The College took another important step in strengthening its community connections when Dr. John Arnold of Portable Practical Educational Preparation Inc. and Affiliates (PPEP) and I last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding between our two institutions.
Memoranda of Understanding are designed to expand and enhance relationships between organizations whose mission and goals are well aligned. Our organizations have a good foundation to build upon. Graduates from PPEP’s TEC High School attend PCC, and the College’s East Campus Upward Bound college preparatory program serves PPEP TEC Victor Soltero Charter High School.
Like PCC, PPEP is committed to reaching populations that historically have been underserved educationally. PPEP operates both brick-and-mortar charter schools and has a robust K-12 online learning initiative that is part of a holistic suite of services, including job training and microfinance. And, like PPEP, the College recognizes the importance of creating seamless transitions from high school to postsecondary education opportunities. Long gone are the days of allowing students to wander in the woods while they try to find their career path.
Among the topics that may be explored by PCC and PPEP are faculty-to-faculty meetings, dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities, development of online and other programs to prepare PPEP students to successfully move to higher education, and development of a completion program for foreign-educated students. The College is embarking on a re-imagination of its online curriculum and is expanding global initiatives because we recognize the need to create access in the most universal sense. That is part of our vision, and it makes economic sense too, given that 95 percent of our audience lives outside the U.S.
Dr. Arnold used a very apt metaphor in describing the significance of the memorandum, likening it to throwing a pebble into the water and watching the ripples spread out. Both PPEP and PCC are committed to reaching neighbors at the outermost ripple – those who lack access to our services because of geography, language or economic circumstance. By finding common ground and working together, our organizations can reach out and offer a foothold on the ladder of educational and economic opportunity to the people who need us the most.