Pierce College News

April 24, 2008

Pierce College's six cooperative preschools now enrolling children for fall classes

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 9:28 am

With their small class sizes, vast networks of parent support, and skilled instructors, Pierce College’s six cooperative preschools can make the tough job of parenting a whole lot easier.

The preschools are now enrolling for fall classes at all locations. Because the classes are capped at 16 students each (the ratio of children per adult is 4:1), interested parents are encouraged to reserve their child’s spot immediately. Orientation sessions typically begin after Labor Day in September, with classes starting in mid-September.

The six parent-run schools are operated by a parent board and overseen by Pierce College, which provides each school a highly-skilled instructor to advise the board, oversee the curriculum and school environment, and teach monthly parenting classes. These classes cover a wide range of important topics, such as nutrition, guidance, and child development.

Since parents are such a critical part of the education provided, they learn firsthand how best to teach and care for their child, while building a large support network of other parents facing the same joys and struggles.

“The parent education instructor and other parents in the school provide parents a network of resources and support,” explained Michelle Barnes, Pierce College’s parent education coordinator. “At the same time, children are working in a developmentally appropriate preschool, exploring their world and developing emotionally, socially, cognitively and physically. Each environment is designed to capture the child’s interest and help the development in each domain.”

Pierce College’s parent co-op preschools have been operating for about 35 years and have provided critical support and care to thousands of families in Pierce County.

Schools are located in Puyallup, Sumner, Lakewood, Orting and Eatonville. Hours, ages and costs vary per school. See the list below for more detailed information on each school, its location and hours.

• Eatonville Cooperative Preschool, 210 Fir Ave. N., Eatonville. Morning sessions are available for 4- and 5-year-olds from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Afternoon sessions for 4- and 5-year-olds are available from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Classes for 3-year-olds are from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (360) 832-4966.

• Fort Steilacoom Parent Education Cooperative, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Drive S.W., Lakewood. Children ages 18 months to 3 years have classes from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday mornings. Children ages 3 to 5 have classes from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (253) 964-6691.

• Midland Parent Education Preschool, St. John of the Woods Catholic Church, 9903 24th Ave. E., Puyallup. Children ages 2 and 3 years have class either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Children ages 1 to 2 years have class either Thursday or Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, call (253) 840-8445.

• Orting Cooperative Preschool, Orting Methodist Church, 113 Varner Ave. S.E., Orting. Children ages 3 to 5 years have classes from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (360) 893-3441.

• South Hill Cooperative Preschool, Living Hope Church, 11618 E. 122nd St., Puyallup. Children ages 4 and 5 years can attend morning classes from 9:30 to 11:30 or afternoon classes from 12:30 to 2:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Three-year-olds can attend morning classes from 9:30 to 11:30 or afternoon classes from 12:30 to 2:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (253) 435-1740.

• Sumner Cooperative Preschool, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 245 Valley Ave., Sumner. Children ages 4 and 5 have classes from 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Three-year-olds have classes from 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, call (253) 862-2174.

April 22, 2008

Job seekers invited to Employment and Education Fairs at Pierce College Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom in May

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 2:06 pm

Download the Reservation Form

As with any tough decision, choosing a career is easier when we know all of the options. Luckily, Pierce College is helping lay out all of the possibilities at its two Employment and Education Fairs next month.

Pierce College Puyallup will host its Employment and Education Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m May 7 in the College Center building, 1601 39th Ave. SE.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom will host its Employment and Education Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14 in the Health Education Center gymnasium, 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood.

The fairs are open and free to the public. They provide a great opportunity to break into a new career, advance in your current field, or learn about exciting professional and technical training programs that can help you realize your own possibilities.

“Most people treat a job search like throwing out a net to see what comes back, just hoping they will find any job,” explained Danny Marshall, Job Connections manager for the Pierce College District. “In reality, a job search is a two-way street, with both the employer and the employee reaching out to locate the best answer to meet their mutual needs. At the Employment and Education Fairs, we create an intersection to bring the employer and the employee together at the same place and time. So, when the net goes out, chances are it will come back full of potential.”

