LBCC officials have decided continuing students will be bypassed to allow new freshmen to take priority registration as part of the LBCC Promise Pathways in the Fall semester.
New freshman are currently the fifth in line when it comes to priority registration after EOPS, disabled students, veterans and foster care.
Dewayne Sheaffer, department chair of LAC counseling, said continuing students struggle to get through because of the lack of classes. "Then you bring these other groups and give them preferred status, but they are not getting the full benefit of the free semester being paid for."
Alberto Reynoso, 19, a psychology major, said, "I don't like it, since I don't have the priority registration."
After attending meetings regarding LBCC Promise Pathways, Sheaffer said many teachers and other employees have shown concern. He said they do not fully understand why the administration is pushing forward with the program and limited answers have been provided.
New students will take general-education classes in English, writing and math, raising concern among teachers because they will have classes consisting mainly of inexperienced students, he said.
The college does not plan to compensate teachers and counselors for additional work at this time, Sheaffer said.
Mary Martinez, a counselor at Wilson High School, said, "Don't go to City because it's convenient." She said students should be "open minded" and to consider other smaller schools.
Robert Garcia, director of public and media relations for LBCC, said the money being used to pay for Promise Pathways comes from the scholarship component that is from the Foundation. The rest of the program is a combination of grants and general district funds.
Garcia said LBCC Promise Pathways will create a co-hort model for incoming Long Beach Unified School District students. Several blended courses are scheduled in Promise Pathways with no changes to continuing students. Promise Pathways will not increase LBCC current enrollment, but instead put the students we normally get from LBUSD into a co-hort.
In addition, teachers have been involved in the creation of Promise Pathways and LBCC compensates faculty based on contracts and agreements between the district and faculty, he said.
Bobbi Clarke, a counselor at Cabrillo High School, said, "I wholeheartedly support the LBCC Promise Pathways. This removes the financial burden and obstacle for so many of our students, allowing them to gain the opportunity that they otherwise may not have had."
Garcia said LBCC is in the process of hiring counselors and teachers for Fall 2012 to help with the upcoming freshmen and LBCC is always striving to improve student success.
Beatrice Rivas, 17, a Wilson High School senior, said, "The program is fantastic. I believe it would aide me in my junior college journey."
Eighteen counselors, seven at PCC and 11 at LAC, serve about 28,000 students, with the majority of the counselors having other duties such as teaching, workshops, classroom presentations and other responsibilities. According to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and Standard Practice, "The median ratio of students to counselors in the Community Colleges in 1992 stood at over 1,700 to 1." Sheaffer said counselors at LBCC are 2,700 to 1. Their overall goal is to see 500 students weekly, he said. However, Garcia said the ratio is 1,556 to 1.
When talking about why LBCC is promising help and assistance in counseling and other departments to incoming freshmen when the problems within the school can't be solved, Garcia said LBCC and the counseling department are committed to helping both currently enrolled and new students with their educational goals.
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