Looking Back at 2020

In this extraordinary year, The San Mateo County Community College District has innovated and pivoted to continue serving our students. Faculty and staff set up their home offices, reached out to students, and adapted courses to online format. Students, once again, showed their resolve and resilience in moving to online education.

Our students were already facing significant challenges in terms of housing, transportation, access to food, financial security, and equity in the classroom. The pandemic has only intensified those challenges. In response, the District adapted some student basic needs supports and launched several new ones:

San Mateo County Community College District Emergency Food Distribution
The District partnered with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley to launch a Friday food distribution program at CSM. The program quickly reached its maximum capacity of serving 1,000 families per week. To date the program has distributed 1.2 million pounds of food, worth more than $2 million, to more than 27,000 families.

In September, Skyline College added a food distribution program on Wednesdays. To date the program has distributed 300,000 pounds of food, worth $537,000, to 7,500 families.

Emergency Food Card Program
Before the pandemic struck, the District had begun to distribute monthly vouchers for free groceries to students identified as having food insecurity challenges. With campuses closed, the vouchers are now distributed digitally. About 1,600 students have received more than $1 million in grocery vouchers to date. The District has funded another $1 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Housing
The District allocated and distributed $100,000 in emergency funding to students for housing during the pandemic and set up a case management system to assist students with housing needs. The District SparkPoint Centers have also built a partnership with United Way Bay Area to provide rental assistance to students. About 30 students received housing vouchers this fall worth $1,750 each.

Chromebook and Hotspot Distribution
Without access to campus computers and wifi, many students were left without the technology they needed to continue their studies. The District acquired hundreds of Chromebooks and wifi hotspots to loan to students. This fall, about 400 Chromebooks are on loan to students, as well as 422 hotspots, and 128 calculators.

Drive-Up WiFi
Students can now make reservations online for a parking space in designated wifi parking lots. Students work from their cars, and campus restroom facilities are available.

Telemedicine
Using secure HIPAA-compliant Zoom technology, the College Health Centers now offer free telemedicine appointments to students. The telemedicine clinics offer medical advice, tuberculosis screenings, lab orders, some prescription refills, evaluation and treatment of illnesses and injuries, and referrals to other providers.

Flu Shot Clinics
The Health Centers have partnered with San Mateo County Health to offer free flu shots to employees and students. Each campus hosted a drive-through flu shot clinic in November or December.

Face-to-Face Instruction
With the community in need of healthcare workers, first responders, and job training/retraining programs, the District began piloting face-to-face instructional programs in the summer. While instructors have been able to convert most courses to a fully online format, not all instruction can take place remotely. Thanks to big support efforts from Facilities, ITS, and Public Safety, classes that must meet face-to-face are now doing so.

As of this fall, more than 700 students are participating in some form of on-campus instruction as part of their curriculum. A sampling of these courses includes:

Cañada College:
Medical Assisting
Radiology Technology

College of San Mateo:
Dentistry
EMT
Fire Academy
Nursing

Skyline College:
Automotive Technology
Cosmetology
Surgery Technology
Respiratory Care
STEM labs

Cañada College and Skyline College Vice Presidents Earn Top State Award

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. Tammy Robinson, Vice President of Instruction, Cañada College

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. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Vice President of Instruction, Skyline College

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.

For Students: How to change your grading options this semester

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.

Thank you,
Admissions and Records

Contact Us:
Cañada College Counseling Center
College of San Mateo Counseling Center
Skyline College Counseling Center

Or visit the Virtual Campus

San Mateo County Launches Partnership to Support Equity in Middle School Math Education

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.

Free Drive-Up Wi-Fi Now Available for SMCCCD Students

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.

Drive-Up Wi-Fi Website/Reservations

Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hours
Cañada College:
Monday – Friday, 6 am – 8 pm

College of San Mateo:
Monday – Saturday (except Fridays), 6 am – 8 pm

Skyline College:
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.  

San Mateo County Community College District Courses Remain Mainly Online for Spring 2021 Term

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.

EMPLOYEES: What to Do in Case of Power Shutoffs

PG&E has announced the possibility of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) this week. Here is what the District is doing to prepare, as well as guidelines for what to do if you lose power.

In the event of a power shutoff, online classes and meetings should continue as scheduled, but you should have a plan for how to reach your dean or supervisor if you lose power. Let them know what is going on. Instructors, deans, and supervisors are asked to make every effort to be flexible and understanding with anyone who is unable teach, learn or work due to a power shutoff.

Online classes
Online classes will continue as scheduled in the event of a PSPS. For detailed guidance on handling a PSPS, please see the District Academic Senate Guidance Statement on Major Power Outages.

Offices and meetings
Employees working from home should continue to do so as long as they have power. All meetings will continue unless announced otherwise by the meeting host.

Campus Procedures
The District communicates daily with PG&E and will have advance notice of any planned outages at any District campus or the District Office. If/when PG&E notifies the District of an upcoming outage, the District may close the affected location as a safety precaution. In the event of a power shutdown on a campus, face-to-face classes and all other campus operations will be closed. Some essential employees may still be required to come to work to preserve campus safety and facilities.

The District will notify students and employees of any campus closures. Updates will be posted at emergency.smccd.info.

