#KCCDinCommunity #KCCDLearns

This week, I was so excited to welcome senior administrative leadership from all our colleges to join in our Student Success with Equity retreat at the District Office. It is so wonderful to get to work in person toward solving problems and finding ever better ways to remove the barriers that face our students. #KCCDLearns

KCCD Administrative Leadership. Masks were removed for less than one minute for the photo opp


And, Happy Birthday Janet

Sonya Christian, Janet Tarjan

Good morning, friends…
It is December 11, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

PC music department shares a few musical gifts with the community

With COVID restrictions in place, it’s not so easy to get the community together to appreciate the musical talents of our students – be it vocally or instrumentally.  Gone are the days of holding traditional concerts and recitals on the PC campus (although hopefully not forever).

The PC music department has decided to send an early holiday gift in the form of several virtual demonstrations of the hard work and talent of our students. According to music instructor and choir director Sarah Rector, “The music department would like to share our recorded concerts and theory final projects with you. This has been a difficult few years for music, but as you will see [in these videos] our students are the epitome of perseverance and hard work!”

Music Theory Final Compositions

PC Band/Orchestra

PC College Choir

Pirates climb six spots to No. 20 in new state men’s basketball rankings

Congratulations to the Porterville College Men’s Basketball team for being ranked #20 in the State of California in the recent California Community Colleges Men’s Basketball Coaches Association (CCCMBA) Poll.

The Pirates, led by new head coach Amaurys Fermin, continue to gain recognition. In the most recent California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association (CCCMBCA) State Poll, the Pirates rose six spots to the No. 20 position. The second state rankings of the 2021-22 season were released on Tuesday.

The Pirates are 7-2 to open the season (the team’s best start since 2012) and are coming off an 89-84 win in overtime against Cañada College on Saturday December 4th. PC has won five of its last six and face No. 24 Monterey Peninsula College and No. 25 Cerritos College in its next two contests before Christmas break.

We’d also like to congratulate our sister school, Cerro Coso College for making the #19 spot on the list!


PC professor and son make their own Christmas story

Dr. Bob Simpkins, professor of anthropology and academic senate president at Porterville College, and his son Nicholas Simpkins, are creating quite a unique family tradition this year. The two are currently performing in the Visalia Players production of the Christmas classic “A Christmas Story.”

The play is based on the popular 1983 movie of the same name. Dr. Simpkins is pulling quadruple duty by playing Santa Claus, Mr. Bumpus, the Christmas tree salesman and the leg lamp delivery man in the production. Nicholas has been cast as Flick, Ralphie’s good friend and the kid who gets his tongue stuck to a pole on a dare.

Dr. Simpkins and son can be seen in this production of “A Christmas Story”, currently being presented at the Ice House Theater, 410 E. Race Avenue, Visalia. The schedule for performances is 7:30 p.m. December 11, 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. December 12 and 19. For more information visit http://visaliaplayers.org/index.php/our-2021-22-season/a-christmas-story

Cerro Coso Community College

Cerro Coso Hosts KCCD Leadership Academy

What does it take to grow a rural community college located in the middle of the desert?  A lot of persistence, ingenuity, and hard work.  That was the topic of the day on Friday, December 3 when Cerro Coso hosted the 2021-2022 KCCD Leadership Academy at the Ridgecrest campus. 

Cerro Coso Community College President Dr. Sean Hancock provided an overview of the college’s 18,500 square mile service area, seven locations, and the unique challenges and opportunities of a rural college.  Dr. Deanna Campbell shared information on the Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, and Lisa Stephens gave an update on the East Kern region served by Cerro Coso including the rapid growth of the Tehachapi campus, and the success of the dual and concurrent enrollment programs in that area.  Anna Carlson talked about the Incarcerated Education Program (ISEP), the shift to a correspondence modality during COVID-19, and future goals for the program. 

The  afternoon was spent touring the IWV campus followed by presentations by the VP of Student Services Heather Ostash, VP of Instruction Dr. Corey Marvin, and VP of Finance and Administrative Services Lisa Couch on what it takes to provide access, responsiveness to community need, and equity in student progression and completion over a large and diverse service area.    

The KCCD Leadership Academy is an opportunity afforded to all employees to grow their careers, connect with peers, and grow as a leader within the district.  Each year, KCCD presidents submit the names of employees to participate in the year-long program of monthly meetings on topics specific to community colleges.  Academy participants from around the district attend the day long sessions covering topics on: leadership, decision making, communication, budgeting, student success, accreditation, and more.

