Washington, DC– On Thursday, October 11th, 2018, the Academic ESL Program at Reading Area Community College re
Washington, DC– On Thursday, October 11th, 2018, the Academic ESL Program at Reading Area Community College received national recognition as one of the four finalists in the Associate category at the Celebracion de Excelencia for evidence-based practices supporting the success of Latino and other students in its program. Celebración de Excelencia is an annual recognition event that gives national prominence to the year’s Examples of Excelencia and finalists by bringing together practitioner leaders with private, public, and philanthropic sector leadership. This annual recognition is held in the nation’s capital and is organized in cooperation with members of Congress, other elected officials, and educational leaders. In 2018 there were 139 total nominations from 27 states, DC, and Puerto Rico from which 21 finalists were chosen for their evidence of effectiveness in the ways their institutions and communities serve Latinos. In 2018, the 21 finalists represented 7 states including California, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Puerto Rico.
While ESL enrollees make up only 5% of the college’s population, their program offers support for all multilingual students enrolled in credit courses through the Multilingual Learning Center. Through intentionally structured curricula, engagement in relevant and contextualized activities, and leverage of students’ use of their native languages to aid English acquisition, their program develops non-native English speakers’ proficiency in academic English to become college-ready.
Prior to 2012, an average of 24.6% of Latinos in ESL attained college-readiness in one year; now, the average is 40.6%. While overall ESL rates show a 9.2% increase in those who successfully complete freshman composition since 2012, Latino students have demonstrated the most growth, with an average increase of 13.1%.
For more information visit the ESL Program's website, or call 610.607.6224
October 9, 2018/Written by David Mekeel/Reading, PA
A few weeks ago, someone asked Dr. Susan D. Looney where she saw Reading Area Community College being five years down the road.
She responded that she saw it as being much the way it already is, with all the great things that have been going on simply being taken even further.
Looney relayed the story to a crowd gathered Monday afternoon inside RACC's Miller Center for the Arts. She said she sees students of all ages learning and succeeding. She said sees a welcoming environment that's also nimble and aggressive, able to quickly meet workforce needs.
She said she sees supportive faculty and staff, an administration that truly leads, a schoolwide ethos of never settling for the status quo. She sees graduates ready to continue their education or enter the workforce.
She said she sees herself healthy and active - still doing her 5 a.m. workouts and still leading, honored to be the steward of a great institution.
"I see myself always being #RACCProud," she concluded.
Looney will have a unique ability to make all that happen. She is, after all, the woman in charge.
Although she has been on the job since July, the 50-year-old officially took the reins as RACC's sixth president during an inauguration ceremony Monday afternoon.
Dressed in a black gown with gold piping, a purple sash around her neck and a black cap on her head, she raised her right hand and repeated her oath of office. Then, with a medallion placed around her neck and a wooden mace in her right hand, she turned to face a crowd on its feet and applauding wildly.
Looney replaced Dr. Anna D. Weitz, who retired after serving as RACC's president for 11 years.
'The Four Agreements'
During her inauguration speech, Looney said that she will lead based on four principles developed from the book "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom," by Don Miguel Ruiz.
She said that she will be impeccable with her word.
"There will be no empty promises," Looney said.
Second, she said she won't take things personally, that when she has a disagreement she won't let it poison relationships or cloud decisions.
Third, she said she won't make assumptions, instead always striving to dig deeper and learn more.
Finally, she said she will always strive to do her best.
Those principles, Looney said, will help her focus on what she calls the four hallmarks of a community college - the things by which she will measure RACC's success.
Those hallmarks are access, opportunity, excellence and hope.
Prior to her own remarks, Looney got a chance to hear what some others had to say about her. She listened to glowing reviews from the likes of state Sen. Judy Schwank and Berks County commissioners Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach. She heard from faculty and board members and a current RACC student.
Each spoke of Looney's unique path, about how she went from a high school dropout to a successful harness racer to a nervous community college student to a teacher and administrator.
Leinbach said that very few take a straight line from high school to their ultimate career destination, and Looney knows that well. He said her path makes her the perfect person to understand the often nontraditional tracks upon which RACC students find themselves.
Pair from her past
The most poignant words about Looney came from two people from her past. The first was Trudy Rich.
Twenty years ago, Rich was an introverted mother of a small child. She ended up taking a temporary job in accounts payable at a manufacturing plant and decided she could do the job better with a little more understanding. She signed up for night classes at her local community college.
"My first class was taught by the great Dr. Looney," she said.
She said Looney was endlessly supportive and encouraging, the type of teacher who would do anything for her students.
"Her office door was always open," Rich said.
Looney pushed Rich, first as a teacher and later as a mentor. With her support, Rich thrived, and today owns her own accounting business.
"Thank you, Dr. Looney, for changing my life," she said.
