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Archive for the ‘SPC’ Category

Black-History-Month-Reception-Feb-2016

Gov. Scott and First Lady Scott with Michaela Polmann and family the governor’s mansion.

Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott recently honored SPC Early College Program student Michaela Polmann as the high school winner of the 2016 Black History Month Student and Teacher Contest.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade submitted art and essays around the 2016 theme “Honoring African American Heroes.”

Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott’s encouraged contest participants to honor past or present heroes who have helped make Florida a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

Polmann, a senior at Dunedin High School, submitted an essay honoring Valdez (Val) Demings, the first female chief of police in the Orlando Police Department.  The quote, from Demings, that resonated the most was “I can break up the fight and never put my hands on anybody because I am using my best weapon . . . The most important weapon that we have, we bring to the job, and that’s the good mind and brain that we have. That’s what makes you a great law enforcement officer.”

“She is a truly admirable woman and was the perfect topic for my essay,” said Polmann.

Polmann – headed for success

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the honorary essay winner was invited to the governor’s mansion and received a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

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Michaela Polmann

This May Polmann will be graduating from SPC with an Associate in Arts, then from Dunedin High School in June. After graduation, she plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and then attend medical school

“Early College has prepared me to enter a 4-year university and has inspired me to apply for scholarships such as Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott’s Black History Month Essay Contest,” said Polmann. “My Early College counselor, Ms. Hall, and Dunedin High School counselor, Ms. LaMondra, have encouraged me to work hard to reach my goals.”

“After working as a counselor/educator for the past 33 years, I would say that Michaela is in the top 2 percent of all students I have worked with in my career,” said Early College Academic Counselor Alice Hall. “She is exemplary in all ways. She is brilliant academically but has impeccable character as well. She has a wisdom, strength and competence concerning life that is far beyond her years.”

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Since the Seminole Community Educational Ecosystem began three years ago, nearly 2,000 elementary, middle and high school students have visited St. Petersburg College to help hone their focus on their academic end goal – a college credential that will change their lives.

The educational ecosystem in Seminole stemmed from a grassroots effort in 2013 among five school principals and their School Advisory Committee members who wanted to reach beyond the traditional role of SACs. The educational ecosystem is based on research and best practices that champion the idea that it takes a community to educate a child.

“It’s about engaging the community in the educational process,” said Jesse Coraggio, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services at SPC. “It’s the idea that educating the youth in the community shouldn’t be the response of just the school district or just the college; it really should be the response of the community and only together are we going to be successful.”

Coraggio helped spark the ecosystem idea when he was a SAC volunteer SAC at Bauder Elementary School, where his daughter attended. He and other parents wanted to explore how groups could work together across grade levels to prepare students and facilitate key transitions, such as those between elementary and middle school, middle school and high school, and high school and college.

As part of the program, fifth-graders visit SPC for “Picture Yourself Here” events, designed to inspire them to think about college at an early age. High school juniors and seniors attend SPC “Majors Fairs” and other programs with their parents to help explore, investigate and decide on college choices, and navigate the steps to successfully enroll and register.

The ecosystem idea has gained momentum and is now sparking conversations among SPC, communities and schools in Clearwater, south St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs.

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St. Petersburg College celebrated the milestone of graduating its 150,000th student on Saturday, Dec. 12 in two fall commencement ceremonies at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks.

“Our first graduating class, in 1929, had a total of 48 graduates,” said St. Petersburg College President William D. Law Jr., in addressing the graduates. “Today, we celebrate the momentous occasion of our 150,000th graduate. This is a milestone that will not soon be forgotten, and all of you will always hold a special place in the history of SPC as a part of this graduating class.”

During the ceremonies, attendees got to watch videos of six graduates who represent the diversity of SPC alumni and students. The videos were part of a campaign SPC launched to honor current graduates and past alumni who have helped shape the college over the years. The college encourages well wishers, graduates and alumni to visit www.spcollege.edu/wearespc and use #WeAreSPC on social media accounts.

“All of you represent our 150,000th graduate,” Law said. “It is exactly our diversity – of age and gender, of ethnicity, race and religion – that makes SPC the wonderful institution it is.”

SPC’s students “represent single mothers and military veterans … immigrants and grandmothers … students who have overcome adversity … students straight out of high school … and students who returned to their education later in life. They come from various backgrounds and academic programs, but they all share a common dream: to earn their college degree.”

About 820 of the Fall semester’s 1,982 graduates participated in Fall commencement. Of the 2,258 degrees and certificates being conferred this fall:

  • 1,450 are associate degrees
  • 496 are bachelor’s degrees
  • 312 are certificates and advanced diplomas.

This fall’s youngest graduate is 17; the oldest is 79. There are 21 graduates over the age of 60. More than 200 students will earn more than one degree or certificate. See all our graduation statistics.

 

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#WeAreSPCAt St. Petersburg College’s 129th commencement on Saturday, Dec. 12, the college will mark the milestone of graduating its 150,000th student.

