Pass The Torch - Who we Are
Pass the Torch Founder
Jean Thomas
Coordinator of Outreach
& Team Development
Elvia Herrera
(650) 949-7358
English/ESLL Coordinator,
Natalia Menendez
(650) 949-7438
Mathematics Coordinator
Nicole Gray
(650) 949-7175
Pass the Torch Main
(650) 949-7687

Teams Meeting

Pass the Torch Study Teams

Each team consists of a team Leader and a team Member. The Leader has already completed that subject or a higher level subject with an “A” grade and the Member is currently enrolled in one of Pass the Torch core courses. The member is encouraged to become a Leader in the following quarter. This program targets underrepresented students, but all students enrolled in our core courses 0are eligible to be matched in a study team.

Pass the Torch has received several awards, including the California Academic Senate Award as an Exemplary Program, 1999; California Community College Chancellor’s Grant, 1999, to expand, and the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Association of Santa Clara Valley “Movers of Mountains Award” for Education for Underserved Students

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image of student teamThe innovative Foothill College Pass the Torch was designed to help at-risk students earn the highest potential grade in a specific course so they can advance to the next level of instruction. The program links students who excel in English, ESL and math with students who want support in these same core classes.

It began in 1994 with a California Community College Chancellor’s Grant under the direction of Jean Thomas a Foothill counselor. From its very inception, it had its own facility. Pass the Torch was inspired by the University of California, Berkeley Professional Development Program begun by Uri Treisman. In 1996, Foothill received a three year FIPSE grant to continue the program. However, instead of group teams as in the U.C. Berkeley model, Foothill students are matched in one-on-one study teams. The teams are trained to work cooperatively. Study skill ideas are exchanged and other enhancements are introduced that circumvent the traditional hierarchical relationship of tutor/tutee. The name, Pass the Torch, is intended to give the message that all students can pass on their knowledge to someone else once they have succeeded.

In 1999, the program received a second grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s office under the Underrepresented Special Students Program Fund (USSPF). These funds increased outreach effect to underrepresented minority students.

In September, 2003, Foothill received a Fund for the Improvement of Instruction (FIPSE) grant to disseminate Pass the Torch to four-year universities. At the invitation of Dr. Bernadine Fong, President of Foothill, the University of California Davis and the University of California Berkeley agreed to become adapting colleges of the Foothill College’s Pass the Torch. The FIPSE grant will continue through June 2005. Outreach efforts are directed to Community Colleges located within the feeder areas of the two U.C. campuses. If successful, these efforts will create a pipeline between Pass the Torch in the community colleges and the four -year universities. Through this pipeline, community colleges can offer students transferring to those colleges a greater support in their transfer efforts. The universities, on the other hand, can increase their awareness of these students needs and respond with development of expanded resources to address their overhaul college needs.

We have already seen this expansion occur at both U.C. Davis and U.C. Berkeley. Please continue reading our Dissemination link to see how this grant is making a change in how community college underrepresented transfer students are being affected by the grant and how community colleges will be a part of these changes in the immediate future.

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Our Future

image of student team Pass the Torch is moving into a period of well over ten years of providing services to our students in mathematics and English/ESL. During this time we have had many successes and seen many of our past students transfer to and graduate from some of the finest institution in the United States, Stanford, Berkeley, University of Arizona, UCLA, Eastside University, Bloomington, NYC and Hastings College of the Law University of California to name a few. Then move on and become professionals in multiple fields in their communities, teachers, nurses, lawyers, physical therapist, radiologist, bank managers, preschool teacher and probation officers. These student affectionately keep in contact with the program and share their life's journeys with us. The impact that the program has had in their lives bears witness as they continue to Pass the Torch wherever they go. Our future will always be with the student who is serious about the future of their education whether it be a fresh face student just out of high school, a single parent trying to better the future for their family, a displaced worker upgrading their skills, a student who is out in the workforce and sees the limitations they face without an education or a student that has exceptional skills and receives satisfaction from seeing someone else achieve success. Pass the Torch will continue to provide academic and moral support not only to help them move on to the next level of their education or career but also as productive and prosperous citizens in their communities.

Pass the Torch is located in the Temporary Village room 5912 beginning Fall 2014 and will remain at this location until Winter 2016 when the Library renovations are complete. Our permanent location will be in the Library Resource Center which is currently under construction.

Coordinator of Outreach & Team Development

For the Director's Future comments go to Dissemination.

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