They also work outside the sessions on team-based projects to effect positive change across the district.  

Capping and Pinning Ceremonies Hold Special Meaning during Pandemic

As the fall semester wound down, Cerro Coso held two separate Vocational Nursing Capping and Pinning Ceremonies, symbolically welcoming 18 (7 Ridgecrest, 11 Bishop) student vocational nurses into a profession of service to others (pending passage of state boards.)

The path to becoming a nurse is long, steep, and sometimes rocky. The whole experience of being a nursing major is often an emotional roller-coaster. They cry together, laugh together, and share their stories with each other. But at the end of the day, they know the nursing profession is exactly what they were meant to do.

The Nursing Pinning and Capping Ceremonies signify the end of a rigorous and physically demanding program of study. Students, family, friends, faculty and staff enjoyed the solemn, joyful, and at times humorous ceremonies as instructors and graduates shared their thoughts and memories of the 18-month journey that was being completed. These students will have the opportunity to make an enormous, positive difference in the lives of people under their care.

“These nursing graduates are heading into unprecedented challenges with the global pandemic,” said Matt Wanta, Program Director.  “These graduates have shown us how they take on these challenges and become the nursing warriors the world needs today.” 

Bishop campus nursing students honored were: Jennifer Ayala, Megan Bulmer, Isabel Calderon, Morgan Cunha, Dulce Flores, Veronica Hernandez, Heather Landen, Julia Sarver, Jade Tartaglia, Aurora Toledo, and Litzy Trujillo.

Ridgecrest campus nursing students honored were: Intissar Awad, Ladaija Denise Baker, Magdelena Christina Marie GoodarziRad, Jesseca Renee Ledet, Lakana Panergo, Anna Louise Rivera, and Kacey Lee Sonnenberg.

The capping and pinning ceremony signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses. It is a proud moment for the students as they are welcomed into the nursing profession.

The next step for these students is to take the Nursing Certification Licensing Exam (NCLEX), and upon passage, the graduates will have earned the credential of Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).

Wanta challenged the college’s newest nursing graduates to become advocates for health care at the conclusion of the ceremony. “Go forth and use the education you’ve received at Cerro Coso to not only provide compassionate and skilled care to patients and families but to also give voice to health-care needs in the community.”

“We are very proud of each of these students and the faculty committed to their success,” said President Sean Hancock.

It was the perfect way to complete a semester of hard work and dedication.

Nursing…the hardest job you’ll ever love.

Angel Tree Event Brings Smiles During Finals

The holidays present a dizzying array of demands – parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, and for college student final exams. Exams are stressful enough, and all the festive activities don’t make preparing and studying for exams any easier.

Every year, Access Programs at Cerro Coso hosts an Angel Tree party for students in the program, providing an afternoon away from the stress of finals to enjoy some fun and activities with their families.

With compassionate hearts and selfless acts of kindness, Cerro Coso staff and friends donate gifts for every child in attendance, recognizing the sacrifices they make while their parent’s pursue an education.

Santa Claus sat next to his trusted Elves handing out gifts as the children waited patiently and squealed in delight.

Peer mentors, staff, and students assisted the children in making holiday crafts, and festive music helped light up the lives of the students and children in attendance.

May there always be an Angel by your side!

Train Right – Get Home at Night

The burning desire to become a police officer became all too real for recruits last week during their final physical endurance exam that included pepper-spray and tear gas.  

Becoming a police officer is a dream of many, but only a handful of passionate, strong, and highly skilled individuals get the chance to serve their community.  Although a law enforcement career offers numerous benefits, including early retirement, clear-cut opportunities for advancement, and job diversity, the most significant obstacle candidates face is the police academy. 

The training is focused and regimented.  In addition to classroom training in basic law, criminal investigations, report writing, and other law enforcement related topics, recruits receive intense and rigorous physical training to prepare them for the physically demanding aspects of law enforcement.  It is important for recruits to understand the dynamics and limitations of the tools they have and the situations they may face. Being gassed and doused in pepper spray  is an unpleasant experience for anyone, but in police work it is valuable to know one’s limitations and understand the effects of these tools. 

