Archive for the 'Puente' Category

July 10th 2009

Moto-Camping Day 3 to 4

Moto-Camping Day 3 to 4

Written the night of the 9th:

Somehow, in packing up all my stuff from the Starbucks in Cedar city, I left my power cords for most everything behind.  Damn it.  It means I’ll have to back-track and hope they still have it.  Fuck.  So much for making good time tomorrow.

I’m headed for Moab, but nothing is straight across in the backroads of Utah, so I’m winding Highway 14 over to Highway 89, then North to Highway 12, across Bryce Canyon and through Escalante.  This is the proverbial “scenic route” and until tonight the main question was whether to take a southern route past Glen Canyon and then up Highway 191 into Moab, or just to jump up Highway 24 to I-70 and skip above Canyonlands before heading South into Moab.  But now, for time’s sake, I think it is the northern route.

Well, hell. That’s what I get for dragging all this electronics with me.  Or for being absent-minded.  Whatever.

Late night-11:30 local time (10:30 back in CA).  The campsite next door shows no sign of sleeping soon, so I’m just going to hop in the sack and see what happens.  F**k, f**k, f**k.

Sigh. It would be so nice not to be human.  Maybe not.  But still.

Update:

I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Somehow, about 4:30 or so I knocked out, but I was up before 7, packed and on the road back to Cedar City.  No stuff.

So, I was in a funk all day.  Today’s drive had the most gorgeous scenery–I took pics when I could, but I some of the best stuff I didn’t get.  If you do one road in your lifetime, Highway 12 through Utah should be the one!

Anyway, all I could think of was what a loser I can be–all those negatives, over and over in my head.  It is terrible to be alone and have nothing good to say to yourself.

Then, about 15 miles out of Torrey, Utah on the way to Hanksville there was a woman by the side of the road with a motocross helmet and jacket trying to flag people down.  No one stopped, so I turned around when I could and went back.  I asked if everything was okay and she said no, she’d dropped her multi-sport bike in sand in wash about a mile off the road and couldn’t lift the bike herself.  Her name was Susie and she was from Tennessee, about my age, and had a knee replacement last year and didn’t trust the weight on it.  I didn’t ask why she was doing something so dangerous alone and with no phone–what the hell am I doing after all?  I followed her in, helped her lift the bike, which kicked over and seemed none the worse for wear and I refused the $20 she wanted to give me for helping.  After I was sure she was fine, I rode off.  Maybe there’s still some good in me.

So now I’m in Moab, which is too depressing.  It’s gone tourist from when Ed Abbey wrote and I think I’ll leave as soon as I can tomorrow.  I caught a cheap $9 room at the local hostel and I’ve showered, shaved and done my laundry.  I’m almost presentable.  Almost–I still have a cloud over me and I can’t hardly stand the people I’m around, but it’s me, not them who’s out of it.

I’ll visit Arches, tomorrow, then I don’t know.

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March 9th 2009

Puente Pedagogy and Praxis

Puente Pedagogy and Praxis

To piggy-back on yesterday’s post, I should add that I am presenting at 4Cs, not just attending.  I’m in a panel of Puente Instructors (which has dwindled as life caught up to us) presenting on the Puente Project and it’s possibilities for teaching in other places, near or far.

So, 9:30 to 10:45 this Friday join me in SanFrancisco!

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September 24th 2008

Excelencia in Education Celebration, Houston

Excelencia in Education Celebration, Houston

Blogging from Houston, today, where I represented COS Puente at the Celebracion de Excelencia at the National College Access Network conference.

I was happy to be present in Houston where COS Puente was announced as a semi-finalist for one of the 2008 Excelencia in Education grants.  Excelencia‘s president, Sarita Brown, explained that when Excelencia was founded in 2004, it’s primary goal was to collect and disseminate information on effective programs supporting Latinos in higher education, to work with “policymakers, higher education administrators, and other stakeholders improve opportunities for Latino students to succeed in postsecondary education” and to develop, document, and evaluate “demonstration projects and other programs to support the application of effective practices in public policy and in education institutions.”