More than 40 employers are expected to attend the fairs. These include: Absher Construction, Adecco, Advanced Health Care, Army National Guard, CampusPoint, Costco, DaVita Inc, Express Employment Professionals, Fed Ex, Franciscan Health System, Fred Meyer, Gensco, Goodwill Industries, Harborstone Credit Union, Lakewood Fire District No. 2, Madigan Army Medical Center, Maxim Healthcare Services, Multicare Health System, Nordstrom, Northwest Leadership Foundation, PACE Staffing Network, Phoenix Protective Corporation, Rainier School, Safeway, Site Crafting Inc, Social Security Administration, Sound Options Inc, Sound Family Medicine, Tacoma Police Department, Target, United States Army and Navy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration, Volt Workforce Solutions, Washington State Department of Personnel, Department of Corrections and Department of Information Systems, and Washington Air National Guard.

“We will have real employers who represent real jobs they want real people to fill,” added Marshall, noting that attendees of the fair are strongly encouraged to bring copies of their resumes and to dress in interview-appropriate attire.

Also, from 10 a.m. to noon, employers representing eight areas of business and industry will participate in the Expert Employer Roundtables to provide potential employees inside information on how to increase their odds for getting hired and promoted, and build long-term career satisfaction in high-demand fields locally and across the nation.

For more information on the fairs or any of Pierce College’s many career training options, call (253) 964-6265. Or, visit the college Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edu.

Download the Reservation Form

April 17, 2008

Denise Hartley: Storytelling Across the Globe

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 2:30 pm

English instructor Denise Hartley will spend the next year exploring a part of human society that crosses all boundaries of time and culture: storytelling.

Hartley is one of two Pierce faculty members selected to take a year-long sabbatical from 2008-09. She has been teaching English at Pierce College for 11 years. This will be her first sabbatical in her career and she plans to make the most of it.

Hartley will spend her time deepening her connections to local and specific global storytelling communities over the course of the next year. Her major trip will be to Ghana (located on the underside of the hump on the top west side of Africa) in December.

“Ghana is an English speaking country and it’s very important if I’m going to be hearing and telling stories that we speak the same language,” Hartley explained with a laugh. “Ghana is also the oldest democracy in Africa and the government is very stable.”

Hartley will spend a month in Ghana living with residents and getting close to the people and culture. It will be her first trip to Africa, she said.

“Storytelling is such a big part of the culture,” she added. “The traditional African storyteller tells the moral at the end, which is different from a lot of other countries where the moral is at the front or not in the story at all.”

She expects her experiences in Africa and at several American storytelling and film festivals over the course of the next year will enrich her ability to connect with and educate her students at Pierce. After all, she knows firsthand how a storyteller can impact a young life. It’s a lesson she learned at age 12 when her favorite junior high English teacher formed a Storytelling Club. While the club consisted solely of Hartley and one other student, she was able to travel to local elementary schools (Hartley was raised around Berkely, Calif.) and share stories with other children.

Though she was engaged in other interests as a teenager, Hartley said she rediscovered storytelling in college as a creative writing student. She was fascinated by the relationship between written and verbal stories.

“There’s an immediate audience reaction when you’re working in the oral tradition,” she said. “It’s something you don’t get when you’re writing. It’s interesting.”

Hartley believes the universal human interest in storytelling is biological. We all love and remember stories because of how our minds are organized and structured.

“No matter what you teach students, what they really remember are the stories,” she said. “I think it’s the way our brains work. There’s a beginning and an end, and it says something in a very organic way. I think our minds are structured that way.”

Though she admits she will miss teaching next year, Hartley said it’s a good time for her to take a sabbatical.

“I want to come back with more stories and with better ways to incorporate those stories into the classroom,” she said.

Though she will be officially gone for 2008-09, those at the Fort Steilacoom campus should still expect to see Hartley’s face from time to time. She will still be coordinating the English department during her sabbatical.

Sharon Camner: Sabbatical to Write

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 2:28 pm

Sharon Camner has been teaching math to teenagers and adults for more than 20 years (the last 10 at Pierce College), but for the 2008-09 academic year, Sharon will devote herself full-time to improving the math-teaching skills of preschool teachers.

Camner was one of two faculty members offered a sabbatical for the 2008-09 academic year. This will be Camner’s first sabbatical in her long teaching career.