Prior to the drill, recruits were trained on how to properly fit their protective mask and clear it.  As a group the recruits were instructed to put on their masks while CS (ortochlorobenzylidene-malononitrile) gas, more commonly known as tear gas, was discharged around them.  As the CS gas burned it created a fog, working together in teams of two, the recruits were told to put their faith in their masks and walk around in the fog.  Then one of the two was instructed to take a deep breath, close their eyes, take off their mask, and stay in the fog as long as possible, before their teammate guided them out and into the decontamination area.   Tear gas is the active ingredient in Mace and is used for self-defense and for riot control and it irritates mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs, causing tearing, sneezing, and coughing.  The treatment…fresh air.  Within minutes the CS leaves the system and recruits are 100% better.  The recruits have learned to trust their masks and develop empathy for those who experience this type of gas.

The ability to protect oneself in a dangerous encounter with a violent subject is vital for any police officer and was the subject of the next drill. 

Pepper spray is just one of the defensive devices officers use to temporarily stop a threat and allow the user to escape physical harm from their assailant.  One by one, the recruits closed their eyes as they were sprayed in the face with capsicum spray.  Now feeling the full effect of the substance, eyes burning, they were instructed to find the 165 lb. dummy that represented their downed partner and move it back to safety.  The recruits had to force their eyes open to spot their next target–an instructor holding a padded mat.  At this point the recruits executed arm and knee strikes against an instructor holding the mat. Then it was off to find a dummy shouting commands to STOP while issuing baton strikes, and finally they moved to another mat for arrest and handcuffing of their assailant.  All while their eyes burned.   

For the recruits it showed  them that they can remember what they’ve been taught and they can fight through the pain that is associated with the spray and complete a number of tasks.   It incapacitates them, from being able to think beyond the pain, from being able to see their surroundings, from being able to do anything physical…yet that is exactly what they did.  Despite the effects of the pepper spray, they were pushed to think, see, and fight as they moved through an obstacle course.

A career in law enforcement can make a real difference in one’s community, reducing crimes and making people safer.  But being a police officer isn’t for everyone – it’s one of the most challenging careers one can choose–physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding.    

This exam stands to test the spirit of Cerro Coso’s finest.  The series of drills and obstacles serve as a way to standardize and prepare law enforcement hopefuls for the rigors of a 25-30 year career. 

Congratulations to all the recruits in the Level II Basic Police Officer Academy in Tehachapi.

Start strong.  Finish Stronger.

Bakersfield College

The Bakersfield College Arvin Educational Center

On Tuesday evening, BC’s leadership was present as we unveiled plans and drawings for the long awaited expansion to serve rural students closer to home in Arvin. The community meeting shared information about the new 27,300 sq. ft. center to be located across from Arvin High School on Varsity Road.

Plans for the facility include 5 classrooms, a tutoring center, writing center, computer labs, library, bookstore, and dedicated space for programs. Construction will begin in July 2022 with completion slated for Spring 2024. 

KCCD Trustee, Yovani Jimenez thanked the community for supporting Measure J to make this project possible while also lifting up the work of BC to support rural communities. He said, “At BC, the students and community come first. They are the heart of every program, every project, and initiative. The staff and faculty do everything with a heart to better the lives of residents throughout the communities they serve and tonight we are here to celebrate the college-going culture being strengthened throughout Arvin and Lamont.”

Read More about BC’s Arvin Educational Center

And thank you Emma Gallegos for this great article in The Bakersfield Californian about the center.

Mid-Winter Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources

Bakersfield College sent a team of Agriculture faculty with their pathway Educational Advisor, Job Specialist, and Dean of Instruction to the annual Mid-Winter Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources at Reedley College.

During this statewide conference, team members spent a day touring industry facilities, including Hamilton Cold Storage, where they observed state-of-the-art juicing and bottling practices, and Moonlight Packing Corporation, one of the largest producers of Cuties.

Major topics of discussion among the conference participants included the rising importance of food science and food safety professionals, and new technologies to reduce waste. The BC team is slated to host the Mid-Winter after the construction of the new Agricultural Sciences building is complete. 

Renegades Observe Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Survey

Agriculture students and faculty participated in an event organized by the Department of Water Resources.

As part of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Implementation, the CA Department of Water Resources (DWR) is conducting airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins, to assist local water managers as they implement SGMA to manage groundwater for long term sustainability. 

Professor Renaldo Arroyo and his students saw AEM equipment on the ground, watched the helicopter using the equipment take off and fly, and learned about the technical elements and practical uses of AEM.

