Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Laney College hosts Alameda Youth Summit

    The Alameda County of Education, in partnership with Peralta Community College District, hosted the Alameda County Summit for Youth Justice & Education at Laney College on Sept. 13.

    The all day event began with keynote presentations by Dr. Shawn Ginwrite, Dr. Monique Morris, and George Galvis, experts in the field of youth and social justice. Throughout the day participants attended workshops, a networking luncheon, and feedback forums. The event’s agenda aimed to address the school to prison pipeline at a variety of levels.

    Laney College President Dr. Elñora Webb presented at a workshop titled “Gateways (College Pathways) Program in Contra Costa & Peralta Colleges.” Webb and fellow presenter, Contra Costa College’s Gateway to College Director Karl Debro, shared both personal and professional experiences.

    The two outlined how College Pathways programs across the country give youth the opportunity to attend college courses for one semester while still in high school. The preview to being a college student, along with academic counseling, gives youth more experience and confidence, Debro said.

    Unlike most College Pathways programs, Peralta and Contra Costa’s Gateway program is especially tailored to youth who experience poverty and trauma on an ongoing basis. Instead of just one semester of college courses, students are offered the opportunity to attend four semesters.

    Students also take part in one-on-one and group counseling, as well as art therapy. The need to address students’ psychological and environmental barriers was made abundantly clear.

    Service providers from a variety of agencies and organizations gave frank feedback. Rebecca Silbert, senior legal policy associate at UC Berkeley School of Law, questioned the message being sent to students when some schools also serve as parole check in centers.

    In response, Webb was proud to share Laney College’s effort to “institutionalize” the Pathways program by locating it on “prime real estate.” Again, presenters emphasized the need to help youth address their mental health. Beyond therapy and counseling ”kids need an understanding of the systems that lead here,” said Debro.

    Others echoed the sentiment. “We need to help kids recognize and name their trauma so they know: you didn’t create this [situation],” said Romeo Garcia, executive director of Peralta Colleges Foundation. “Kid’s brains are in high gear and school is just killing them,” observed another participant.

    Alameda County Office of Education’s Associate Superintendent of Education, L. Karen Monroe, facilitated the workshop. Monroe asked participants to share shortcomings, successes, and strategies.

    Contributors highlighted how new approaches to incentivizing education are furthering an understanding of students’ point of view. Providers are beginning to use the question “what’s in it for me?” to consider students’ needs, especially in response to students who feel pushed out of school.

    While the workshop began with evaluation of students and their behavior, it ended with providers acknowledging their own challenges and potential transformation. Despite a multitude of backgrounds and experiences, participants were in unanimous agreement when Webb voiced: youth have unimaginable capacity.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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