Passaic County Community College Certificate Program and AAS in Early Childhood Education at PCCC

Name of Community College: Passaic County Community College

Title of Program: Certificate Program and AAS in Early Childhood Education at PCCC

Primary Division(s) or Department(s) involved: English Language Studies and Early Childhood Development

1. Need for Program (Explain the significant need or problem that the initiative addresses and how long the program has been in place.)

Students need career opportunities on the way to completing an ELL academic program. This program allows students to earn a nation credential while continuing their language development. It provides motivation and incentive for students to continue on to attain an Associate’s degree. The program was implemented in Spring 2014.

2. Brief Description of Program 

The faculty in the English Language Studies Program at Passaic County Community College, a Hispanic-serving institution serving more than 10,000 students, has developed a career pathway for English language learners to earn a national credential while continuing their language development. The ELS program consists of four levels of instruction with a combined 6-credit  leading/speaking course and a 6-credit writing/grammar course at each of the first three levels.

Students at level two (low-intermediate) in reading/speaking may select a special section of the course designated as a bridge course.

In the bridge course, students are required to meet the same student learning outcomes as students in any regular section of the course. The difference is that the instructional context is early childhood education and parenting.

Upon completion of the bridge course, students may opt to follow a pathway that begins with a third-level ELS reading course paired with a college-level course in Early Childhood Education. Students subsequently take courses in the Childhood Development Associate Prep Program, which prepare them to apply for the CDA national credential and which can be applied towards their associate’s degree. Students may at any time continue taking ELS courses following the regular academic sequence.

3. Specific Population Served 

Low and high-intermediate English language learners.

4. Goals and Objectives (Note broad program goals and identify major objectives that define how these goals
will be accomplished.)

a. To introduce low-intermediate level ELL students to contextualized reading and speaking in the field of Early
Childhood Education and parenting.

b. To provide a pathway for ELL students to receive a national Childhood Development Associate certificate
while continuing to develop their language and academic skills.

5. Outcomes (What has the program improved / corrected / increased / decreased by addressing this need, e.g. retention, student performance, student services, workforce training, language acquisition etc? Please include any data regarding outcomes e.g. completion rates, employment, economic impact)

The program has only been in place for one semester. In the spring 2014, approximately 40 students enrolled in the two bridge courses. Twelve students enrolled in the paired low intermediate level reading course paired with college-level Introduction to Early Childhood Education. Official data regarding success rates is pending, but anecdotal information from the instructors is extremely positive.

6. Collaboration (If applicable, please note the role of each key partner organization—both internal across the college campus and external—involved in the program.)

There has been a tremendous collaboration among ELS and ECE faculty. This is key to successfully developing paired courses and career pathways.

7. Success Factors (What factors have been most critical to the success of your program?)

The collaboration and passion of instructors involved in building the pathway and the commitment of the administration in supporting the project have been critical to the success so far. Another factor is the great interest in early childhood education among our students and the motivation to work in the field as soon as possible.

8. Challenges Faced and Overcome (Describe any challenges and how you have overcome them or are currently addressing them)

One challenge we faced was in ensuring that students registered for the correct section of the bridge reading/speaking course and the paired course. Because these courses have the same code as the regular ELS classes, there was some confusion. We met the challenge by advising and registering most of our students in the reading labs and through new student orientations. We also met with counselors and other faculty members to inform them about this new program. Another challenge was to write a syllabus which met the learning outcomes of the reading courses, but which also supported students in the ECE classes. This was done through collaboration with the ECE instructors, choosing appropriate textbooks and by writing original materials. After one semester of piloting the course, we decided to revise the syllabi again to better meet the needs of the students.

9. Funding and Sustainability (How is the program funded? If the program was funded through a grant, how will the program be sustained?)

Because students enroll in special sections of already existing ELS and ECE courses, there is no additional cost incurred. Courses are taught collaboratively by full-time faculty in both departments.

Contact Information:
Name: Kathleen Kelly
Title: Assistant Professor (Instructor of paired courses)
Department/Division: English Language Studies Department
Phone: 973-684-5229

Name: Candida Rodriguez
Title: Associate Professor (Instructor of bridge courses)
Department/Division: English Language Studies Department
Phone: 973-684-5616

Name: Nancy Silvestro
Title: Professor
Department/Division: English Language Studies Department & Achieving the Dream Co-Leader
Phone: 973-684-5585