Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, February 23, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
This is the second time in six years that I missed a blog post…. last Saturday’s (2/16).
I am dedicating this blog to all moms….the wind beneath our wings.
Early College Launches in McFarland
Bakersfield College and McFarland High School are making education history with the Early College program, and we decided to celebrate the first chapter of that history with a launch event in the McFarland High gym last week on Wednesday night
I was unfortunately unable to attend the Early College launch event due to a family emergency, but the Early College teams at BC, and McFarland High ensured that it was a beautiful, informative launch for students and parents alike.
Corny Rodriguez introduced the Early College video that aired in English and Spanish, providing a preliminary explanation of how 280 incoming freshmen at McFarland High will be able to get a head start on accomplishing their dreams by being enrolled in college classes on a Guided Pathways to college degree or certificate completion.
Community Relations Director Norma Rojas-Mora served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, spreading the excitement that our team has felt putting together this program over to our students. She also introduced some of the dignitaries present on the dais on Wednesday night, which included 4th District Supervisor David Couch, trustees from the McFarland Unified School District and McFarland Recreation and Park District, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, as well as representatives from the offices of Kevin McCarthy, TJ Cox, Vince Fong, Shannon Grove and Rudy Salas, among others.
Let’s listen now to Aaron Resendez, the amazing superintendent of McFarland School District….a courageous innovator who will do what it takes to advance his students in McFarland.
Brian Bell, Principal of McFarland High, was not able to attend the event. I want to recognize his work in partnership with BC. Just wonderful.
Dr. Mary Barlow, Superintendent of Kern County schools, congratulated BC and McFarland High for launching the Early College initiative before introducing the McFarland Middle School Cadet Corps to present the colors and lead the packed auditorium in the National Anthem.
Retired State Senator Jean Fuller, who is leading the Early College initiative for BC, emphasized how unique this partnership between BC and McFarland High actually is. After searching across the nation, Fuller discovered that this program is the first of its kind in the history of United States education, and McFarland High will be the laboratory where the Early College model will be tested before hopefully being rolled out for all of our nation’s children.
“This program is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and it’s a miracle,” Fuller said. “This program will make the difference for your child if you reach out and take it.”
Fuller shared the story of how an education at BC changed her life and propelled her to a career of public service, and how Early College will create opportunities for low-income and marginalized students to do the same.
“I wanted to be somebody, but I didn’t know what a somebody was,” Fuller said. “[Your children] can be whatever they want to be, and what we need them to be.”
McFarland Unified School District President Jim Beltran offered some perspective on how Early College will increase high school and graduation rates while closing education and employment gaps in California.
“This program will set the precedent for California and other states to change,” Beltran said.
McFarland Unified School District Clerk David Diaz said that the Early College program “embodies [McFarland’s] values as a community” and will make a higher education “more accessible than ever.”
Kern Community College District Trustee Romeo Agbalog gave an inspiring presentation about how Early College will prevent students from struggling with their higher education like he did as a young man, and affirmed his commitment to ensuring that every person in Kern County receives the support they need to receive a quality education. I received several text messages telling me that there was not a dry eye in the audience during Trustee Agbalog’s heartfelt comments.
“This program began with a conversation that started with three simple words–‘What If We?’” Agbalog said. “Now it’s not just an idea. It’s happening, and it’s happening here first.”
Agbalog also connected McFarland High’s proud tradition of cross-country success, captured in the film “McFarland, U.S.A.,” with the community’s commitment to its students.
“This is a community that knows how to get things done,” Agbalog said. “Who better than the 9-time state champions to lead the race to early college in California?”
Liz Rozell spoke on my behalf to share how much hard work has been done with joy to make Early College a reality before leading the gym in chants of “We Are BC” and “We Are Cougar Renegades.”
KCCD Associate Chancellor John Means talked about how classes offered through the Early College program will be equal in rigor to courses at the BC main campus while offering students the support they need to receive acceleration completion to a two-year degree or certificate.
At the conclusion of the presentations by the Early College leadership, Steve Watkin and Kylie Swanson raffled off 3 iPads and BC sweatshirts to people in the audience while dignitaries were taking group photos. Then, BC’s Director of Rural Initiatives Abel Guzman and McFarland High School Vice Principal Justin Derrick offered more concrete details about the Early College program.
Guzman and Derrick explained how every single incoming 9th grader to McFarland High will be enrolled as BC Renegades and McFarland High Cougars at the same time.
