Monthly Archives: August 2018

2018 Promise Scholars Summer Institute

PSSI projectThe Skyline College Promise Scholars Summer Institute (PSSI) successfully finished its inaugural year of the Promise Scholars Program’s preparatory summer program with 98 entering freshmen completing either a 3-week or a 6-week accelerated program. Both modules were designed to accelerate student learning and placement into transfer level math and English as a central component of the Skyline College Promise for students to “Get In, Get Through and Graduate…On Time.”

The PSSI continued to recognize each student’s humanity and culture by developing relevant curriculum that would enable students to explore their own College Success Story. At the same time, the PSSI provided credit-bearing courses in math, English and Counseling to enable students to earn units, as well as prepare to move into transfer level courses. The 6-week program served 19 students who enrolled in an English workshop series, math workshop series or math 120 courses and Counseling 101 class. The 3-week program began midway through its counterpart and served 79 students who enrolled in either Math 110 or Math 120 and a Counseling 101 or Math 190 course. Students were immersed in classes from 9:00-5:00, Monday through Thursday, yet still found time to take part in social and community building events. To ease the academic immersion, PSSI sponsored a program bowling trip, as well as an evening at the San Francisco Giants where students could either apply their learned math or temporarily forget about it and have fun.

In addition to accelerating student placement and preparation into transfer level math and/or English, the 2018 PSSI enabled students to:
Develop their critical consciousness and thinking skills
Increase their comfort and confidence engaging the collegiate experience
Increase their academic skills and efficacy

An examination of early PSSI outcomes proved very promising. In the math component, which all students participated in, PSSI used ALEKS as a pre-and-post assessment. In a review of the ALEKS outcomes, we found:
6 Week Module:
Math 120 – 108% growth in math concepts learned
Math 811 – 203% growth in math concepts learned

3 Week Module:
Math 110 – 134% growth in math concepts learned
Math 120 – 37% growth in math concepts learned
Math 190 – 50% growth in math concepts learned

Additionally, the majority of participants passed their classes and moved into transfer level math and/or English.

The Program concluded on Thursday, August 2, 2018 with a PSSI Closing Ceremony with over 200 students, family members and guests celebrating the success of SSI students and launching them into the 2018-19 academic year.

Article by Michael Stokes

Skyline College Awarded Major Grant to Expand Promise Scholars Program to Five California Colleges

promise scholarsThe San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) has been awarded a $3,000,000 grant to support Skyline College’s Promise Scholars Program (PSP), and the implementation of the program at five colleges across the state, including the College of San Mateo and Cañada College. The grant was awarded by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors as part of $20 million distributed to 11 districts and colleges as part of the Chancellor’s Innovation Awards in Higher Education. SMCCCD was awarded the largest individual grant.

“The work the San Mateo County Community College District will be able to do as a result of this grant will be a game-changer for so many of our students,” said Ron Galatolo, SMCCCD Chancellor. “Creating clearly defined pathways from college entry to completion and providing comprehensive advising and wrap-around support services for students will allow them to be successful inside and outside the classroom.”

The Promise Scholars Program (PSP) at Skyline College is based on the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (CUNY ASAP) which has demonstrated the ability to dramatically increase completion and help eliminate equity gaps in student success based rigorous evaluation and experimental research. The grant funds will support the replication of that program to five colleges across California in order to increase graduation rates.

“This significant grant award validates and underscores the critical importance of the work Skyline College has done through its Promise Scholars Program,” said Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D, president of Skyline College. “We are now presented with an incredible opportunity to share this proven model with our sister colleges in the district and with other college’s throughout the state, ensuring that this comprehensive and conscientious work can transform lives and improve student success beyond the bounds of our campus.”

Skyline College is the only California community college that is recognized as a CUNY ASAP replication site, having received technical assistance from CUNY ASAP’s National Replication team since February 2017, as supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
“We are proud to continue and build upon our partnership with Skyline College, supporting their vision to expand the Promise Scholars Program so that San Mateo County Community College District realizes the unprecedented completion impact that ASAP has had across CUNY,” remarks CUNY’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and ASAP Executive Director Donna Linderman.

Skyline College will serve as the lead for the scaling of the PSP, first within the district, and subsequently throughout the state. A cohort of five colleges will receive structured technical assistance from CUNY ASAP and Skyline College for the implementation of the PSP model. Additional statewide workshops will be offered by the SMCCCD in partnership with the state Chancellor’s Office to disseminate the PSP model and its ability to achieve student success, equity, and completion outcomes.

