HLC Self Study
Chapter 8 Graphic

Early Outreach Engagement

In response to community needs and desire to improve educational outcomes for West Valley students, Estrella Mountain partners with local schools to facilitate several early outreach programs and activities. Programs vary in their target audience and content, but all seek to encourage student awareness of higher education opportunities offered through the College. Early outreach engagement efforts have both an academic focus as well as an occupational concentration.  In working to provide access and opportunities for all students, especially underrepresented populations, the College is constantly exploring alternative scholarship sources to support and aid future West Valley students.

Achieving a College Education (ACE)

Achieving a College Education (ACE) is nationally recognized and targets students who may not consider going to college. ACE provides quality instruction to high school juniors and seniors in order to help them attain a bachelor’s degree. Estrella Mountain’s ACE program has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus and is specifically designed to help students make a smooth transition from high school to a community college, and then on to a university in order to complete a bachelor’s degree.  For the 2010-2011 academic year, 155 students participated in ACE, with 55 students graduating from both high school and ACE.

Junior ACE

Junior ACE is funded by an educational grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration Association (NNSA). The goal of Junior ACE is to expose students to the STEM fields early in their educational journey. The target audience is students entering the sixth to 10th grades, with various programs taking place during the summer. Junior ACE serves as a pipeline to the ACE programs, which students start in the summer of their 10th grade year. During summer 2011, 92 students participated in Junior ACE. The following are examples of innovative and distinctly Estrella Mountain Junior ACE programs:

  • Mars Academy – During the summer Mars Academy, entering sixth grade students are placed in groups of four or five, according to topics. Examples of topics include Earth vs. Mars (Differences, temperature, surface, distance), Craters/Volcanoes, Rovers, and NASA Careers. As a group, students research their respective topics and conclude their projects by making a PowerPoint presentation and display board. During the four days of the academy, students are exposed to many hands-on activities that enhance their knowledge of science and peak their interest so that they continue their education in this field. The final projects are presented at the closing ceremony with family and friends in attendance. 
  • Biotechnology and CSI – During the three-week biotechnology workshop, students entering the seventh grade are placed in groups of four and complete hands-on experiments related to the field. Students are exposed to the latest biotechnological equipment and are taught a working knowledge of biotech applications. Laboratory sessions broaden their scientific knowledge and enhance their understanding of genetics, DNA extraction, crime scene investigation, stem cell research, cloning, and genetically-modified foods. At the completion of the course, students gain a better appreciation for the biological world and the methods scientists use to explore how biological systems work and impact society.
  • ACE Physics 298AB – During the two-week ACE Physics program, entering eighth grade students enroll in a two-credit course in which they learn the various math and physics concepts that govern the design and flight of rockets. Students work at their own level of interest while examining different variations of rockets. Teams gain an understanding of rocket flight, particularly the interaction of forces and aerodynamics. One rocket is designed by each team and is judged based upon the team’s ability to meet the assigned rocket specifications. After five weeks of attending summer classes, students attend one workshop session the following fall semester.
  • ACE Lego Robotics Academy – During the five-week Lego Robotics Academy, entering ninth grade students are placed in teams and given different Lego robotics projects. The academy provides challenges that allow students to learn engineering concepts through hands-on activities. The motivational effects of robotics are used to excite students about science and technology. The following applied physics and mathematics concepts are reinforced: ratios; diameter, radius and circumference; friction; measurement of distance, time, angles, and speed; light and the electromagnetic spectrum; and basic electricity and circuits. At the same time, students engage in design activities that challenge them to develop their own original solution for each problem presented. Students are encouraged to work together on activities that require them to effectively manage time and materials to complete the project effectively and efficiently. At the end of the academy, the teams have a competition and showcase their projects.
  • Math Academy – During the five-week Math Academy, entering 10th grade students take a credit math course based on the results of their placement test. Students attend tutoring sessions and are encouraged to work together.

