KCCD spreading Umoja (Unity) across our communities

Congratulations Dr. Paula Parks

Norma Rojas-Mora snapped this picture of Paula at yesterday’s Hall of Fame event and I felt it was appropriate to start my blog with the person who taught me the word Umoja and the importance of unity.

Dr. Parks inducted into the
CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame

Also, KCCD was well-represented at last week’s Community College League of California Annual Legislative Conference in Sacramento. Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Yovani Jimenez met with colleagues from around the state to discuss the importance of our California Community Colleges and the road ahead to support students.

Nan also presented with Dr. Martha Garcia, president of College of the Desert.

One highlight of the conference was the legislative town hall featuring Assemblymember Jose Medina, whose work on AB 927 – which makes the Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program permanent – will be transformational for so many of our students, and for the communities we serve.

Working together and building partnerships to improve our students’ lives – that’s what we do at the Kern Community College District!

Good morning, friends…
It is February 12, 2022.
The sun shines bright over KernCCD.

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

Porterville College

PC Returns to In Person Instruction on the 14th

PC President Dr. Claudia Habib informed the campus community on Feb 9 that PC will be returning to in person instruction starting Monday, Feb. 14th.

In a letter to the campus community, Habib stated, “I am optimistic that with everyone’s help, we will manage conditions on campus and continue to provide the safest environment for our students, faculty, and staff. Currently, Tulare County’s Positivity Rate is at 22.1%. This number reflects improvement on pandemic conditions over the past several weeks, and I hope it continues trending this way.”  She did add a bit of reality to that optimism, stating, “It is, however, essential to remember that COVID isn’t over, and there are still new cases in our community every day. For that reason, department staffing will continue to adapt with flexible schedules as needed.”

Students, faculty, and staff continue to use the KCCD App every day to support a successful return. Thank you to our students, faculty, and staff for continuing to take these essential steps to keep yourself and our community safe.

For more information on PC’s COVID-19 protocols at our website: https://www.portervillecollege.edu/healthy-return-campus.

PC Promotes Umoja Program at PC

PC is spreading the word about a fantastic program created to provide resources and support for African American and other students.

Umoja, which is a Kiswahili word meaning unity, is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African Americans and other students.

Students participating in UMOJA receive academic advising, culturally relevant professional and personal development resources, support for their academic success, access to a multi-college and university network, peer mentorship, and access to the PC UMOJA Village.

If you would like more information or are Interested in joining our Umoja Community, visit https://www.portervillecollege.edu/are-you-interested-joining-umoja


The Pirates face Fresno City College

The PC Men’s Basketball team grabbed a critical win against Fresno City College on Wednesday (74-65).  Join our Pirates as they head back home for the next step towards a winning season this Saturday, February 12, versus West Hills Coalinga at home!

The Pirates were ranked 28th going into this week in the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Poll. Cheer on the Pirates as they fight to finish the season in the top 30 for the state.

Spectators are allowed in the gym for this game (thank you for wearing your mask and protecting our student-athletes), so SHOW US YOUR RED, Porterville!

Communications Instructor Dr. Jonathan Hernandez
shows his incredible school spirit at Wednesday’s Game!

Cerro Coso Community College

How About Them Coyotes

The Cerro Coso men’s basketball team entered their home court on Wednesday night with a season long goal of pursing the playoffs in focus. But in order to do so, they would need to go through conference rival, San Bernardino Valley College. SBVC came into the Cerro Coso Gym as the #1 team in the IEAC and ranked #8 in the CCCAA coaches poll with a record of 9-2/17-4.

From the very tipoff, Cerro Coso controlled the tempo and won in the “little parts” of the game. Josh Miller (21 pts) won the tip and from there the Coyotes would roll on to a big 96-87 win over the Wolverines. Cerro Coso’s high energy performance was led by the hardnosed play of Kyren Gardner (17 pts) who really stepped up for his teammates Wednesday night by fighting for rebounds, playing strong on defense, and attacking the basket to keep the Coyotes on pace. Nathaniel Jackson also proved to be a key to the victory as he helped to keep a stingy SBVC defense out of rhythm with some shifty ball movement and cashing in on 20 points. 

