told the incoming class that when he met them at the beginning, he told them they would be few at the end. He’s very proud and engaged with the students that he is crossing over today.
This is an incredible collaboration and partnership of Bakersfield Police Department and Bakersfield College. It was great to have Mayor Karen Goh and Police Chief, Lyle Martin celebrate along side Vice President Zav Dadabhoy, Rich McCrow, and Tommy Tunson. Congratulations, graduates and a special happy birthday to Lyle Martin.
BC at the Capitol
Collaboration is critical to implementing guided pathways. Faculty and student support services need to work in unison to map out program pathways across departments to define sequences of courses that students can take to fulfill program requirements. Once the maps are implemented, they must work together to guide, monitor, and support students as they enter and make progress along program pathways. Jennifer Johnson represented Bakersfield College at the Capitol on Wednesday to share stories about guided pathways implementation at BC.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the California Community College system and as more colleges engage faculty and staff in the redesign process, we will be able to build on the lessons learned from early adopters about how to implement such reforms in ways that are cost-effective and that lead to improved learning and success for students.
STEM Guided Pathways Premier
This week, BC’s MESA presented: STEM Guided Pathways Premiere, a three-day event where we invited STEM majors to get insider perspective on the STEM learning culture. As well we provided an application for the MESA program, internship opportunities at NASA-AMES in Silicon Valley and fellowships with the David Dwight Eisenhower grant that will allow 8 students to do research and attend an international conference this academic year.
STEM professors Nick Strobel, James Mcgarrah, and Timothy Plett volunteered their time to give insight to STEM students about STEM careers and how to stay on the STEM pathway, and to be successful in STEM courses. The MESA program provided the foundation of learning for STEM major and a 10-point student plan to be successful in the STEM majors for all the students that attended.
BC Open House for Homeschoolers
We had a BC SouthWest open house for homeschoolers on Thursday evening and were excited to host eager students and their families to share the opportunities for education through BC. If you or someone you know may be interested in options for homescholers through Bakersfield College, please reach out to email@example.com.
Special thanks to Manny Mourtzanos, Bill Moseley, Fernando Lara, and Jo Acosta.
Ralph Bailey Show
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, guest host Michael Turnipseed facilitated a conversation on education, jobs and workforce development on the Ralph Bailey Show (Kern Radio 1180) with guests Supervisor Leticia Perez, Dr. Anna Laven, and Consuelo (Connie) Gonzalez. Ralph Bailey is a great supporter of Bakersfield College and our students!
Supervisor Perez discussed the beginnings of a partnership between Turnipseed, Perez, and Bakersfield College. Supervisor Perez has sought creative and effective options for spending grant funding in her district and from that initial conversation, dual enrollment began at Arvin High School to support the education needs of young people and to support local industry seeking a trained workforce.
Dr. Laven explained the tremendous growth in dual enrollment resulting from the support of BC and KHSD Superintendent Bryon Schaefer. Dr. Laven also highlighted the vision for the future, as evidenced by successes like the Wonderful Academy graduates this last May, and the potential to transform communities by bringing college to high school students. Connie Gonzalez then came on to explain the strong support within STEM in the MESA program at BC. Among the many program offerings, MESA provides students with both academic support and career development opportunities.
Summer at BC’s CDC
BC’s Child Development Center is a special place on campus and in our community.
During the summer session, our staff at center hold a special, preschool-wide event for two weeks when all of the classrooms come together for some outside fun.
The center is an exciting and magical place of learning and it’s amazing to see the students all interact with each other, play, and enjoy the outdoor classroom.
Each class prepares a special activity or two such as chipping ice blocks to free frozen toys, running through sprinklers, or making leis to celebrate luau day.
The center still has a few opening for three and four years for fall. Information and application forms are available on the BC website.
Wendy Lawson has been an incredible part of the Executive Office team and this past week, we celebrated her going-away party as she moves on to the next stage in her career.
Wendy has been the Administrative Assistant for both recent Vice Presidents of Instruction, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and currently Liz Rozell, She’s been a fantastic member of our executive team, always willing to give a helping hand or do what she can to assist.
