Publish Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2020 13:11:24 -0800

Crafton Hills Counselors Present on Innovative Adult Summer Bridge Program at State Summit

On October 27, 2020 Crafton Hills College Director of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) Rejoice Chavira, along with Redlands Adult school counselors Arline Troncoza and Brooke Clement, represented the school at the statewide California Adult Education Program (CAEP) Summit. Joining other teachers, coordinators, administrators and support staff from across the state, Chavira, Troncoza, and Brooke Clement presented a program on their success adapting the long- running Adult Summer Bridge Program at Crafton to a virtual format. Developed in partnership with Yucaipa Adult School and Redlands Adult School, the Crafton Hills Adult Summer Bridge program has been serving students since Summer 2018 and has served 45 students in the last three summers, a number that now includes the more than two dozen students who entered the virtual program this summer.

When asked what successful aspects of the program they shared in the presentation, the counselors emphasized those aspects that helped students develop a sense of community and become comfortable with the online environment. This goal was facilitated through innovations such as a pre- summer bridge training, virtual field trips, integrated Zoom and Canvas discussions, and a long-term approach that sees staff working with students from high school diploma, through application to college. “We are able to develop a strong rapport with the students” this way, Troncoza, who works at the Redlands Adult School, said, and this allows “students to trust us and be vulnerable in an online environment.”

The students in the program appear to agree. In a list of anonymous comments, students expressed their heartfelt gratitude to both the instructors and program organizers. One student stated that the program, “helped me get my confidence back” and that it was “a very important part of moving forward with my life.” Another student said, “Before the program, I had very little self- esteem” and then remarked that they now “feel confident and comfortable to take on my future education.” Other students felt similarly empowered by the program. In an emotional statement, one spoke to their renewed belief in the value of education, saying they had “learned that asking for help is a good thing, not a sign of weakness,” and concluded by stating, “I feel truly blessed. Thank you.”

The Summit presentation was well- received. After thanking the rest of the bridge team for their “passion for helping students,” Clement stated that the presentation succeeded in its goal of showing others that “it is possible to have a successful virtual summer bridge program.” Troncoza seconded this thought by adding, “we received a lot of positive feedback.” She continued by explaining how many participants expressed admiration for how the Crafton Hills representatives got students interested and commended on the passion and commitment that was poured into the summer bridge program.