There will be 9 pathways to choose from, offering credits toward degrees and certificates at BC. Incoming freshman will take a student development course in their first semester to learn more about all of the pathways and develop a 10-year plan to accomplish their career goals. Aside from the introductory 12-unit pathway programs, there will also be 30 credits of general education courses available, as well as another 30 credits that will go toward an Associate’s Degree. Students will have to take courses after school and during summer school to complete 60 units of college credit, but they’ll have a two-year head start on their dreams and be able to apply to four-year universities as juniors.
While Early College was designed with incoming 9th-graders in mind, we’re not leaving behind any students who are currently enrolled at McFarland High, and those students will have access to some of the Early College opportunities, as well, which included courses in welding, photography, AutoCAD, as well as retail and manufacturing via designing and selling McFarland High Cougar merchandise. After the presentation, there were breakout sessions throughout the McFarland High campus where parents and students could learn more about each of the programs offered.
The Early College program has been an immense undertaking that has been over a year in the making, and I’d personally like to thank each and every person who made it a reality.
Thanks to 23ABC for covering this incredible opportunity which starts Cougar Renegades on an early path to a college degree! Check out their coverage!
Early College: Behind the Scenes
Thanks to Manny De Los Santos for producing this great video that shows some of what happened during the Early College launch event!
Member of Congress, TJ Cox visits BC
On our rainy Thursday afternoon, Congressman TJ Cox visited Bakersfield College during his first trip home to Kern County from Washington, DC in 2019. His special visit was to speak to students from Professor Bolar’s Political Science courses and share not only his background and experiences, but encourage and invite them to seek careers in public service.
He shared tidbits of information with over 200 students, such as being able to tell the members of Congress by the pin they wear and he even shared that he, too, has to go through airport security – just like us!
Congressman Cox shared with students that many jobs and internships are available for them and they should dream big, explore their options, consider visiting Washington, DC to see it for themselves. Thank you to Professor Bolar for inviting Congressman TJ Cox to the Home of the Renegades and offering such an amazing learning experience for BC students. We are BC!
Chevron’s Black History Month Panel
Dr. Paula L. Parks, Umoja Coordinator and English professor, participated in a community Black History Month panel discussion. The Chevron Black Employees Association held a luncheon program that included a panel discussion on the value of Black Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Dr. Parks shared the experience with four of her students in the Umoja Community African American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program.
Also on the panel were LaMeka Ross, Mark Parham, and Keith Wolaridge, who shared what they gained from their experiences in a supportive African-American environment. Parks, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; Parham, a member of Kappa Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Wolaridge, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Fraternity, Inc.; and Ross, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. talked about the advantages of Greek life in college and in graduate chapters. They said they learned leadership skills, civic responsibility to their communities, and sisterhood/brotherhood while being held to high academic standards.
Wolaridge added that he made valuable connections through his fraternity. He said that many of the Fresno State College leaders were in his fraternity. Both Parks and Parham shared that they continued a family legacy of membership in their sorority or fraternity. Keon Warren, an Umoja student, commented on what he gained:
Keon Warren, BC Umoja student
“I learned that the African-American sororities and fraternities were founded to serve their surrounding community and the greater good.”
All the Black sororities and fraternities have minimum grades point averages to pledge and to stay active; scholarship is a big focus in addition to community service. Black Greek life helped the panelists to remain connected to their Black community at Predominately White Institutions (PWI). Parks mentioned that she was the only Black English major at UC Irvine and that membership in her sorority reduced the feeling of isolation that she had on campus and in her classes.
Ross, the only one on the panel to attend an HBCU, talked about how much she thrived at Grambling University with the love and support of faculty, staff, and students who looked like her. Members of Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, including the panelists, are known as the accomplished leaders in their professions and communities.
Warren, Umoja student, summed up his thoughts: “It was inspiring to meet really successful men and women who look like me.”