About the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards
The 2017-18 Budget Act included $20 million for the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards to be awarded by the board of governors. The awards recognize innovations that improve student success, and are sustainable and capable of being scaled across the state, with a particular focus on all of the following:
Programs and frameworks that support students from groups that are underrepresented in higher education, such as low-income students, students from underrepresented schools and neighborhoods, first-generation students, students who are current or former foster youth, and students with disabilities.
Targeted services and programs for students who are current or former members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Programs and frameworks that support adults who have been displaced from the workforce, and adults who are underemployed, so as to obtain the necessary training for gainful employment.

Programs that support incarcerated adults in prisons and jails, including formerly incarcerated adults.

Programs that incorporate technology to improve instruction and support services with a plan to ensure student success in these types of programs.

A review committee, comprised of the chancellor’s executive staff and board members Connie Conway and Bill Rawlings, reviewed the readers’ findings and recommended the awardees and award amounts to the chancellor and board of governors. Those applicants receiving the highest scores are recommended for an Innovation Award.

The committee selected the following award winners:

  • Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District (Shasta College) – $1,500,000
  • Foothill-De Anza Community College District (De Anza College) – $1,900,000
  • Laney College – $1,100,000
  • Glendale Community College – $1,900,000
  • San Mateo Community College District (Skyline College, Cañada College and College of San Mateo) – $3,000,000
  • Santa Rosa Junior College – $1,600,000
  • College of the Redwoods – $1,200,000=
  • Imperial Valley College – $2,500,000
  • Chaffey Community College – $1,000,000
  • Kern Community College District (Bakersfield College) – $2,300,000
  • Irvine Valley College – $2,000,000

A list of all applications and more information can be found on the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards website.

Article by Cherie Colin | Photo by Kevin Perez

Dream Center Featured in New York Times Article

pamelaArticle Originally Printed in the New York Times

“Battle Over Immigration Rattles Community Colleges”

Pamela Ortiz Cerda vividly remembered the assignment six years ago from her Mexican-American history instructor at San Joaquin Delta College, a community college in Stockton, Calif. “He required voting for our class,” Ms. Ortiz Cerda said. Students were told to bring in voting ballot stubs as proof.

“I assumed it was a joke, but to the whole class he said, ‘And for you, all you illegals, I’m going to have immigration waiting outside the class for you if you don’t have the stubs,’” she said. “As a teenager, straight out of high school, that’s terrifying.”

Terrifying because Ms. Ortiz Cerda was undocumented herself, brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 9 by her parents, who sought a better life for the family.

In a statement, San Joaquin Delta College said that it would be “almost impossible” to know what happened in the history class so many years ago, but said that in recent years the school had taken steps to support undocumented students.
Ms. Ortiz Cerda, now 24, became an advocate for those like herself, and she is the program services coordinator at Skyline College’s Dream Center in San Bruno, Calif.
It is one of about 40 such centers in California that assist students without legal status, navigating the complexities of admissions and classes, and connecting them with financial aid. “It’s really a focused effort in supporting undocumented students holistically through their higher ed journeys,” she said.

The centers are part of an endeavor in the nation’s higher education system to help undocumented students attend classes and attain degrees. And while many of these programs have existed for years, there are concerns about pushback as the Trump administration has shifted to a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.

This has led colleges to develop policies, with California in the forefront, that would thwart possible interference by the federal government.

The concerns are especially acute at community colleges, which have more open admissions policies than selective four-year institutions. According to a report from the California Community Colleges System, up to 70,000 undocumented students attend the state’s 114 community colleges, more than 3 percent of the 2.1 million students enrolled.

“We have, as our primary mission, the embracing of all students, and it is our desire to be there for the most vulnerable and the most marginalized populations,” said Judy C. Miner, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, which serves Silicon Valley.

The official policy of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is to steer clear of college campuses, unless there is an extraordinary safety threat. “Enforcement actions are not to occur” at schools, according to the agency’s Sensitive Locations policy, “to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so, without fear or hesitation.” The same policy applies to churches and hospitals.

But after Donald J. Trump was elected president, following a campaign filled with rhetoric against undocumented people, colleges became concerned about the future of the Sensitive Locations policy. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement to colleges in November 2016 that said the policy would “remain in effect.”

However, in recent months, as scenes have unfolded of young immigrant children being separated from their parents and placed in detention centers, there are renewed doubts about how the current administration will treat undocumented college students.

“We don’t feel a level of confidence and security on behalf of our students,” said Dr. Miner, “given the fact that we hear so many stories that would indicate that our own laws are not being honored.”

In a statement last month, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said, “Yes, the policy is still in place.”

But Dr. Miner, as past chairman of the American Council on Education, which represents about 1,800 higher education institutions in the United States, said she and her colleagues had taken precautions. At her colleges and others, for example, any warrant from immigration officials must go directly to the college president for review and could be subject to a legal fight.
All of this is a sea change from just a few years ago, when many undocumented students were given temporary immunity from deportation after the Obama administration’s creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, in June 2012. An estimated 800,000 immigrants within a certain age range, who were brought to the United States as children, were allowed to remain as residents, attend school and obtain work permits.

The Trump administration effectively ended the program this year, and participants have been left in limbo as Congress considers an alternative, if any, and as challenges work their way through the courts.

Even before DACA, California had its own Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in 2011, allowing those brought into the state without documentation as children to attend college and receive financial aid and in-state tuition benefits. At some community colleges, that means paying $46 per credit, instead of more than $200.

And now state lawmakers are considering a new bill, AB-2477, that could create even more support centers for undocumented college students.

But in the current political climate, undocumented students in other states have faced resistance. In April, the Arizona Supreme Court eliminated in-state tuition benefits for them, and similar programs face legal hurdles in several other states, according to a recent analysis.

“There’s so much enmity that it’s looking very hopeless, honestly,” said a mathematics student at Skyline College, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his identity. “People talk about the whitelash to Obama, to the first black president, and this was bound to happen.”
The student’s mother brought him to the United States from Mexico at age 13, when she was fleeing a violent husband. He worked at auto shops, warehouses and in manufacturing to support his mother and six siblings. Now, at 41, he has been able to get an associate degree and has ambitions for a bachelor’s.

He said he had often faced hostility as an undocumented person, but not at college. “I don’t feel fearful when I’m at school,” he said. “I don’t feel my studying is threatened, at least not yet.”

For Dr. Miner, the community college chancellor, the stakes are also personal. Her mother was undocumented, brought to the United States from Mexico at age 3 or 4 — in another era, she also would have been a “Dreamer.”
“Her own fear of discrimination led her to never speak Spanish to us, even though that was her first language, so we never grew up bilingual,” Dr. Miner said. “She was of that generation of immigrants who were so concerned about their children being real Americans.”

Article by Scott James of The New York Times | Photos by James Tensuan for the New York Times

Skyline College Zero Textbook Cost Solutions Help Students Save Money!

Image ztcSkyline College is committed to ensuring affordable textbook solutions for students.

This fall, Skyline College has almost 80 course sections that have adopted zero textbook cost (ZTC) or open educational resources (OER) course materials. We anticipate that this will save students almost $300,000 in fall 2018 alone.

The ZTC Team is committed to supporting campus efforts which increase the adoption and availability of ZTC materials.

Interested in learning more about finding and adopting ZTC and OER materials? Visit the ZTC website for more information.

Help Skyline College work towards a student savings of $1,000,000 by spring 2019!

Article by Ame Maloney and Bianca Rowden-Quince

Skyline College Launches “Sustainability Academy” at Local Elementary School

Rollingwood trainingA new school year promises not only new students, but also new programs and opportunities. This year, Skyline College is partnering with Rollingwood Elementary School to start a sustainability program that will shape young champions of sustainability by educating the school’s students about issues including energy, waste, water, and transportation.

To kick off the program, Skyline College worked with the San Mateo County Office of Education to facilitate a two-day training for the teachers at Rollingwood. The training served as a space for teachers to plan out how they will incorporate sustainability into their lesson plans. By participating in a number of exercises and discussions about systems thinking and environmental problems on the first day, Rollingwood faculty quickly became sustainability experts. They returned on the second day to create units that highlight a specific sustainability issue to teach over the course of this academic year.

In addition to the training, Skyline College will support Rollingwood by connecting student interns from the Energize Colleges program to assist the teachers with lessons and activities.

If you know of any students who might be interested in an internship, please have them contact Carla Grandy ( or Mary Thomasmeyer (

Article by Mary Thomasmyer

Skyline College Solar Boat Embarks to Berkeley

solar boatThe six student crew members who participated in the SMUD Solar Boat competition in May and their advisor participated in the SunDay FunDay outreach event at the Lawrence Hall of Sciences (LHS) on August 5, 2018, an event tailored to facilitate STEM interest and education for young children (~10 years of age). As the theme was sustainability, the Solar Boat was the perfect addition.

In contrast to the SMUD Solar Boat regatta in early May, for which the Skyline Solar Boat was originally designed, this activity was all about demonstrating and explaining. All crew members did a fantastic job of presenting their boat – with almost a year of build-time – to inquisitive museum visitors. Aside from the presentation the team also conducted a workshop for the young visitors to build their own boats. The participants could choose between four different boat designs: a balloon bubble boat, a steam boat, little paddle boats and sail boats. This elicited such excitement and enthusiasm in the kids wanting to learn more about different types of propulsion that the team was besieged from 10 am in the morning until 3 pm in the afternoon.

This event though, was for three of our students the last ‘ride’ on the Solar Boat, as Mikaela Quintos, Alex Hercules and Clifford Yu all now successfully transferred to a four-year college. Congratulations! Lucky for us, the other members, Daniel Messier, Gianni Grelli and Jonathan Weber are excited to remain part of the Solar boat team which with new challenges will set off on its further voyage to the 2019 Solar Boat Regatta.

Article by Marco Wehrfritz

The Paralegal Program now has ABA approval!

The Paralegal Program at Skyline College is now officially an ABA-approved program!

Hundreds of hours of work and several years of work went into the application process and the preparation for the ABA site team’s visit. In Fall 2016, Skyline College applied to the American Bar Association (ABA) for approval of the Program. In Summer 2017, the ABA completed its review of the Program’s application and scheduled Skyline College for a site visit on February 19 – 21, 2018. In August, 2018, after a successful site visit, the ABA granted approval to Program.

While the program is already strong and graduates are getting jobs, ABA approval could provide program graduates with an additional edge in the competitive legal job market and raise awareness of the program among potential students and legal employers.

Many staff members, paralegal professionals, and alums have supported the Program throughout the application process. Their support and the tireless efforts of the paralegal faculty helped transform the Program into an effective one. We would like to thank College President Regina Stanback Stroud for her commitment to the program and for providing sufficient resources for its growth. Her vision, along with the dedication of the faculty, staff, students and community have yielded good results. In the words of the ABA site team:

“The Skyline Paralegal Program is an impressive program under the capable direction of Jesse Raskin. The Program is well-positioned in the community it serves. It has a dedicated, knowledgeable, and supportive administration, from the Program Director to the College President. It has a motivated, talented, and diverse faculty and an enthusiastic student body. Its Advisory Committee is very active and engaged.”

The Paralegal Program at large is thrilled with the news! We look forward to collaborating across the College, with our Advisory Committee, and with alums and current students, to ensure that we continue to grow and excel. For more information about the Paralegal Program, please contact Jesse Raskin, or visit

Article by Maria Segarra and Jesse Raskin

SparkPoint Accepting Applications for Fall 2018 Grove Scholarships

Grove WallSparkPoint at Skyline College is currently accepting scholarship applications for 25 Career and Technical Education (CTE) students the Fall 2018 cohort. Grove Scholarship applications are available online at and are due by September 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Eligible students will be selected for the program based on three short personal statements that describe who they are, why they have chosen their career path, and why financial literacy is important to them. Academic standing and GPA are not a factor in selection, as long as the student meets the minimum requirement of 2.0 GPA and 75% completion rate. Once being selected for the Grove Scholars Program, students will receive individualized financial coaching and career counseling, as well as a $2,000 scholarship for the semester.

If you would like to refer a student to the Grove Scholars Program or if you would like a SparkPoint staff member to share scholarship information or other SparkPoint Services with your class or program, please call 650-738-7035, or email our SparkPoint Coordinator, Flor Lopez, at

SparkPoint is located in Bldg. 1, Room 1-214.


Article by Chad Thompson

Associate Degree Respiratory Care Program Conferred Continuing Accreditation

Respiratory AccreditationThe Associate Degree Respiratory Care Program was recently granted continuing accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). The accreditation review included a recent, two-day site visit on campus. The evaluators were greeted by the faculty, staff, students and program administrators welcoming them to Skyline College’s amazing campus. During their visit, the evaluators toured the program facilities, including the classrooms and the new simulation lab. Interviews were conducted with program and institutional administrators, faculty, graduates, students and advisory board members. The program received glowing reviews and was conferred continuing accreditation through the year 2028.

Thank you to everyone who made the site visit a huge success, especially Nadia Tariq, Ray Hernandez, Brian Daniel and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza for their continuous attention and contributions to the program. A special thanks to community leaders, faculty, staff students and graduates who came out to support the program.

Article by Gretchen Keys | Photo by Ray Hernandez

Phi Theta Kappans Teaching Older Adults

Skyline College’s Phi Theta Kappa members developed a program called Computer Literacy and Internet Competency for Seniors (CLICS).

The research that the students did showed older adults can actually get some of the greatest benefits from computer use. The internet can prevent social isolation and provide mental stimulation. Moreover, people can remain independent because they can do many of their chores such as shopping and bill paying online.

During the summer, our students led workshops on smartphones, tablets, and computers for seniors at the Magnolia Senior Center. Our remarkable students taught their students in 11 different languages.

Article by Christine Case