The District’s draft ADA Transition Plan and ADA Self-Evaluation have gone to the SMCCCD Board of Trustees for approval in its Feb. 24 meeting. The draft plans were published last fall for review and comment by our District community and the public, and that input has been included in the final draft. The plans cover all three campuses and the District Office. See smccd.edu/ada2020 for details.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, certain categories of professionals have been designated “essential workers” for their role in maintaining the health and safety of the community. While most of our classified staff, faculty, and administrators work from home, these employees still come to work to keep campuses, buildings and technology running smoothly to support the District’s educational mission. With three college campuses and the District Office to support, and with the complexities of intensive sanitization and safety procedures, these teams are more essential than ever.
The District Facilities team continues to work full time during the pandemic. Every classroom, lab, hallway, staircase, door handle and elevator associated with a face-to-face class must be sanitized every day in order to keep people safe. Approximately 85 groundskeepers, engineers and custodians are onsite every day. Three facilities managers and three custodial supervisors, and a project coordinator oversee these operations.
Prior to the pandemic, the Facilities custodians had already been certified hospital-grade cleaning and disinfecting techniques by the Cleaning Management Institute. They have kept up to speed on Coronavirus sanitization techniques by participating in workshops through the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). Teams also now use a specialized Clorox 360 electrostatic disinfecting machine.
The team also continues to maintain District physical assets, monitoring central boiler and chiller plants, monitoring critical life safety and building systems, and performing regular grounds keeping.
Information Technology Services
With most employees working remotely, and nearly all classes being taught online, technology is more important than ever. A team of 30 information technology professionals is on campus every day to support the District’s networks infrastructure, learning management systems, databases, business and records systems, communications systems, websites, and equipment. The team provides remote technical support for employees working from home, loans laptops and other equipment to employees and students, and has built the infrastructure to offer free Wi-Fi for students in the college parking lots.
The pandemic and its restrictions make safety, security, and controlling campus access of paramount importance. Access to the campuses and their buildings must be protected in order to offer food and technology distributions, face-to-face classes, and other high-priority campus operations. A team of 37 Public Safety employees makes this possible, working round-the-clock onsite at the three campuses.
Public Safety added six temporary employees to assist with staffing the campus access points, where people are screened for entry to the campuses. These employees work outside in summer heat, winter cold, rain and smoke, and have become experts at safely contacting and communicating with hundreds of people at our access points.
Public Safety has assigned several employees to assist with the facilitation of every food distribution event at Skyline and CSM since they began. Officers also assist with other campus operations like technology distributions and flu shot clinics.
The Public Safety emergency manager and emergency management coordinator have taken a lead role in the startup and ongoing work of the District’s Emergency Operations Center.
We are more than halfway through the Fall 2020 semester and would like to remind you that you have the ability to change grading options on courses until the last day of the course. You can use WebSMART to do the following:
- Withdraw from a course with an “EW-Excused Withdrawal”
- Change the Grading Option from Letter Grade to Pass/No Pass or Vice Versa
To determine how these options will affect your educational goal, financial aid, and/or transfer status, please meet with a counselor BEFORE making any change.
Keep in mind that we are not giving “F” grades for Fall 2020, due to the extraordinary hardship students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instread, anyone not passing a class will receive an “NP” grade, which does not have an impact on your GPA.
Please be aware that these options will be available up to the last day of instruction for the class, before the week of final exams. You can find the last date for your specific course on WebSchedule by clicking on the course and scrolling down to “critical dates for this course.” You can also locate the specific dates for your course on WebSMART by going into the Student Services tab and under Registration. Your schedule will appear with the Important Dates.
You also have up to a year after the course ends to request a withdrawal: just fill out the online request form and send to your college Admissions & Records office.
Admissions and Records
Or visit the Virtual Campus
At its annual conference in November, the California College Facility Coalition (CCFC) presented its Paul Holmes Facilities Leadership Achievement Award to Jose Nuñez, Vice Chancellor of Facilities Planning, Maintenance & Operations. The award is given each year to a state community college facilities leader who demonstrates a commitment and dedication to the organization’s mission and vision of enhancing facilities for the students of California’s community colleges.
In the awards presentation, Nuñez was recognized by his peers for his accomplishments at the District as well as his impact across the state. They cited his mentorship of many successful community college facilities professionals, his support of talent within his own organization, and for creating networks for sharing and problem-solving across districts. According to CCFC, Nuñez was the first to utilize the design-build project delivery method in Northern California and has been a leader in sustainability and the COVID-19 response.
The District’s Facilities Planning, Maintenance and Operations team operates under a “Facilities Excellence” philosophy, and colleagues across the District are familiar with his “Team Work = One Team!” mantra.
Nuñez served 22 years with the U.S. Army, retiring as a major. During his military career, Major Nuñez served in numerous infantry and foreign assignments around the world.
After a comprehensive search process and final approval from the Board of Trustees, Daman Grewal was named District Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The Chancellor announced the appointment to District employees on November 2.