Hoop of Learning

The Hoop of Learning program is an early high school bridge program created to encourage students to stay in high school, graduate and enter college. The program was implemented in the Maricopa County Community College District in summer 1995 in direct response to concerns voiced by Native American parents in a Phoenix school district. These voices influenced the high school and a local community college to form a partnership committee to provide an educational program for Native American students. Referred to as Hoop of Learning, the Estrella Mountain program began in 2007, and there are currently 10 students enrolled.

Hermanas: Diseña Tu Futuro

In an effort to address the underrepresentation of Latinas in science and engineering, Estrella Mountain and Intel Corporation collaborate to host a conference specifically aimed at closing the gender and diversity gap in science and technology. Estrella Mountain, a recognized Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and three other HSI colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District, partner with Intel to plan and design the Hermanas: Diseña Tu Futuro Conference. The free one-day conference exposes student participants to professional and personal development workshops and hands-on science activities conducted by a diverse group of Intel engineers, scientists and technologists. In addition, the conference provides a supportive environment where young women interact with successful Latinas, explore technical careers and receive encouragement to finish school, attend college and pursue their educational and personal goals. During spring 2011, 99 girls from four local high school districts attended the conference.   

Summer Reading Camp

Estrella Mountain Community College and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church collaborate to offer the Summer Reading Camp. This one-week program provides at-risk third grade students from Lattie Coor Elementary School with the opportunity to improve both their attitudes toward reading and their reading skills.  Students in Estrella Mountain’s teacher-education program gain hands-on experience by developing a research-based curriculum and teaching reading skills to the elementary school students.  Upon completion of the program, the third-graders earn a certificate from the College.

Culinary Camp

In partnership with Western Maricopa Tech Prep, a consortium of Career and Technical Education programs in the West Valley, Estrella Mountain offers high school students the opportunity to participate in a Culinary Camp. Every summer, approximately 50 students representing 15 local high schools participate in the Culinary Camp. Upon completion of the two-week program, students earn two college credits in the food and nutrition program area. The program is designed for high school juniors, seniors and recent graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in the food service industry.

Teen Law Enforcement Academy

During this two-week, noncredit program sponsored by the Goodyear Police Department, local high school students are introduced to the following areas of law enforcement: K-9, weapons, investigations, DUI and traffic, CPR, high-risk stops, and crime scene scenarios.

Teach West

Teach West is a multi-pronged spectrum of activities sponsored by the College’s teacher-education program. Working with local area schools, Estrella Mountain students are involved in the entire pipeline of teacher development from recruitment (i.e., elementary and high school students) to preparation (i.e., Estrella Mountain Community College students) to pathways (i.e., guiding students to the best route to university certification programs) to professional development at the post-graduate level. The moniker for the four prongs of Teach West is RP3: Recruitment, Preparation, Pathways, and Professional Development. Working with a wide array of collaborative partners, Teach West seeks to increase the quantity of quality teachers in the West Valley.

Gallery 37

Gallery 37 is a youth arts employment summer program sponsored by the West Valley Arts Council (WVAC). High school students apprentice with professional artists to produce a permanent installation of public art in the community. Since 2004, Estrella Mountain has worked in partnership with WVAC to become the permanent site for Gallery 37.  As part of the partnership, the College provides Gallery 37 with qualified instructors to teach the high school students a college-level art course and a college skills course.

Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center, Incorporated

Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center, Incorporated (AAEC) is a partner with Estrella Mountain Community College and the Maricopa County Community College District.  As one of Arizona’s charter schools, AAEC provides West Valley high school students the opportunity to earn college credits at Estrella Mountain while completing their high school requirements. AAEC high school students are required to take a minimum of 17 community college credits during their four years at a campus. Each student must take eight credits (two semesters of a foreign language) and six credits (two semesters of fine arts). Each AAEC student is assigned a college advisor in her/his sophomore year and will establish a pathways program to one of the universities. Approximately 30 percent of the graduating classes from AAEC high schools complete their associate degree before graduating from high school. In fall 2010, 67 AAEC students were enrolled in courses at Estrella Mountain. AAEC is located just north of the College.