Distinguished Speaker and Cerro Author Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Visits BC
We were honored to host author, speaker, engineer and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, Dr. Temple Grandin, at Bakersfield College last week. Dr. Grandin spoke at four events on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. Two engagements were about living with autism, one on livestock animal behavior, and one on identifying the core emotional needs of animals
Her first lecture on “Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism” packed the Levan Center. Her second lecture, moved to the Indoor Theater to allow a larger audience, gave tips for students with autism and parents raising children on the spectrum to be successful in neurotypical society
She recommends that individuals on the spectrum identify their preferred method of learning, whether it is visual, auditory or language-based, and build on their strengths while continuing to develop their areas of weakness. A person who is a visual learner, for instance, may be better suited to communicating their ideas via charts and diagrams, while an auditory learner is better at explaining themselves via public speaking. Grandin also recommends that children on the spectrum learn a trade or skill at a young age so that they’re better prepared for the workforce when they come into adulthood.
Dr. Grandin’s story is an interesting one and is the basis of some of her books and the subject of an award-winning HBO movie. She was determined to be autistic as a child and did not speak until she was three. With early speech therapy and teachers teaching her to “wait and take turns when playing board games” she was able to join the normal kindergarten class at age five, according to her website. In high school she was teased and became the target for bullies. Thanks to her high school science teacher’s mentoring and her aunt on her Arizona ranch, Dr. Grandin was motivated to study hard and pursue a career as a scientist.
BC’s Cerro Author biography explains that Dr. Grandin’s work in animal science includes developing animal welfare guidelines and designing livestock equipment. They proclaim, “half the cattle in the US and Canada are handled in equipment Grandin has designed for meat plants.” Our Distinguished Speaker Series biography shares that she is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America and that she lectures parents and teachers throughout the nation on autism. She has over 400 articles published, was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Thank you, Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, Dr. James Selgrath, Professor of Agricultural Business, and Kirk Russell, Library Department Chair, for working together to bring such a prestigious speaker and author to campus. Thank you, Mary Jo Pasek and the events staff, for coordinating the event and being flexible in changing the venue to accommodate the large crowds that Dr. Grandin attracted. This is another example of why our college excels at bringing cultural awareness and furthering the learning of our students and community. We are BC!
BC Jazz Performs with Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck
The Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combos recently performed with visiting artists Wayne Horvitz and Sara Schoenbeck in the Indoor Theater. Horvitz is an acclaimed composer and pianist known for his work with John Zorn’s Naked City, Bill Frisell, and the New York Composers Orchestra. Schoenbeck is a pioneer of contemporary music for the bassoon, and has worked with Anthony Braxton, Phillip Glass, Nels Cline, and the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra. Horvitz worked with our student jazz musicians to perform a set of his original compositions, followed by a duo set by Horvitz and Schoenbeck
Sara now calls Brooklyn home and performs regularly with many creative and inspiring musicians in the New York scene and beyond. She has performed at major venues and festivals throughout North America and Europe. To learn more, visit Sara’s website.
BC Takes Part in ‘State of the Downtown’ Breakfast
Bakersfield College was honored to be part of the Downtown Business Association’s (DBA) State of the Downtown Breakfast. It was a great way to kick off Valentine’s Day! Here at BC, we recognize the impact the DBA has made in championing our city. It was a great to reminisce about the successes of the last year, hear about the plans for the coming year and to see so many friends coming together to continue to support the growth and revitalization of Downtown Bakersfield.
It was especially touching to hear the tribute to Dave Urner and his lifelong commitment to our community. The impact he has made has not gone unnoticed. Melanie Farmer, the DBA/DBDC President/CEO, presented a video that highlights downtown Bakersfield’s past and its current resurgence. Bakersfield College was joined by community guests Keith Wolaridge and Christina Springstead, students Ashley Harp, BCSGA President, and Mustafa Barraj, BCSGA Director of Legislative Affairs as well as Dr. Nicky Damania, BC Foundation Executive Director Tom Gelder, Program Manager for Adult Education, Endee Grijalva, and Director of Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora.
Bakersfield College is always pleased to support our partners and looks forward to continuing to play a part in promoting our downtown!
Theater Students Pour Their Hearts into Valentine’s Day Show
Kimberly Chin’s theater classes delivered a special Valentines-themed performance in the Renegade Food Court the day before Valentines Day, filled with interpretative improvisation and monologues about love.
The event started with a free association exercise where students wandered around each other in a circle and said whatever words came to mind regarding certain words that were picked. The next exercise involved pulling strips of paper out of a box at random with the names of famous love songs on them. The students then created a “machine” via interpretive movement of how that song makes them feel.
The last exercise involved students sharing famous quotations about love. The students would wander in a circle again and suspend their movements whenever one of their classmates was selected to share their quote.
