November 24, 2021
Dear Peralta Community,
As we head into this holiday season beginning with the Thanksgiving break (November 25-28), I wanted to take a moment and reflect. The last 20 months have been particularly challenging as we prioritize health and safety while offering classes and services during a global pandemic. It has not been easy. I am so proud of all of you for what you have accomplished.
Here are ten of the many things I am grateful for this holiday season:
I am grateful to be working with and for you, together in the spirit of ubuntu, here at the Peralta Community College District. We have four college gems with Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College, serving thousands of wonderful students.
I am grateful our colleges are getting the recognition they deserve, as with BCC being named a Champion of Higher Education (again!), and with Merritt College receiving the John W. Rice Equity Award.
I am grateful for the students who choose the Peralta Colleges to pursue their educational goals. Enrollment is now open for Spring 2022 in Campus Solutions; we still have computers available that will be distributed by each campus during the initial return to campus in the spring---stay tuned!
I am grateful for federal COVID relief money, some of which we are using to eliminate $2.8 million in student debts accumulated during the pandemic. I’m grateful to the Mercury News and East Bay Times for covering this exciting news, which in turn was shared with community colleges across California by the state chancellor’s office.
I am grateful for the faculty, who are here because they love to teach and take real satisfaction in helping students learn, grow, and prosper. As many of you know, I spent many years at College of Alameda as VPI and President, so I was excited to see COA Automotive Tech faculty Rufino Ramos, Rick Greenspan, and John Taylor have kept the Ozzie Day Scholarship going.
I am grateful for the classified professional staff, who deserve respect and appreciation for the many important ways they keep our colleges and district functioning. I want to recognize the classified teams supporting veterans at all four colleges as just a few weeks ago they organized a wonderful Veterans Day event. It was an honor to address my fellow veterans as part of that event.
I am grateful for the administrators who are passionate about our organization, the employees they work with and the students they support. I’m excited about our new hires including Tim Thomas, onboard now as Director of Public Safety, and Dr. Stephanie Droker, who will join us in January as Deputy Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer.
I am grateful for a Board of Trustees that is committed to making Peralta a world-class higher education organization. The ACCJC accreditation peer review team in October recognized and applauded the positive steps taken by the Board this year.
I’m grateful for the progress we are making on the fiscal health of the District. A recent example of the progress is that S&P (Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, one of the “big three” rating agencies along with Moody’s and Fitch) reviewed the Peralta bond portfolio and decided to maintain our current rating of AA-. The double “a” investment-grade rating means an institution has a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.” They are seeing the same things as we are: a District with a lot of fundamental strengths, including the economic strength of the service area, and with an improving financial situation.
I am grateful for the continued support we receive from the communities we serve here in Northern Alameda County. My thanks to the taxpayers who approved important bond and parcel tax measures that sustain and improve the learning environment for student success.
I am grateful for you, and the work you do in support of our students and our community.
If you are planning to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones, please be safe and follow CDC guidelines. Remember that vaccinations are required for both students and employees in order to keep our community as safe as possible. Visit the Safe Peralta website for more information.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday,
Dr. Jannett N. Jackson