Similarly, Looney pushed Jan Clapp, not as a student but as an employee. Looney told Clapp that there was a job opening at Delaware Technical Community College, where Looney was then an assistant to the campus director and the director of corporate and communication programs, that was perfect for Clapp.
It was a job Clapp had no intention of taking.
"I'll see you Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.," she recalls Looney telling her, saying that Looney ended up convincing her to take the job.
"Susan Looney doesn't take no for an answer," Clapp said.
Of course, Clapp said, Looney was right. Clapp loved working at the community college, even after Looney pushed her to take over handling federal grants just two months into her tenure.
"Susan had complete faith in my abilities," she said. "She was always there to support and encourage me."
Clapp said that Looney was always a leader, not a boss. She sees the best in people, and recognizes potential and knows how to nurture and use it.
"She created a culture of 'I can; I will,' " she said.
Monday's inauguration ceremony followed a week of celebration that included, among other things, a costume parade, a flash mob dance party, a fun run, a concert and an inaugural reception.
Written by: Reading Eagle/October 5, 2018/Reading, PA
Reading Area Community College students and staff boogied in the quad Thursday, part of the school's ongoing celebration of the upcoming inauguration of its new president, Dr. Susan D. Looney.
The college this week marked Smile Week, which featured events like creating a smile postcard to give to fellow students, staff members or family members; painting smiley rocks; and a scavenger hunt.
Thursday, there was a smile parade through campus with participants dressed in smiley costumes, followed by a flash mob. Students and staff also had an opportunity to decorate smile cupcakes.
Looney's inauguration will take place Monday at 2 p.m. in the Miller Center for the Arts.
Reading Area Community College offers FREE manufacturing skills training program sponsored by the PA Department of Community an
Reading Area Community College offers FREE manufacturing skills training program sponsored by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Training- to-Career Grant.
The Training to Career Program at RACC is accepting applications for its first six-week session. The session will begin on October 15, 2018. This is a FREE program that will provide qualified applicants with basic workplace and technical skills needed for entry level manufacturing positions. Designed in partnership with Reading area manufacturing companies, interviews and possible direct hire positions will be available upon successful completion of the program.
Additional information can be found on the Schmidt Training and Technology Center Current Events Blog or by contacting Sarah Stapleton at 610.372.4271 x5312 or email@example.com.
October 1, 2018 | by: Berks County Living
October 1, 2018 | by: Berks County Living
Suzanne Christie: Director of the Tutoring Centers at RACC | Age: 74 | Wyomissing
According to Suzanne’s daughter Heather, “While most seniors are slowing down as they enter their golden years, my mom zips around Berks creating goodwill wherever she travels.” During her tenure at Reading Area Community College (RACC), Suzanne has turned the school’s tutoring centers into “a resort-like oasis,” and that’s just her day job.
Preparing for the Future
As director of RACC’s tutoring centers, Suzanne not only coordinates the tutors and programming for all four of the college’s tutoring centers, she’s also the Campus Academic Coach, working one-on-one with students to share strategies that promote academic excellence.
Among the many programs she has implemented, perhaps the most successful have been Finals De-Stress Week, Math and Writing Awareness Months, and Poets and Writers’ Teas. She is also in the midst of implementing a peer mentoring program that pairs successful upperclassmen with incoming freshmen. “I have so many students tell me they wished they had someone to go to for help navigating their first year, so we’ve started the mentoring program. I’m really excited about it,” Suzanne says.
Preserving the Past
It was her passion for helping students that also launched Suzanne’s side hustle, Suzanne Christie Antiques. She bought her first vintage dresses to use in fashion shows to benefit children at risk. Twenty years later, Suzanne is a premier source for vintage clothing and antiques.
She spends her weekends searching for treasures at auctions and sells her discoveries at Adams Antiques, Denver, Pa.. “It’s been really fun. You never know who is going to come looking for something,” she says. And she has had some interesting customers. Her wares have appeared on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, on the television movie The Life of Lizzie Borden, and in photoshoots for Ralph Lauren. New York designers seek her out to buy clothing and props, and she has had customers visit her stand from all over the world.
Embracing the Present
Despite her busy work schedule, Suzanne always makes time for her family. She regularly babysits her eight grandchildren and attends as many of their soccer games, lacrosse matches and dance recitals as possible.
Her focus on family is so important that she has taken on yet another project. With the help of her daughter and granddaughter, Suzanne is bringing the grassroots phenomenon “Listen to Your Mother” to Berks. On Mother’s Day 2019 they will host local writers at Wilson High School to share their stories about motherhood. “It’s three generations working on the project, and it’s to give a microphone to motherhood,” Suzanne explains. “We think it’s going to be a great platform for writers to showcase their talents.”
With more projects on her plate than ever, Suzanne shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, she says, “There’s nothing I want to give up, and I feel like RACC’s my second home! I’m probably going to be 100 and they’ll be asking me when I’m going to retire.” Until then, she is simply grateful for her health, her family, and her ability to do it all.