Grewal oversees the District’s Information Technology Services (ITS) office, which includes 30 staff working at the three colleges and the District Office. He and his team are responsible for providing students and employees with business technology, learning management systems, databases, communications systems, websites, phone, computers, and many other essential tools for supporting the District’s educational mission.
“Daman is a well-experienced professional with exceptional knowledge, skills and abilities to lead teams, build consensus, and provide sound guidance and advice and to facilitate processes that engage stakeholders from across the District,” Chancellor Claire said in his announcement. “I am confident that he will continue to serve the District well in his role as our Chief Technology Officer.”
Prior to joining the District as a contract employee with Strata Information Group in 2019, Grewal held many senior IT roles in higher education, including as Chief Information Technology Officer at City College of San Francisco, Chief Information Officer at the Cal State Maritime Academy, Director of Technical Services at Ohlone Community College District, and an IT Services Manager at Stanford University. He received a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Delhi University (India) and an MBA from the University of Lincoln (England).
The Carter Doran Leadership Award is given annually to honor leaders in community college instruction
California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO) has bestowed its top award on two vice presidents from the San Mateo County Community College District. Dr. Tammy Robinson, Vice President of Instruction at Cañada College in Redwood City, and Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Vice President of Instruction at Skyline College in San Bruno, were honored with the statewide Carter Dolan Chief Instructional Officer Leadership Award at CCCCIO’s virtual conference last week. The award recognizes an active instructional administrator who exemplifies leadership by showing qualities that Carter Doran embodied in his role as teacher/dean at Mt. San Antonio and Vice President of Instruction at Santa Ana and College of the Canyons.
“Dr. Robinson and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza have exemplified courageous leadership and embody the spirit of the Carter Doran Leadership award,” said CCCCIO President Dr. Jennifer Vega La Serna. “They have led with heart, demonstrated creativity, shown sustained commitment to addressing instructional challenges, and together have made a profound impact on their colleges and the entire California Community College System.”
Also honored with the award was Dr. Stacy Thompson, Vice President of Academic Services at Chabot College in Hayward. The three vice presidents worked together in 2020 to lead an examination of equity gaps and structural racism in the California community college system.
“Dr. Robinson and Dr. Taylor-Mendoza are truly exceptional leaders, with vision and strength that have not only facilitated transformation at Cañada College and Skyline College but have also sparked action across the state community college system,” said San Mateo County Community College District Chancellor Michael Claire. “I am so proud of them and their colleagues statewide for their swift action on behalf of our students.”
Dr. Robinson was cited for rallying her statewide chief instructional officer colleagues to action after the murder of George Floyd earlier this year. She helped to organize state instructional leaders’ Call to Action town halls, and she has been a strong voice for institutional change. She has spoken at a number of statewide events on campus climate, equity and workforce development.
Dr. Robinson, along with Dr. Thompson, created, planned, facilitated and presented at the inaugural African American Leadership Institute. She is past president of the Western Regional Council on Black American Affairs and currently serves as the organization’s Vice President of Development.
Dr. Taylor-Mendoza serves as the chief instructional officers’ representative to the State Chancellor’s Office Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) implementation workgroup. She is also the chair of the newly created CCCCIO DEI Steering Committee, bringing together seven chief instructional officers to serve as strategy leads.
Dr. Taylor-Mendoza is also a co-author of the book “Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges: Theory and Practice in Achieving Educational Equity.” The book has been shared nationally and locally and has become a resource for colleges in addressing the equity gaps that have become even more evident during the current pandemic.
The San Mateo County Community College District now offers free Wi-Fi access for students at all three campuses. The new “Drive-Up Wi-Fi” service allows students to park in a specially designated parking lot on the campus of their choice, where they can access Wi-Fi to attend online classes or do schoolwork.
The program was made possible by an all-District team of staff and administrators who have been working to design a system that provides convenient student Wi-Fi access while maintaining District health and safety requirements during the pandemic.
Reservations are required. Students can pick the campus most convenient to them, fill out the Eventbrite reservation form, print or download their Eventbrite ticket, and follow the instructions. Restrooms are available. Students have in/out privileges for the Drive-Up Wi-Fi lot between 6am – 8pm.
Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hours
Monday – Friday, 6 am – 8 pm
College of San Mateo:
Monday – Saturday (except Fridays), 6 am – 8 pm
Monday – Friday (except Wednesdays), 6 am – 8 pm
Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Rules
- Review COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you are sick
- Make a reservation on Eventbrite and bring your ticket to campus
- Check in at the Public Safety Access Point
- Drive to the Wi-Fi lot and park in any space with a GREEN cone
- Only members of the same household in each vehicle
- All vehicle occupants must remain in the vehicle except to use restrooms
- Read and follow all rules on your Eventbrite ticket
- Abide by the Student Code of Ethics
For more information, please see the District Drive-Up Wi-Fi website.