Excelencia publishes several important reports on what is working for Latinos in higher ed, including Modeling Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): Campus Practices That Work for Latino Students and VOCES (Voices): A Profile of Today’s Latino College Students.  Both these reports can be downloaded by following the links, as well as a forthcoming compendium of effective practices which will include COS Puente.

I met a number of interesting people at this “Celebration,” including Teri Lee from the University of California MESA program.  She mentioned our own Duane Goodman and the recently reserected MESA at COS.  Not only was it great to talk to a kindred spirit (this was the first conference I’ve attended where I knew no one), but she was representing the state program, which had also been a semi-finalist for a grant.

Look for more good things to come as we have a chance to be featured in the 2008 compendium of “best practices” for Latinos.

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August 22nd 2008

COSPuente a Semifinalist for Excelencia in Education Grant

COSPuente a Semifinalist for Excelencia in Education Grant

My Puente partner, Teresa Guadiana, submitted our program for an Excelencia Grant and we just learned we’re a semi-finalist!  Frankly, the amount of effort Teresa puts into the project is phenomenal and it is no wonder it is being recognized.  It is a group effort, though, and we have fantastic support, both from the campus–our president is one of the mentors for us–and from the community, and I am thinking particularly of Fred Ruiz of Ruiz Foods and Dr. Robert Aguilar who have both contributed extensively to keep our project healthy.

When you have a chance, visit the COSPuente web site and look at the faces of the students succeeding with us.  Every smile is worth all the work.

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August 22nd 2008

4Cs 2009 Convention in San Francisco

4Cs 2009 Convention in San Francisco

Not only is it too cool to have the 4Cs Convention in our state next year, but it is in my favorite city!  I lived in SF for a year or so a long time back, but I’d lived there in my head from the moment I stumbled on Gary Snyder in high school (more than a long time back).

So, I talked to some other people and wrote up a proposal for a panel presentation–and we’re in!  I suppose there are people who have written and presented at 4Cs so much that it’s nothing any more.  Not me; I’m like a kid over it.

Our panel is on the Puente Project in California and srategies we use that can filter back to others, we hope.  My co-presenters and friends are Scott Sandler, Susie Huerta, Maria Tuttle, and Grace Ebron.  If you’re there, come root for us!

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July 25th 2008

Puente PSI 2008

Puente PSI 2008

As I write, I’m attending my second Puente Summer PSI of 2008–the summer training for Puente counselors and English teachers. I’m presenting, but as a presenter, I’m always listening to the other presenters, the other ideas that people use in their classrooms. We’re all presenters when we teach and I think we also should be students at the same time.

Puente has really helped me connect to a community of committed instructors and active learners. I find that most of my colleagues want to have this connection, but time or money or life interferes. I feel privileged, and lucky frankly, to have the connection kind of mandated for me–they’re actually paying me to do what I enjoy doing anyway.

I know people who feel that learning has stopped–they have their degrees, they’ve been trained–what is the point of this connection? I have a problem with this rigidity. The world changes, people change. Life is a constantly evolving process. Who says that what we know today is all the learning we need? Why not share pedagogy and problems and successes and see what others are doing? I expect my students to approach the process of writing–and the process of critical thinking–as an evolving one. Why should my own process be different?

More importantly, as instructors we share students; my students, successful or not, are and will be someone else’s student. I need to help them succeed beyond my classroom and I feel this is a responsibility all instructors must take seriously. So it makes no sense, to me, to isolate myself. Indeed, I should be connecting across the campus to see what other disciplines are looking for in my students. The college (as an institution) looks to English faculty, for example, to instill writing and thinking processes that are the prerequisites for success in other disciplines. We really should all be talking together so that we each learn from the other.

I also know people who tell me that conferences are dull, jargon-laden, and repetitious. Many presenters are boring or overly enamored of themselves (or both). But of course, like anything, you get out of an activity what you put into it. Choose wisely! Skip the jargon-ish presentations (or listen for the message behind the jargon) and make connections with people who, like you, want a more dynamic experience.

Puente has given me that dynamic experience and helps me connect with people outside my discipline. It allows me to participate in my own growth and learning.

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