With the win, Cerro Coso moves to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in conference and will travel to Palo Verde this weekend and face the pesky Pirates.

Cerro Coso returns home next weekend for their final home series when they face College of Desert on February 19 and 20.

Valles says CC Guides You Toward Bigger Goals

Meet Cerro Coso Promise student Geraldine Valles.  Originally from Laredo, Texas, Valles followed her boyfriend to Ridgecrest when he was picked up to play Baseball for the Coyotes.  Vales, an athlete herself, has been playing on the Women’s Volleyball team for two years.  She plans to graduate this May with a transfer degree in Liberal Arts Math and Science.  Her goal is to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin next fall and major in exercise science and psychology.  Ultimately she would like to become a sports psychologist to help athletes reach their full potential not only on the court/field but also mentally.

Valles says the Cerro Coso Promise program has not only helped her focus on helping others at Cerro Coso and in the community of Ridgecrest, but has also helped her financially with books, transportation, and tuition.  She believes other students should apply for the promise program “because it gets you involved at Cerro Coso by meeting new people, helping out around the campus, and has a great financial impact on college expenses.”

Her favorite memory of Cerro Coso “has been forming relationships with not only her fellow students but also faculty and staff.  Especially, Ms. Connie…she has always motivated me and made me feel like Cerro Coso is my home, she always asks how I’m doing and it’s great to always see her around campus to catch up whenever we can.

Valles encourages others to consider Cerro Coso because, “they have the best faculty and staff to help you throughout your college journey.  They helped me tremendously.  Even though, when I got to Cerro Coso Covid-19 had just started, the college implemented great ways to connect to professors and offered new technological advances for many subjects.

For the first time since launching in 2017, the Cerro Coso Promise Program is opening up for new applications this spring offering students up to two full-years of tuition-free education.  The Cerro Coso Community College Foundation (CCCC Foundation) launched the program in 2017 to ensure that no deserving student is denied the opportunity to earn a college degree or certificate.  Besides covering two full years of tuition-free education, the program helps with textbooks, counseling, and the kind of hands-on support that is helping student within the Kern Community College District service area develop an education plan to meet their career and academic goals. 

What makes this program unique is that it is not based on personal income and is open to all full-time students…new, returning, continue students who meet the criteria. 

The Cerro Coso Promise program provides access to community college education for students who might otherwise have been excluded due to financial barriers. 

Information and application for the Cerro Coso Promise Program is available on the college website at www.cerrocoso.edu

The Cerro Coso Promise is funded through the support of generous donors and the statewide California College Promise.

Students attending Cerro Coso Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses are eligible to apply for the Inyo or Mono Promise. 

5th Graders Attend Cerro Coso College Day Virtually

As they approach middle school, now is an ideal time to get fifth graders thinking about higher education.  What does a day in the life of a Cerro Coso student look like?  That and many other college related questions were the focus of the 5th Grade I’m Going to College Day held virtually on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022.

Cerro Coso is no stranger to technology, and now our society is better equipped than ever before to connect with each other virtually and that includes fifth graders. Unable to hold the event for the last two years, CC Outreach Director Katie Bachman leveraged college and local school technology to hold the event virtually and helped elementary school students embrace the new normal.  Three area elementary schools participated in the three-hour event via Zoom with 146 5th graders in attendance.  Activities allowed the 5th graders to experience college in a playful, creative, and collaborative way that would inspires them to pursue a higher education. 

Instructors and staff offered engaging sessions to help those in attendance learn about the educational options available to them at Cerro Coso.  Dr. Sean Hancock opened by welcoming and encouraging the students to consider their future as a Coyote at Cerro Coso.  Paralegal Professor Dawn Ward held a fun “Who Did It” session, English Professor Melanie Jeffrey’s led classes in Mad Libs, Counselor Karee Hamilton shared how high school students can earn a degree before graduating high school through the college Dual/Concurrent Enrollment program, Ashley Nichols familiarized students with the Library with some fun activities, and Cerro Coso students talked about student life on campus and their experiences at the college. Not sure what they want to do after high school?  That’s okay, Jennifer Marshall showed students how the CC Career Center can help. 