For nearly a year, Camner has been working with the Early Childhood Education program to develop a math course for Pierce students training to become preschool teachers. Prior to winter quarter, students in this program were required to take a business math course to meet their computational requirements. While the course was helpful for students who might someday open their own preschool, it did nothing to help the future teachers more effectively educate their young students.

So, last fall, Camner and others set about designing a math curriculum catered to future preschool teachers. The project was part of the Early Childhood Education department’s work on a state grant to improve the math and science preparation of ECE students. She searched for textbooks and teaching materials, but found nothing for teachers of preschool-age children.

“There is nothing appropriate for preschool teachers. Elementary education texts are available, but they don’t work well for students who plan to teach younger children,” she explained. “It’s a continuum. Preschool sets the foundation and works with different developmental levels.”

For example, before a child can learn to count, they must learn the names and order of the numbers, and to recognize that numbers have a one to one correspondence with objects.

“There are a lot of basic concepts that underlie math,” Camner said. “These are very subtle, but they’re concepts that are started in preschool.”

The course is special, she said, in that it’s very hands-on, which is unlike traditional computational courses. It must also be accessible to students who may have struggled with math in the past.

“The course is very activity-oriented. At least half of each class is group work,” Camner explained. “Another goal of the course is to create an environment where students can appreciate math and feel more comfortable. We want to help them get rid of their math anxiety, which many of these students have.”

Over the next year, Camner will build upon the teaching materials she’s already developed for the new preschool educators’ math course (ECE 161) and write a textbook on the subject, one she anticipates will be critical not only in helping improve Pierce’s course, but will be used in other similar programs.

“This is a new idea everywhere,” she said. “It gives Pierce College a chance to help others and to lead the way.”

Her work developing this new curriculum will include numerous site visits to different styles of preschools, including private and Montessori centers, Head Start programs, and to Pierce’s own child development centers for research. Already, Camner is extremely excited to start her work, she said.

“I can be passionate about this,” she said, noting that she always planned to become a preschool teacher when she retired in eight to 10 years. “Then, this came up last summer and it all came together very clearly. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve had for this sabbatical.”

Swing Into Spring: Activities Event Calendar

Filed under: General — Amanda Haines at 2:25 pm

Spring has officially come to Pierce College and student groups at both main campuses have activities planned to help you shake out the winter cobwebs and celebrate the sunnier side of spring quarter.

Here are some of highlights of the spring student activity schedules at the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses:

Fort Steilacoom

• College Civics Fair, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 15, fourth floor Cascade building.
• Earth Day celebration, campus-wide all day April 22. Enjoy fun earth-friendly activities.
• Clubs Rush, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23, fourth floor Cascade building. Learn what students clubs are available and how to join.
• Voyage to Northwest Trek, depart 8 a.m. April 25. Join Pierce students for catered lunch and a guided tram tour through this wildlife park. Cost is $5 and includes transportation, food and admission.
• Handwriting and Henna, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 29, fourth floor Cascade building. Have your handwriting analyzed and get a (temporary) henna tattoo.

• Cinco de Mayo celebration, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 5, cafeteria. Enjoy traditional Mexican appetizers and non-alcoholic daiquiris to celebrate Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of the Puebla.
• Mothers Day Art Daze, 1 to 3 p.m. May 7, cafeteria. Have your photo taken and decorate a flowerpot for mom (Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11).
• The Balancing Act: Juggling Work, Home and School, free workshop, noon to 12:50 p.m. May 7, library classroom (Cascade 400A).
• Student Elections, all day May 14, fourth floor Cascade building and second floor Olympic building. Make your voice heard in student government.
• Employment and Education Fair, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14, Health Education Center gymnasium. Get the information you need to break into a new career, advance in your current field, or learn about exciting professional and technical training programs that can help you realize your own possibilities. More than 40 employers are expected to be on-hand to recruit workers and offer advice to job seekers.
• Preparing for Midterms and Finals: Strategies for Success in Taking Tests, free workshop, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 14, library classroom (Cascade 400A).