What to Do in Advance of a PSPS

  • Make sure your dean or supervisor has your cell phone number.
  • Instructors and offices should create a phone tree in order to contact people during a power shutdown.
  • If you live in an affected area, notify everyone at the beginning of your classes/meetings that you could lose power.
  • Charge your phone and devices in advance.

What to Do if You Lose Power

  • Email or text your dean or supervisor to let them know.
  • Instructors should notify students on Canvas and encourage students to check in with their classmates.
  • If you are a meeting host, call or text a colleague in the meeting to let them know you lost power and that the meeting will be rescheduled.
  • If you are a meeting participant, email or text the meeting host to let them know you lost power and make arrangements to follow up when you have power.

Above all, please take care of yourself and others who are experiencing hardships due to a power shutoff. Please use patience and flexibility to allow students to complete course requirements, and to allow employees to complete their work.

Monitor updates at emergency.smccd.info.

STUDENTS: What to Do in Case of Power Shutoffs

PG&E may do Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) this week. Here is what students should do if you lose power.

Online classes will continue as scheduled, as long as your instructor has power, but you should have a plan for how to reach your instructor if you lose power. Your instructor will make arrangements for you to make up assignments or other requirements once power is restored.

Face-to-Face Classes
In the event of a power shutdown on a campus, face-to-face classes will be canceled. The District will notify students of any campus closures.

What to Do in Advance of a PSPS

  • Make sure your professor has your cell phone number.
  • Make sure your Canvas notifications are set to “daily” and announcements to “immediately.”
  • Charge your phone and devices in advance.

What to Do if You Lose Power

  • Email or text your instructor to let them know.
  • Check in with your classmates and friends to make sure they are okay.

Above all, please take care of yourself and others who are experiencing hardships due to a power shutoff.

Monitor updates at emergency.smccd.info.

Zoom Updates – May 22, 2020

Zoom has added even more security features and ability for meeting organizers to maintain control, in software client 5.0.  Please be sure to update to Zoom’s latest release to take advantage of these new features, and be prepared for transition to higher end encryption starting May 30. The 5.0 update includes:

Consent for unmute: When a meeting host has muted a participant, they can no longer unmute that person without their consent. That participant will now receive a prompt asking for consent to be unmuted. Note: With this feature, the option for hosts to Unmute All participants at once has been removed, but will return in a later release.

New audio for Waiting Rooms: We’ve created a specific audio chime for when someone hits the Waiting Room, so hosts are aware that they’re there. You can also enable the “Play sound when participants join or leave” feature to hear alerts when participants are coming and going.

Meeting information during screen share: Participants can now access meeting information, such as meeting ID, when sharing their screen. Find it under “More” in the meeting controls.

Multiple login restrictions: For meetings that require registration, hosts can choose whether to allow participants to join from multiple devices. This is available under Registration Options of the meeting details section in the web portal.

Classes Will be Online for Summer and Fall 2020

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Dear Cañada College, CSM, and Skyline College Students:

Fall Semester Will Be Online
The Fall 2020 semester at Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College will be online for most student programs.  Our faculty members, administration, and Board of Trustees have agreed this is the best way to keep our students and employees safe through the fall.  

There will be some exceptions for courses/labs in the healthcare and emergency services fields, as well as in STEM, career education, and other select areas. However, even these courses will be in hybrid format with lectures online and only necessary labs being done in-person. Specific courses will be determined in the coming weeks and your instructor will communicate with you about the details.

Register now for fall classes!

Student Services Will Be Online Through December 2020
All student services will also continue online through December 31, 2020. There may be some services that are absolutely necessary to provide in-person, so we will provide details this summer.

Summer Will Be Online
As we have previously announced, Summer classes will be online. This is a great time for you to get ahead for the fall or catch up on courses you may have had to drop or missed out on. Check WebSchedule for all the courses available to you this summer.

Need to Withdraw Or Change Your Grading Options?
If you need to drop a class, you can do that until the day BEFORE the last day of the class. Until May 21, you may also request to change grading option for a course to Pass/No Pass by filling out this Add/Drop form and emailing it to your admissions office:
Cañada Admissions
CSM Admissions
Skyline Admissions

We strongly advise you to talk to your counselor before making those decisions, because this may affect your academic progress and ability to transfer. See these New Student Guidelines for excused withdrawal, pass/no pass, and incomplete grading options. Here’s how to contact your counselor:

Register Even if You Owe A Little Money!
We know times are hard and we don’t want you to have to sacrifice your education. Even if you owe up to $49 in fees to the District, you will still be able to register for summer and fall classes. We are here for you and want you to complete your education, so if you are having difficulty paying for school please contact the Cashier’s Office at your College to find out about payment options:

The Census is Hiring! Apply Online to Be a Census Worker. And Fill Out Your Census!
The Census has been extended for four months, and San Mateo County is hiring field staff workers with pay up to $30/hour. Apply online at www.2020census.gov/jobs. If you have applied and need technical assistance, please call our Support Desk at 1-855-562-2020, and select Option 4.

Did you know you can complete your 2020 Census questionnaire online? Just go to www.my2020census.gov. Learn more at the San Mateo County Census 2020 website.

Do You Need Shelter, Food Assistance, or Basic Services?
Dial 2-1-1 for non-emergency resources or visit the District website for places to go for help.

Get the Latest District Information
District COVID-19 Page
Telephone Hotline: 650-574-6650