Kern County Board of Supervisors Proclaims November as the 10th Anniversary of the Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Justice Program

The Kern County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation recognizing November as the 10th Anniversary of the Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Justice Program (VVVJP). The program was co-founded by the late Vernon P. Valenzuela. Vernon was a BC alum and is the namesake of the BC Veteran Resource Center. The program’s mission is to assist military veterans who become justice-involved as a result of trauma suffered while performing their duties as service members.

Founding members and defense attorneys Randal Dickow, H.A. Sala, and David Torres were in attendance and provided a background of the program and a history of its first 10 years. BC’s, Armando Trujillo, Veteran Educational Advisor, and the first VVVJP graduate, expressed his gratitude for the program and to Vernon Valenzuela, stating that the program and Vernon “changed my life”. 

He credited the program for providing him the opportunity to find his passion for serving his military brothers and sisters. 

Jenny Frank, BC’s Manager of Veterans Services and Programs, shared that as a former program coordinator, she was extremely fortunate to observe the “healing that the program has brought to many veterans of Kern County”.

The Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Justice Program continues to offer veterans an opportunity to find healing and learn healthy ways to cope with Post Traumatic Stress. Since 2011, approximately 600 veterans have benefitted from the program designed to “serve those who served”.

BC’s Title V Team Launches Peer Assisted Learning Program

BC’s Title V team launched their Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Program this Fall, initially focusing on biology courses. With the impeccable guidance from Eileen Pierce, we modelled the PAL program after the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program at Bakersfield College. The PAL Leaders are recommended by a faculty member to academically support students by planning and leading group study sessions that cover harder concepts and processes in these courses.

Cesar Delgado is one of three Peer Assisted Leaders (PALs) that are supporting students in the health science pathway. Cesar’s PAL sessions organized the microbiology material into understandable categories. He held most of his sessions through zoom and used the whiteboard to interact with students and the topics. The zoom sessions were recorded so all students in the course could access the reviews. Cesar meets the students where they are at in their understanding and builds upon their foundation. He makes rigorous study quizzes, fun raps, worksheets and practice exams that the students go over during the sessions to build critical thinking.

In the picture seen below, you can see Cesar leading a talk in the microbiology lab about dilution problems. He gained experience teaching in the lab by conducting reviews for the students. Cesar is highlighted for his exceptional work this semester and serving as a mentor to students. He answered numerous questions through email and text using the REMIND app. You can also find Cesar as a tutor in the tutoring center for one-on-one help. He has been working as a tutor for 2 years at Bakersfield College.

Cesar Delgado is a smart, creative, and generous student that gives his time and heart to the students. We are proud of his commitment to his fellow health science students and the dedication that he shows in finding new ways to explain difficult concepts.

We Are BC | Health Science!

Remembering Jack Hernandez

A few weeks ago, I shared the sad news that Bakersfield legend Jack Hernandez passed away. Today, I wanted to share the initial details about a celebration of his life and legacy.

The event will be held at 4 pm April 1, 2022, at Bakersfield College in the Campus Center Conference Room. You may RSVP online or contact Tarina Perry at tperry@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 395-4300 for more information.

Thank you planning team for you love and time to making this a “Jack” event.

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Thank you to Veronica Hathaway for sharing this photo with me, celebrating 4 amazing Renegades on their retirement. Janet Thomas, Mary Webb, Meg Stidham and Janet Tarjan combined have over 90 years of service at BC!

BC Industrial Automation shared this post about presenting to Delano Valley High students:

WECOMM PC shared this photo of members helping with a Sierra View Medical Center vaccination clinic:

I love this photo from the Cerro Coso Learning Assistance Center:

“If you haven’t made it to the west side of campus, you’re missing out. This is easily the most beautiful part of of campus. Grab your books, this is the spot to study. #Finalsweek #Study #GetOutside #FinishStrong

And PC President Claudia Habib shared this pic from the PC Women’s Basketball game on Friday night – the Pirates beat Hartnell, 82-32:

Congratulations!!! #Pirates@PCollegePirates it was fun watching our students play tonight. These athletes displayed great team spirit !!!


That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “#KCCDinCommunity #KCCDLearns

  1. Kim Arbolante December 13, 2021 at 10:21 am Reply

    I am so excited to see some Peer Assisted Learning sessions happening on campus in spring 2022! Go ‘Gades! 🙂

    • SonyaChristian December 16, 2021 at 7:31 pm Reply

      Me too.
      Also happy to see your post Kim. Wishing you a peaceful, fun-filled and safe holiday season. Hugs. Sonya

Leave a Reply