• Jerry Harris, master hypnotist, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3, cafeteria.
• Student Awards Ceremony, 7 p.m. June 4, Health Education Center. Celebrate the accomplishments of Fort Steilacoom’s best and brightest students at this annual ceremony.
• Luau, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5, outside commons. Revel in Student Appreciation Week with a virtual voyage to the tropics and some mouth-watering barbecue.
• Frisbee Art, noon to 2 p.m. June 5, fourth floor Cascade building. Decorate your own Frisbee and get a jump on summer.
• Every Day Jones, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. June 5, cafeteria. Relax, have a snack, and enjoy live music from this up and coming local band.
• Student Appreciation Carnival, noon to 3 p.m. June 6, outdoor commons. Swing by the dunk tank staffed by campus faculty, climb the Mt. Rainier rock wall, and take a spin in the gyroscope.
• Costume Contest Relay, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 6, cafeteria. Try on a wacky costume (provided by Student Programs) and cut loose with faculty.
• Graduation, 3:30 p.m. June 13, Tacoma Dome.


• Club Fest, 6 p.m. April 8 and noon April 9, dining commons. Learn what clubs are available and how to join, as well as how to start your own campus club.
• Political Party Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14, Connections Café. Local representatives of various political parties will be on-hand for information and answers. It’s a great chance to register to vote!
• Torches and Pitchforks: Speak Up!, 4:30 p.m. April 17, dining commons. Student government is hosting this open forum for students to freely discuss campus and outside political issues.
• Ride a Bike to School Day, April 22. Bike-riders can enter the noon Best Bike on Campus contest and enter a raffle for prizes.
• Plant a Tree, noon April 23, College Center 210. Sign up to plant a tree or shrub on campus.
• Day of Silence, April 23. Show your support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community by committing to silence. T-shirts will be on sale and free ribbons will be available in the Student Programs office.
• Campus Cleanup, noon April 24, College Center 210. Join students, faculty and staff in beautifying our campus.
• Health Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24, Connections Café. Learn about nutrition, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, naturopathic medicine, and more ways to improve your health. Free screenings and tests will be available, as well.
• Child Abuse Forum, noon April 30, multipurpose room. Faculty will lead an open discussion of this serious problem.

• Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, May 5, Connections Café. Honor Hispanic culture with food, music and fun.
• Employment and Education Fair, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7, College Center. Get the information you need to break into a new career, advance in your current field, or learn about exciting professional and technical training programs that can help you realize your own possibilities. More than 40 employers are expected to be on-hand to recruit workers and offer advice to job seekers.
• SLAM Celebration, noon May 7, Connections Café. The 2008 Student Literary Arts Magazine (SLAM) will be released with a live show featuring the contributing artists.
• Volunteer at Courtyard at the Willows, 3 p.m. May 8. Assist seniors with their weekly craft activity and give back to the community.

• Sex Ed Workshop, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 13, Connections Café. Planned Parenthood officials will present information on relationships, sex, abstinence, abortion, birth control, pregnancy, and other sexual health topics.
• Silk Strings: Japanese Music Duo, noon May 22, Connections Café. Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month with the musical group Silk Strings.
• Financial Secrets to Success, noon May 27, Connections Café. Learn the latest tips and strategies for financial wellness from Washington Mutual professional Maksim.

• Student Awards Ceremony, 7 p.m. June, College Center. Celebrate the achievements of this academic year’s all-star students.
• Cram and Jam, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. June 9, College Center and the library. Free refreshments and recreational activities will be provided to help get you through finals week.

April 11, 2008

Pierce College teams with Bates Technical College to help firefighters transition into administrative ranks

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 11:39 am

Led by the wife and husband team of Pam and Wayne Caldwell, Pierce College has teamed up with Bates Technical College to offer a new associate’s degree program aimed at helping career firefighters advance through the administrative ranks.

Fire Command and Administration is a two-year degree program that provides fire service personnel the business and administrative skills they need to take leading administrative positions in their departments.

Courses lead firefighters through such complex issues as terrorism and disaster planning, legal aspects of fire service, fire investigation, occupational health and safety, incident command, and more.

“The training provided is specific to fire service positions and the skills needed to advance professionally in that field,” said Pam Caldwell, Pierce’s fire command and administration program coordinator. “Many of our students are people who have been in fire service 12 to 20 years. They know firefighting skills, but they now need to know things like budgets and how to write compliance documents, find alternate funding sources, and conduct labor negotiations. They need these skills to keep moving forward in their careers.”

