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January 4, 1999

UCSC opens new Educational Partnership Center

By Jennifer McNulty

One of the most concrete developments to come out of the University of California's new effort to reach out to elementary and secondary schools can be found at the west end of Mission Street, across from the offices of Santa Cruz City Schools.

That's where you'll find UCSC's new Educational Partnership Center housed in the Dascom building. The center, to be directed by Carrol Moran, will oversee UCSC's work with K-12 schools in the Monterey Bay Area, Santa Clara County, and Merced, where UC's next campus is being planned.

The center is the operational arm of the Chancellor's Educational Partnership Advisory Council (CEPAC), which charts the campus's course regarding school collaborations. Its executive committee will oversee the center's performance and ensure that the council's intentions are carried out.

"CEPAC is where faculty help shape the campus's outreach policies," said CEPAC chair Martin Chemers, dean of the Division of Social Sciences. "The Educational Partnership Center will make those policies into effective realities. It's very exciting, because the center will be creating something real and tangible out of the directions developed by some of the most knowledgeable people on campus."

With $3.5 million in annual funding from the Office of the President, the center is poised to work closely with partner schools and to collaborate with other schools on a project-by-project basis, as well, said Moran. A condition of the funding is that schools provide matching funds to meet UCSC's contributions toward projects.

"This means we really have to change the way we engage with schools," said Moran. "We need to plan with the schools and find out what they need so they'll be willing to make the match."

During three months of planning this past fall, math and English consistently emerged as the areas in which schools feel they have the greatest need for help from UCSC, said Moran. "Those subjects are clearly the gatekeepers to college," said Moran.

Specific needs vary from school to school. Some are asking for help encouraging more students to take the "a-f" general education courses that are required for UC admission, while others already enroll all freshmen in algebra but have high failure rates, which indicates a need for greater student support and perhaps for some changes in teaching methodology, said Moran.

"A lot of teachers are teaching outside their field, especially in math, so there's a need for professional development," said Moran. "Another thing we're hearing a lot about is struggling readers at the middle school and high school level. Those teachers aren't trained to teach reading because that's considered elementary level, so they need help, too."

UCSC faculty will engage in faculty-to-faculty support with teachers at the elementary and secondary levels, researchers will consider structural changes that could help improve instruction, and counselors will work with students and parents to help raise awareness about the importance of a college education.

The center will be home to the Monterey Bay Educational Consortium, which provides school-centered services on this side of the hill, as well as similar initiatives under way in Santa Clara County and Merced. It will also house the Community College Transfer Partnership to increase the number of students entering UCSC from community colleges, and the Early Academic Outreach Programs (EAOP) that provide student-centered services.

The center's work will build on the model begun last year in San Jose's Eastside Union High School District partnership of providing four levels of support for schools: faculty-to-faculty support for professional development of teachers; academic support for students; counseling, mentoring, and motivational activities; and parent and community programs. The center will also provide space for a number of other outreach programs and researchers working toward the goals of the center.

UCSC's history of collaboration with schools will help the campus meet OP's ambitious goals of doubling the number of UC-eligible high school graduates in five years and increasing by 50 percent the number of competitively eligible UC applicants.

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