Hello Peralta Colleagues,
I don't know about you, but I am very much looking forward to the Thanksgiving break on November 24-25, 2022. Working at Peralta Community College District can often feel like stepping on a treadmill that’s already going 10 miles per hour. There’s always so much going on. We all need this break to recharge and reflect.
This is the third holiday season since the COVID pandemic caused us to begin sheltering in place, changing our world in March 2020. We are fortunate that 2.5 years later, we have safety protocols, vaccinations, and treatments that greatly reduce the mortality rate. While Governor Newsom has announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency in California will end on February 28, 2023, the coronavirus is still being spread. If you plan to gather with family and friends over the holidays, please follow the safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): get vaccinated and boosted, test often, wear a mask, and stay home if you are sick.
As with last year, I remain so grateful to be working with you all in the Peralta Community College District. We've accomplished so much to be thankful for over the past 12 months and here are a few highlights.
I am thankful for the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) and other funding sources that allow Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College to waive course fees for California residents as part of our Spring is Free campaign to attract students. The various Fall is Free campaigns were successful in drawing students back to our colleges, and growing FAFSA applications by 20% providing even more financial support to students. Spring Semester enrollment is open. Visit https://home.peralta.edu/enroll to get started.
I am thankful for the hard work from people across the district whose effort resulted in the Peralta Colleges being taken off probation in January. As a reminder, probation was about our financial and governance stability, not the excellent education we provide students. The 2022 Follow Up Reports submitted to ACCJC at the end of September make a strong case that the district has addressed finance and governance concerns; the four colleges are fully meeting accreditation standards, and sanctions should be removed. We received positive feedback from our peer review team in October. We’ll get a decision from ACCJC on our status in January.
I am thankful for the hard work that everyone in this district does to support and educate students, and I’m so grateful that the Board of Trustees recognizes this hard work and approved across the board pay raises for faculty, classified (SEIU and Local 39) and confidential professionals, and administrators. Administrators received an 8% increase while everyone else received a 10% increase. This raise helps bring our compensation closer to that of the other “Bay 10” community college districts which is important for retaining and attracting talent.
I am grateful to everyone who participated and supported the first ever Peralta Charrette. We had over 150 community members join us at Laney College on November 10th to provide important input on:
- Developing Sustainable and Healthy College Communities (housing, basic needs, environmental sustainability)
- Growing Strategic Workforce Partnerships that Strengthen Career Education Pathways (workforce partnerships, economic development, career services)
- Strengthening K–16 Partnerships in Alignment with Guided Pathways (K12, dual enrollment, Linked Learning, Guided Pathways, transfer partnerships)
- Improving Community and Campus Public Safety (Campus climate and safety, alternative policing)
I’m thankful for the sale of $151 Million worth of general obligation bonds. The transaction closed on November 10th and the money is now in our bank account, ready to fund important facilities projects at all four campuses. The important work to stabilize our finances and governance status has been recognized by the marketplace. Our bond valuation was improved by both Fitch and S&P ratings agencies, resulting in a favorable sales price that will fund projects over the next two years. We were also able to refinance some older bonds, saving taxpayers $1.5 Million in interest. Bond money will be used on projects to create and update learning environments for our students.
I’m thankful for the progress made in our collaborative governance process, from the launch of the new Holistic Safety, Security, and Wellness Committee to the collaboration on our FY2022-23 budget, and the shift from our Budget Allocation Model to a Resource Allocation Model more closely aligned with the Student Centered Funding Formula.
I’m thankful for and excited about the new Professional Development Learning Center (PDLC) that will launch in spring 2023, which will help provide training on tools like PeopleSoft and create opportunities for career growth.
I’m thankful there are so many passionate people here in the Peralta Community College District, people like you who have dedicated your careers to improving the lives of students.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday,
Dr. Jannett N. Jackson