Commencements will take place in two ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Each ceremony is expected to last about one and a half hours and about 822 of this semester’s 1,982 graduates are expected to participate.

To celebrate the momentous occasion of meeting – and surpassing – 150,000 graduates, SPC recently launched a campaign honoring current graduates and past alumni who have helped shape the college over the years. A special video will be shown at each ceremony, featuring members of the graduating class who showcase the diversity of SPC students.

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SPC invites the community to learn about some of our December 2015 graduates and our notable alumni, and share how SPC has influenced them by visiting www.spcollege.edu/wearespc and using #WeAreSPC on social media accounts.

Of the 2,258 degrees and certificates being conferred this fall:

  • 1,450 are associate degrees
  • 496 are bachelor’s degrees
  • 312 are certificates and advanced diplomas.

This fall’s youngest graduate is 17; the oldest is 79. There are 21 graduates over the age of 60. More than 200 students will earn more than one degree or certificate. See all our graduation statistics.

Follow our social media posts, catch live streams of the ceremonies, and learn about graduation day instructions for students on our dedicated graduation page.

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Achieving the DreamThis week, St. Petersburg College officials co-hosted a webinar entitled When Legislation Changes the Game: The New Playbook for Responding to Remedial Need for fellow Achieving the Dream (ATD) institutions.

Part of the ATD’s Technology Solutions Webinar series, the 45-minute presentation featured Jesse Coraggio, SPC’s Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness & Academic Services; Joseph Leopold, SPC’s Director of Learning Resources and Christa Ehmann Powers, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer for Pearson’s online tutoring service Smarthinking.

During the webinar, Coraggio shared how leaders at SPC got ahead of the 2014 Florida law that overhauled developmental education and now exempts most younger students from taking college prep courses although they may need them. To promote student success, SPC devised a new approach to identifying students’ remedial needs, advising students on their options, and integrating campus-based support and online services, such as Smarthinking.

Students exempt from developmental education are placed in flexible placement tracks, which allows college advisors to recommend courses based on predictive models using mainly high school and/or military records.

“We wanted to build a system to give students as much information as possible and wanted to make sure everyone had a good idea of what this legislation was about, and how we were approaching it,” Coraggio said. “We were able to accomplish a lot in a very short period of time by making sure we were focused on helping our students as the legislation became enacted.”

In 2011, with help from a state grant, SPC began offering free modular courses or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), aimed at preparing students for college-level reading, writing and math courses. It then began focusing on integrating five high-impact practices that would become known as the College Experience, which has proven invaluable to student success. SPC employees monitor the results of these five measures each week in an effort to provide the best support to students.

So far, SPC students have increased their use of out-of-classroom support at Learning Centers by 47 percent and Smarthinking by 16 percent. SPC students who seek out-of-class support at least ten times in a semester have an 80 percent chance of completing the course with a “C” or better.

While most students receive tutoring services in person at SPC campuses, 10 percent use Smarthinking, which provides critical support for students who may not be on a campus.

“Providing students with adequate out-of-class supports is important for any college, but it’s especially critical in an environment where students have the ability to forego developmental education that they might truly need,” Leopold said. “It’s also important that these supports are available in delivery formats that work for students. Our Virtual Learning Commons offers a simple, streamlined way to connect students to out-of-class support they need and is available both on grounds and online.”

For Fall 2014, 70.5 percent of the students who took courses that college advisors recommended were successful compared to a success rate of 55 perecent among students who did not take the recommended courses.

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Coraggio cautioned that it’s often difficult to “convince students they need to remain in remedial education despite all the information we provide them. At the end of the day we see the lower success rates and we just need to find a way to help these students be successful.”

For its ongoing work on student success, in 2012 SPC joined the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network. It is considered the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. Currently more than 200 colleges from 36 states are among its members.

In September, Achieving the Dream named SPC a Leader College. This is a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. SPC was the only college in Florida selected to receive the designation this year.

Check out the entire webinar

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During 2014-15, Florida’s prison system has been rocked by a series of stories in state newspapers exposing a pattern of brutality, corruption and cover-ups in Florida prisons. The stories detailed gruesome incidents of prisoner abuse and deaths at the hands of correctional officers in an agency experiencing multiple years of high turnover, chronic understaffing, and budget woes.

prison-reformGov. Rick Scott named a new Secretary of the Department of Corrections in late 2014 – the fourth DOC secretary in four years – to clean up what was described as “a culture of corruption” in the prison system.

Now, a year later, what progress has Corrections Secretary Julie Jones made in the way of prison reform? What efforts are underway to advance public safety and improve the conditions of confinement in Florida’s prisons? What more needs to be done?

A panel of experts will seek answers to those questions at a dinner forum sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College on Dec. 1. The forum, titled Florida’s Prisons: How Goes Reform?, will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. at the Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. it is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU Television. Advance registration is required.