The three colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District – Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College – will continue to hold courses in online and distance education modalities, as well as provide most student services remotely, through the end of the Spring 2021 semester. The San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees formally ratified the decision in their meeting on Sept. 23.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt higher education along with every other sector,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Mike Claire. “This decision allows our employees to plan ahead for a successful spring semester, and it lets students know what to expect. Staying online is the best way to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe.”
The Board’s decision was based on the recommendation of the Chancellor and supported by a recommendation from the District Academic Senate. Faculty, staff and students have expressed a need to have as much time as possible to plan for the spring term.
Most employees will also continue to work remotely through May 2021.
In-person instruction will continue for certain essential infrastructure sectors–healthcare, emergency services, and transportation fields, as well as critical STEM labs in key transfer areas, and to meet licensing requirements for career education programs–in order to train first responders and healthcare workers to address urgent community needs and to provide direct pathways to employment. Due to criteria set by the State that include requirements for social distancing, classroom/lab sanitization procedures, and other health precautions, the number of people at SMCCCD campuses will be kept at a minimum.
During summer 2020, Colleges provided a massive professional development program to train instructors in online education. Approximately 600 college faculty participated, as well as dual enrollment faculty, faculty instructors, and other support staff. The training program was supported by more than $1.4 million in Federal CARES Act funding as well as District funds.
The District has launched a number of programs to help students cope with the ongoing crisis. Drive-Up WiFi service is available six days a week to help students attend online classes and complete their schoolwork. In a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the District now offers free food distribution on Wednesdays at Skyline College, and Fridays at College of San Mateo. The District is distributing more than $4.2 million in federal CARES Act funding to students to assist with financial challenges. The three Colleges have been distributing loaner Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots and other supplies to students. Healthcare services are available via telemedicine free of charge to students.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the San Mateo County Community College District’s International Education program – San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley – has been awarded the U.S. government’s highest honor for export success. Secretary Ross conferred on the program The President’s “E” Award, which was first established by President Kennedy in 1961, for contributions to American export growth. The SMCCCD program is the only educational institution among the 28 companies and businesses nationwide honored with this year’s prestigious award.
“It is an honor to receive The President’s “E” Award and be recognized for the tremendous work our team has done to grow and support our international educational program,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Michael Claire. “We believe that engaging international students to come and study at our colleges enriches the culture, education and diversity of our campuses and our community. This award is further validation of that belief.”
From 2015 to 2019, the SMCCCD’s International Education Program served more than 6,500 students from 135 countries. In recent months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international program has pivoted its offerings to increase access for international students from the convenience of their home country. Through enhanced online classes, programs and support services, international students are able to enroll at the colleges of the SMCCCD – Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College – through the District’s Global Online Learning (GOL) initiative.
“We are thrilled that our Global Online Learning program has been recognized for its reach from Silicon Valley to parts across the globe, while emphasizing local connections and support for students,” said Dr. Jing Luan, Provost for International Education and leader of the District’s San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley. “As we diversify our delivery methods and bring our classrooms to students’ homes across the world, we expect greater opportunities for learning and success for all students.”
For more information on the international education program, visit smccd.edu/international.
The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) and the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) announced today the development of a new series of courses designed to promote greater equity in mathematics education. The courses, offered in partnership with Education Trust-West, will provide educators with an integrated approach to mathematics that centers on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards.
Equity gaps for historically disadvantaged student groups are well documented. In the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) administration, 17 percent of Black/African American and 24.2 percent of Hispanic/Latino 8th graders met the Math standard, compared to 73.9 percent of Asian students and 51.6 percent of White students. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a national test of student performance, California’s students are 4 percent points below the national average, with Black, Hispanic, Low Income, Students with Disabilities, and English Learners performing in the lowest performance band (NAEP basic).
Responding to this glaring need to improve math outcomes for all students, SMCOE, SMCCCD, and Education Trust-West gathered instructional designers, math experts, teachers, and teacher-trainers to design and deliver the online series of classes. The program is based on Education Trust-West’s toolkit, A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, which addresses gaps in student outcomes with activities for uncovering bias and strategies for infusing antiracist pedagogy.
The training will address methods for deepening content understanding and relevance; creating environments and practices that support students’ social, emotional, and academic development; and strengthening the interconnectedness of English language learning and the development of mathematical thinking.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Community College District and Education Trust-West on this critical initiative,” explained San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. “It is only by working together, especially across systems, that we can accelerate success for all students.”
The series launches today on October 27, 2020, and includes a set of short courses held once a week over five weeks. In this first offering, SMCOE and SMCCCD, through its Community, Continuing & Corporate Education (CCCE) division, anticipate training up to 200 middle school teachers. The California Partnership for Math and Science Education will organize special groups to provide follow-up support and give teachers the opportunity to speak with each other about their work implementing the toolkit.
With this training series, SMCOE and SMCCCD build on their experience designing and delivering training for teachers on distance learning throughout the summer and early fall. That training, which is still in demand, has equipped 20 percent of San Mateo County educators with the skills not only to teach online, but also design lessons, conduct assessments, keep students engaged, and communicate effectively.
For more information on this partnership, please visit the Micro-Course website.