At the conclusion of the improv exercises, students shared their individual pieces, which ranged from spoken word interpretations of songs about love to performances of monologues by famous playwrights such as Neil Simon.
BC Staff Attend Garden Pathways Heart of the Country
Billie Jo Rice, Maria Wright, Kylie Swanson, and Lesley Bonds attended the Garden Pathways Heart of the Country event at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace. They enjoyed music from award-winning Nashville recording artist Jimmy Wayne, Stan Ellis and Stampede Band, and Amy Adams and the Rising Stars.
They shared with me the stories they heard of three Garden Pathways mentees whose lives were transformed through mentorship. We see the power of mentorship each day at Bakersfield College, which is why I’m so proud of programs like the African American Mentoring Program, Umoja ASTEP, BC athletics, the Veterans Center, and of course our Completion Coaching Communities.
We are excited to partner with Garden Pathways and Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services to host the Hope Through Mentoring Conference: The Unexpected Mentor on April 6, 2019. Behavioral health professionals, teachers, case managers, law enforcement, students, and others who work in mentoring should mark your calendars and plan to join us here on the BC campus. See you there!
BC Brings College Opportunities to Wasco
The Rural Initiatives team has been busy! Through the Adult Education Program, Bakersfield College has been able to bring college closer to home for Wasco residents and surrounding rural areas. This opportunity was made possible in collaboration with the Wasco Union High School District by setting up a one-stop center for continuing and higher education. The North Kern Adult Education team welcomed more than 70 guests including Wasco residents, partners and KCCD Staff to celebrate the opening of the center at the ribbon cutting ceremony on February 8.
Thanks to KCCD Vice Chancellor John Means and KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog for joining the BC family at the opening of the center. Special thanks to Jaime Lopez and Abel Guzman for making this possible and continuously looking for ways to make education more accessible throughout rural Kern County.
Professor Lindsay Ono Wins CLCA Award
The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) presented the 2018 Associate Member of the Year Award at the 40th Landscape Industry Show to Professor Lindsay Ono from Bakersfield College.
The award is presented to an associate member in recognition of leadership and service to the CLCA. Associate members are persons or companies selling or producing a product or service used in the green and outdoor service industries, such as equipment manufacturers, material suppliers and business service providers.
Lindsay Ono is Professor of Environmental Horticulture at Bakersfield College. During the summer of 2007, he was recognized as a E. Kika de la Garza Fellow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program (HSINP). He was one of 17 individuals across the nation who were chosen for this prestigious honor. He is a member of the California Agricultural Teachers Association and serves on the Environmental Horticulture Curriculum committee. He also works with the California Statewide Career Pathways Project – Discipline Work Group and Champions Career Pathways Consortium.
Ono has been active at the Kern County CLCA Chapter serving in many positions, including President. He also serves at the state level as the Director of Education and serves on the current CLCA Board of Directors.
If you live in the Bakersfield area, you may know him from his Saturday morning radio program, The Country Garden, where he is known as the “Plant Professor.” Ono is one of the organizers of Garden Fest, an event in its 14th year that highlights the Bakersfield College Agriculture program and brings the community together combining educational gardening seminars and fundraisers for community garden clubs.
In his continued quest to expand educational access and provide pathways to education, he was a leader in the recent statewide work to create a stackable certificate program which aligned green industry community college classes and content across the state’s community colleges to assist students in their journey to learn and grow.
Congratulations to Lindsay Ono from Bakersfield College and the Kern County Chapter as the CLCA’s 2018 Associate Member of the Year!
BC: A Family Tradition Unlike Any Other
Bakersfield College’s legacy in the Central Valley spans across generations, and that legacy of transforming lives through education is evident in the story of three men named John Radman.
The story of the Radman family begins in Madera County. John Radman, Sr. was unable to attend classes at nearby Fresno City College, so he moved to Bakersfield to attend BC when it was still located inside the BHS campus. He decided to stay in the community to raise a family, and his son, John S. Radman, ended up attending classes at the Panorama Campus, eventually earning an associate’s degree in Industrial Arts around 1975. John S. Radman met his wife Mary Donovan during his time at BC, and two of their children would attend the Panorama Campus in the ’90s, including Renegade wrestler Aaron Radman and soccer player Brooke Radman.