To help them get these skills, all of the courses in the new Fire Command and Administration program offered by Pierce and Bates are available online. Students can attend courses and complete their degree requirements at any time day or night, from anywhere they have computer access.

“Working in fire service and now having a degree program with all online classes is a tremendous benefit,” said Pam Caldwell. “The problem with taking classes in fire service has always been shift work. Firefighters are usually guaranteed to miss several classes a quarter because of their work schedules. Now, they can be at their station or at home, and still work towards their degree. School’s in session when they have time, on their schedules.”

Also, because firefighters are constantly training and upgrading their skills, some of this prior training may count towards college credit in the degree program. Pam Caldwell asks to meet with all program applicants to assess their training records and to identify prior learning that may be eligible for college credit.

Both of the Caldwells have worked extensively in the development of successful fire service training programs before coming to Pierce and Bates last year.

Now dean of instruction at Bates, Wayne Caldwell was a firefighter and administrator for more than 20 years in Oklahoma. He developed the two-year fire training degree program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City.

Prior to coming to Pierce College, Pam Caldwell worked with the fire service programs at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater.

To schedule a meeting or for more information about the Fire Command and Administration degree program, contact Pam Caldwell via phone at (253) 677-1735 or via E-mail at pcaldwell@pierce.ctc.edu. Or, visit the program Web site.

April 4, 2008

Lakewood Computer Clubhouse receives $40,000 for new software, equipment

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 7:55 am

LAKEWOOD — The computer kids who consider the Lakewood Computer Clubhouse their second home will have $40,000 in new equipment and software to help them celebrate the center’s sixth anniversary next month.

A celebration of the new equipment and of six years providing a safe, educational afterschool site for children is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. May 22 at the clubhouse, 8800 121st St. SW (the old Lake City School).

The upgrades to the clubhouse’s available technology are the result of $40,000 in grants from the Intel Foundation and Intel Corporation to the Pierce College Foundation, the clubhouse’s parent organization. The grants will be used to fund a number of upgrades, including new game design, role playing, animation and music software, electric guitars, amplifiers and digital drums for the clubhouse’s “garage band” recording area, plus a new server, video equipment, and tablet-style computers for use in art projects and design.

The money represents an almost full upgrade and overhaul of what the clubhouse currently offers, while adding new features in line with cutting edge technological advancements.

The wish list for the grant was the result of input from the teenagers who use the clubhouse frequently, explained Kurt Sample, coordinator.

“The teen members helped me draft the list,” he said. “I’ve always run the clubhouse so that we all have an equal stake in this. The kids really respect that, so it was important to get their input. These are the things they wanted and the things they’re interested in learning.”

Sample said that more and more members are expressing interest in producing videos and computer-generated animation and music. The new software and equipment centers around these objectives.

“A lot of our members are very artistic,” he said. “We have a lot of anime-type artists and kids who are really into music and video.”

The new software and equipment will be critical as the clubhouse takes on two major projects starting this summer. Clubhouse members will take their new video equipment into the neighborhoods of Lakewood to produce documentary-style films on the distinct characters of those neighborhoods and the young people who live in them.

The clubhouse also plans to work with the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum to create informational videos.

For many of the members, these larger-scale projects are the culmination of six years spent at the clubhouse learning technology and benefiting from mentorship and creative opportunities.

“The next two years will be crucial. We have kids who started here (in 2002 when the clubhouse opened) as fourth or fifth graders who are now seniors in high school,” said Sample. “We have a lot of precocious kids who have grown up through the clubhouse. This is their place.”

The Lakewood clubhouse is free and open to all children ages 10 to 18. Normal operating hours are from 2:30 to 7 p.m. weekdays (hours vary for half-days, vacations and holidays). For more information, visit the Computer Clubhouse Web site or call (253) 583-5599.

The Pierce College Foundation is the parent organization and fiscal agent of the Lakewood Computer Clubhouse, which is part of a network of more than 100 sites worldwide. The Computer Clubhouse program was established in 1993 by The Computer Museum, which is now part of the Museum of Science in Boston, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Laboratory.