We will miss her bright smile and southern charm in the executive office. I’m glad we were able to celebrate Wendy’s time at the Home of the Renegades this past week. Plus, guess who made this delicious cake for the celebration?
Happy Birthday to Jim Young
Jim Young, Chancellor Emeritus of Kern Community College District celebrated his 80th birthday recently. It reminded me of an article that Jose Gaspar wrote on Bakersfield.com titled “Forever (Jim) Young and his passion for educating Arvin’s disadvantaged.” Jim’s mission to increase access to education is one that inspires me daily. Happy Birthday Jim!
I’ve mentioned before in my blog the special bond we have with our pets and I was struck by a post on Facebook by Ag professor, Jim Selgrath who shared a bit about his dog Molly. He said, “She was an incredible friend to me when I needed a friend. Always happy to run right by my horse when I was working cattle. Loyal. Loving. An incredible dog. I miss her…”
Let’s take a moment for Molly….
More Photos to Share
Cabinet Retreat from Monday afternoon.
Faculty chairs gathered from all disciplines in preparation for the upcoming fall semester and year ahead!
BC’s Corny Rodriguez almost had an encounter with a bear on vacation in Mammoth Lakes!
William Velasquez is at it again with his amazing photography. He took this photo on Tuesday evening as he left the BC campus.
Art professor, David Koeth will be showing three paintings with LAUNCH LA at the Korean Cultural Center in an exhibit called “Intersection.”
Exhibit dates are August 17 – 30, and the opening reception is August 17, 6 to 9 pm. Learn more at http://www.launchla.org/
BC at Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships
I am so proud of the BC Golden Empire Drum Corps competing at the World Championships in Indianapolis! Tim Heasley, Director of Marching Arts shared with me via email that our students had a great final run and they have represented the college well.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Tagged: Anna Laven, Bakersfield College, Chancellor Tom Burke, Connie Gonzales, David Franz, Michael Turnipseed, Senator Jean Fuller, Shondra Walker, Sonya Christian, Supervisor Leticia Perez, Trustee Romeo Agbalog
I’ve seen that “so you take of the puppy for a little while” before, Good Luck : – )
McFarland is dear to me so I was happy to see the steps for including it in the program
Very cute dogs!
AWESOME! I love seeing so many people so thoroughly engaged and smiling in the the pictures Sonya has chosen! Wonderful! I love BC and I love the magic Sonya continues bring to each of our lives by being our college president!
Happy 80th Birthday, Jim! Welcome to Bakersfield, Bessie! Congratulations to everyone mentioned in this and earlier blogs for your amazing accomplishments and to those mentioned in the wonderful coverage in the Californian recently. Congratulations and welcome to all of our beloved BC students! We can’t wait to meet you for the first time or see you again! Get involved! Be proud to be Renegades!
Regarding the STEM Premier: While Tim, James, and I appreciate the mention about our help with it, I think you really need to recognize three other people in that photo who made it possible: Gessel Romo (back row, right of center), Vanessa Moreno (front row near right side), and most especially Connie Gonzales (front row, left edge). I was fortunate enough to attend two of the sessions Connie led in the three-day STEM GPS Premier and the parts in your article about “STEM learning culture”, “how to stay on the STEM pathway”, “foundations of learning for STEM majors”, and the “ten-point student plan”, that’s her contribution. Ask her to tell you about getting STEM students to move away from the “victim mindset” (so common in today’s society of blaming others for failures, making excuses, and giving up) to a “creator mindset” of taking responsibility for one’s own actions, taking the initiative to figure out solutions, and creating the technology and improving our understanding of the physical world in order to improve the quality of lives of family, friends, communities, and the rest of society. More about MESA at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/mesa .
I am glad that the ISER is now done and in the hands of the ACCJC visiting team! As Liz hit the enter key on her keyboard to send the ISER on its way, did you all sing “Let it Go!” ? The ISER is now available for the general public at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/accreditation/2018ISER . Enjoy!
[…] I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the first responders and firefighters around our state and those who have traveled, especially to California from other states, to assist. Earlier this year, we had a close call with a fire near campus, and you can read about it in my blog piece titled “Thank you firefighters and first responders.” […]