Fast forward to last year, when Aaron and Brooke’s brother John Radman was hired as a Maintenance Technician for the Engineering and Systems Department. John had quit pursuing his education to support his wife’s dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, and after spending several years as a small business owner, he was excited to give back to the Renegade community that had given his family so many opportunities.
After having a few conversations with Dean of Instruction Michele Bresso at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year, John has decided to continue with his education, and he’s now pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business while simultaneously working as a BC employee.
Stories like the Radman family’s are why we all work so hard to provide the highest quality of education for our students. When you hear how BC has touched the lives of thousands of people over decades, it really puts all of the work we do into perspective. I wish the best of luck to John as he pursues his business degree, and I can’t wait to hear about what future Radmans contribute to Renegade history.
Fun Photos: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
Fun Photos: Snow on the Grapevine
GPIT Committee Meeting
The week before last, Bakersfield College hosted colleagues from Citrus College and Mt. San Jacinto College to discuss our guided pathways implementation. A small team observed our Guided Pathways Implementation Team (GPIT) meeting and learned about the rollout of our work over the past four years.
We joined in community to dig into the detailed work of implementation with dozens of faculty and staff across campus through a series of round-table discussions. The group wrestled with questions like:
- How did BC approach program and pathway mapping?
- How does BC ensure support for all students in English and math?
- What kinds of training and support does BC provide faculty and staff to advance student success?
- What data does BC collect to support students in staying on their educational pathways?
- How do industry partners work with BC faculty and staff to design curriculum?
To give a full picture of our work, our BC team from offices and departments across campuses shared their work around the following:
- Counseling and Advising Redesign: Grace Commiso, Dean of Counseling
- Placement and Co-Requisite Supports: Dean Andrea Thorson, Dean Stephen Waller
- Library & Academic Supports: Maria Wright, Director of Academic Support Services, Dean Bill Moseley, and Librarian Faith Bradham
- Program Mapper & Finish-in-4: Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Craig Hayward, Dean Grace Commiso
- Matriculation & Outreach: Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach & Dual Enrollment, Program Managers Ashlea Ward and Kylie Swanson
- Completion Coaching: Dean Grace Commiso, Program Manager Lisa Kent, and Dean Stephen Waller
- Professional Development & Academic Technology: Dean Bill Moseley, Lesley Bonds, Director of Student Success & Equity
- Summer Bridge: Kimberly Bligh, Title V Director, Teresa McAllister, Faculty – Education
- Data Coaching: Amber Hroch, Institutional Researcher
- Instructional Leadership: Jessica Wojtysiak, Faculty – Education
Building Diversity Summit
The Building Diversity Summit was focused on eliminating institutional barriers that impede employment access to historically underrepresented groups. The leads of the BC Completion Coaching Communities for Affinity Group (AAI, Undocu-students/ DREAMers and Veterans) along with our prestige partner, Julian West of Career Ladders Project but always a Renegade, shared their knowledge in a presentation entitled “Representation Matters: The Power of Representation on Student Success” of how Bakersfield College intentionally hires with the intent to create conditions for student success.
Photography Fun on Campus
BC’s Manny De Los Santos has a fantastic eye and great talent for capturing moments that happen on campus. Here is a photo of him getting just the right angle for his photo.
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights included segments with BC Head Women’s Tennis Coach, Austin Lee and BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Paige Darstein and Kayleen Sanchez.
Renegades of the Week
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.
Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – While battling injury, she beat her #1 singles AVC opponent 6-1, 6-2 and in doubles, routed the #1 AVC doubles team, 8-0 with partner Alexis Strange.
Anieus Medrano, Men’s Basketball – Went 8-16 (50%) from behind the arc totaling 29 points (26 in the second half) in final home game against West LA.
Renegade Athletics Roundup
As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):
- Men’s golf clinches 4th at Alisal Ranch
- Women’s Tennis Defeats Victor Valley
- Softball Loses to Canyons
- Track and Field Hosts Battle of the Regions at Memorial Stadium:
- Men’s/Women’s Swimming Open Season at WSC Pentathlon
- Men’s Tennis Falls to Fullerton
- Baseball Hosts El Camino in 3-game Homestand:
- Men’s Basketball Loses to Canyons
- Women’s Basketball Loses to Canyons
- Softball Falls to COS on the Road
- Women’s Tennis Overpowers Antelope Valley
- Baseball Falls to COS
Be sure to follow Renegade Athletics on social media for all the latest news and updates!
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever