restructures outreach, educational partnership programs
By Diane Ainsworth, Public Affairs
14 February 2001 | Berkeley has implemented a new campus infrastructure to reinvigorate its outreach efforts and bolster educational partnerships in the community.
The new infrastructure is designed to broaden the ethnic diversity of UC-eligible students applying for admission to the University of California, according to Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Affairs Genaro Padilla.
"We are stepping up our efforts significantly to engage the campus community in helping us think through the best ways of approaching outreach," Padilla said. "New efforts must highlight endeavors that are strategic, integrated, comprehensive and sustainable in the long term.
"That change will help us enrich our approach to public service programs and the way we carry out our activities with the K-12 schools, community colleges and state university campuses," he said.
A Berkeley Outreach Symposium, to be held March 2 at Alumni House, will present superintendents, school district staff, the UC Office of the President and the campus community with a variety of perspectives on outreach programs. Participants will focus on evaluation and accountability, discuss improving university/school partnerships.
"Evaluation and accountability are foremost goals in our new outreach program," said Gregg Thomson, director of the Office of Student Research and co-chair of the symposium. "To achieve these goals, we are committed to establishing a database for students and teachers involved in outreach programs and introduce concrete benchmarks that we can use to measure student academic progress over time."
"That can be done by creating 'college-going' cultures in schools and in communities," said Gail Kaufman, Undergraduate Affairs chief of staff. In its new Berkeley School/University Partnership Imple- mentation Plan, submitted in January to the Chancellor's Administrative Policy Committee on Outreach, the Berkeley Outreach Steering Committee presented plans for fulfilling that goal.
In coordinating their activities, campus outreach programs such as the Subject Matter Projects, Lawrence Hall of Science, student-centered programs and initiatives, and departmental projects will be asked to join with other campus school/university partnership efforts to maximize the campus's investment with its partner schools and community colleges.
"Accountability and evaluation can be greatly enhanced by collecting and analyzing individual-level and aggregate student data and making it available to school/university partnerships and other outreach programs," Thomson said.
A Berkeley team will be established at each partner school site to track and report on the success of specific goals, such as reaching an increasing number of students targeted for specific Advanced Placement courses in mathematics, Kaufman added. Individual programs will help develop strategies and interventions to help meet these goals and participate in an evaluation process that will measure the campus's success in meeting benchmark indicators. In that way, the outreach program can strengthen its efforts and work to improve any weaknesses that become apparent.
"We want to enhance opportunities for students, parents, teachers and school administrators to commit themselves to educational equity, access and excellence by forming a college and university-going culture in their schools and communities," Padilla said. "To do that, we will establish and sustain resources, and expand upon them through research and evaluation. A well integrated Berkeley outreach implementation effort will create equity and access to college education."
A snapshot of El Cerrito High School, in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, provides fodder for Berkeley's newly adopted outreach efforts. The campus's 30-year investment in the school has helped make it one of the better urban schools and a top feeder to Berkeley.
"Our long-term investment and interest in this school makes us particularly interested in identifying actions that will strengthen outreach programs and enable the school to meet its challenges more effectively," Kaufman said.
According to recent statistics cited in a Berkeley report on school/university partnerships, graduate programs and community college outreach, El Cerrito's student body of 1,440 students is approximately one-quarter white, one-quarter Asian or Filipino and one-half African-American or Latino. Eleven percent of the students are English-language learners and 40 percent are on free and reduced lunch stipends. Eighty-seven percent of El Cerrito's teachers are fully credentialed.
Recently, though, the high school has begun to slip below its academic performance target. Statistics from the UC Office of the President showed a drop in the number of students from El Cerrito High School who were eligible and were admitted to UC between 1997-98. The data indicate a slight decrease in the number of applications between 1999-00 and 2000-01 and a slight decrease in admissions over the same time period.
The Professional Development Program, which has been in place for four years, combines year-round professional development activities for teachers with an academic-support program during the school year. If progress continues, the number of students enrolling in college preparatory mathematics courses will rise.
ACCESS, which works in tandem with the Professional Development Program, will be able to provide improved site-based professional development in mathematics and in-class mentoring support at El Cerrito and its feeder middle schools, Adams and Portola middle schools.
As a result of this collaboration, West Contra Costa County was awarded a Gear-Up grant that will enhance this work in mathematics from Portola Middle School to El Cerrito High School, with ACCESS and the Professional Development Program playing key roles, Kaufman said.
For symposium registration information, see http://uga.berkeley.edu/uga/symposium.htm#info or call 642-6727.
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