The panel will include Stacy Arias, Chief of Staff of the Department of Corrections; Julie Brown, the Miami Herald investigative reporter whose articles broke open the prison scandal, and former Florida Attorney General Richard Doran, who serves as Executive Committee Chairman for the Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ).

The forum represents the culmination of work done by PAJ to address prison reform over the last three years. A collaboration of St. Petersburg College, Florida State University, Baylor University and Tallahassee Community College, the project’s researchers analyzed the Florida system’s performance data and comparative analysis of best practices in other states. SPC’s Strategic Policy Institute also conducted three public forums in St. Petersburg and Tallahassee to gather input from experts.

Last spring, the project made five reform recommendations aimed at reducing recidivism, cutting prison costs, increasing professional standards, improving employee morale and creating independent oversight of prison operations – lack of which was cited as a contributing factor to inmate abuse, corruption, and systemic weaknesses. Legislation incorporating some of those recommendations was left in limbo when the House adjourned three days early, without voting on the prison reform legislation.

Tickets for the dinner and program are $25 for the general public, $20 for students and educators. Advance registration is required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu. For further information, call 727-394-6942.

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St. Petersburg College has been selected as one of only 30 community colleges in the nation to participate in a three-year intensive Pathways Project, led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Supported by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pathways Project will help build capacity for community colleges to design and implement high-quality, structured academic and career pathways for all students, aligned for both university transfer and jobs with value in the labor market.

“The development of our Academic and Career Pathways Program has been a priority initiative at St. Petersburg College over the last few years, and we are honored to be recognized as a leader in this area,” said SPC President Bill Law. “This designation builds on the work we’ve done to implement meaningful support systems to help students successfully earn degrees and certifications more quickly – while mitigating debt burdens – so they can find gainful employment and boost their earnings. We know these systematic steps change students’ lives and benefit our community in countless ways.”

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Pathways Project, led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)

This fall, SPC successfully launched 184 academic and career pathways within 95 certificate, associate and bachelor degree programs that were developed to provide students with a logical sequence of courses offerings and embedded programmatic certificates and industry recognized certifications.

The purpose is to provide students with a clear and concise roadmap to graduation, while allowing them to earn stackable credentials along the way that can increase their earning potential. While the pathways provide students guidance on the most effective sequencing and number of classes to take each semester – as well as clarity regarding which semester courses are offered – students still have a great deal of flexibility in their choices.

The pathways include comprehensive wraparound support services and a robust integration of curriculum designed with input from with local industry leaders to ensure students are workforce ready at graduation.

“We have taken the guesswork out of course selection to ensure that students can achieve academic milestones more quickly, so they can get into the workforce or move up in their careers sooner,” said Jesse Coraggio, SPC’s Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services. “Pathways are going to revolutionize the way students progress along their academic journeys, and allow them to gain credentials along the way that will help them earn more in their respective fields.”

St. Petersburg College is one of only four colleges in the state to be selected for the program. The others include Broward College, Indian River State College and Tallahassee Community College.

Building on emerging research and experience in the field, the project reflects AACC’s commitments to follow through on recommendations set forth in the 2012 report of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, Reclaiming the American Dream, and the 2014 implementation guide, Empowering Community Colleges to Build the Nation’s Future.

Since 2012, St. Petersburg College has focused on improving student success by using intensive and collegewide analysis of student data. SPC created the College Experience, an ambitious series of five core student success interventions that were simultaneously executed based on the belief that in order to truly identify and address barriers to student achievement, the college must employ a holistic and comprehensive strategy. Among those efforts, career counseling and academic planning were integrated to provide students clear educational paths that lead to employment. SPC’s Academic and Career Pathways Program is the culmination of those efforts.

College Experience support services and interventions have resulted in successfully increasing student achievement across the board, and in particular for First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students and African American and Hispanic males. This kind of analysis allows for SPC to better understand student performance over time – analyzing how students are performing and why, and which students are falling behind and when – to focus efforts where large-scale gains can be attained.

As part of the AACC Pathways Project, SPC will collaborate with institutions that have complementary goals and student success-centered practices that could be scaled or replicated. As part of the project, SPC will work with Pathways Project colleges to determine:

  • how students experience and understand program pathways, and the career and further education opportunities to which they lead
  • how prescriptive should colleges be regarding students’ program-related decisions
  • what supports help students choose and enter a program of study efficiently
  • the costs to redesign colleges’ new student intake processes to help students better choose and enter a program of study

“I truly believe SPC’s Academic and Career Pathways Program is a ‘game-changer’ for our students,” Law said. “So, we are particularly excited to share what we’ve learned, have the opportunity to learn from others, and collaborate with colleges and partnering institutions to help develop a sustainable model for educational institutions across the nation.”

Six institutes will be held over the course of the three-year program. A team of five SPC representatives will attend the first of the AACC institutes in San Antonio, Texas in February, 2016.

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