Each child will receive an “I’m going to college” t-shirt, share the Kern Pledge with mom and dad, and will sign a Kern Pledge banner indicating they intend to be responsible citizens by going to college or directly into the workforce. 

The experience is one they will never forget and stresses the importance of going to college long before they are ready to go.  “You have BRAINS in your HEAD. You have FEET in your SHOES. You can STEER yourself any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.” – Dr. Seuss

Cerro Coso Holds Evacuation Drills

Knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency can save lives. The week of January 31 through February 4, Cerro Coso exercised a series of Emergency Evacuation drills at all campus locations. 

Everyone in a building that was being evacuated was instructed exit the building in the quickest and safest route and travel to the closest evacuation assembly area. 

These drills are held every semester so everyone in the buildings knows and understands the evacuation plan and knows what to do in the event of a real emergency.  They also provide an opportunity to identify areas of concern to be addressed, and alter plans accordingly.

Keeping everyone fully trained is the best way to ensure an evacuation drill is effective at fulfilling its purpose. 

Bakersfield College

Umoja Celebrates Black History Month

BC’s Umoja Community kicked off Black History Month with their 4th annual conference. CSULA professor/performer Funmilola Fagbamila engaged attendees in a conversation on building coalitions in the Black community. The chat was on fire with comments and questions from BC students, BC faculty, and community members. Please consider joining one of the remaining events this month, including:

Congratulations to Olivia Garcia, KCHCC’s Newest Chair

This past weekend, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards dinner and welcomed in the new Chair of the Executive Board, BC’s Professor of History, Olivia Garcia.

With Corny Rodriguez and Paul Beckworth.

Bakersfield College was also recognized with an award, which was accepted by KCCD Trustee President, Romeo Agbalog.

Ralph Bailey congratulated Olivia and KCHCC President Jay Tamsi, who received a Humanitarian Award, on his show:

BC Art Professor Speaks to Liberty High School Students

Joseph Tipay, Professor of Art, presented to the Hispanics in STEM Club at Liberty High School just before the holidays. In addition to discussing his professional accomplishments, Joseph shared about being a first-generation college student, being system impacted, growing up facing adversity, and failing early in his college career.

After the presentation, students shared inspiring stories about their own journeys and dreams for the future. Joseph noted, “I’ve done panels and large Zoom conferences, but these intimate conversations are often the most impactful.” Tipay teaches Art classes in the Rising Scholars Program and at other BC locations. You can learn more about his work at Joseph Tipay Art.

Chancellor’s Seminar Series

Last week, the Chancellor’s Seminar Series focused on budgets with a session called “Dollars and Sense of Budgeting”.

Mike Giacomini shared insight into the process at Bakersfield College:

Lisa Couch spoke about Cerro Coso Community College:

And Arlitha also discussed Porterville College:

You can catch up on all the Chancellor’s Seminar Series at https://www.kccd.edu/chancellors-office/chancellors-communications/chancellors-seminar-series.

In the News

Meet Cerro Coso’s Dean

The Loop published this article about Cerro Coso Dean of Career-Technical Education Nicole Griffin, who spoked at the monthly Tehachapi Mountain Branch AAUW (American Association of University Women) of Tehachapi meeting.

Her talk described the transformative power of education for all, especially women and those in marginalized groups. 

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Check out these photos Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio shared from his figure drawing class:

We’re getting art show work ready! My Figure Drawing class was FIRE last night! I’m happy their enthusiasm and morale has them creative from beginning to end.

Porterville College shared this from the KCCD Leadership Academy:

What a wonderful and inspiring day sharing about PC projects and programs with the KCCD Leadership Academy!

The Cerro Coso Learning Assistance Center shared this beautiful snapshot from campus:

It’s a great day to close the textbooks and take a walk through campus.
Or, gather your things and find a spot to study.
Happy Friday!

Spotted John Means with Dolores Huerta on Facebook

I loved these beautiful flowers that BC Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel shared:

The first of our California Poppies are blooming along with our African Daisies.


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

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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