The California Acceleration Project (CAP)
The California Acceleration Project (CAP) was founded in 2010 by two community college teachers who wanted to do something about the poor outcomes of students placed into remediation. CAP is a faculty-led professional development network that supports the state’s 114 community colleges with the goal of transforming remediation to increase college completion and equity. CAP colleges implement reforms that increase student completion of transferable, college-level English and math requirements, a critical milestone on the path to degrees and transfer. These reforms include using high school grades in placement, tailoring math remediation to a student’s chosen program of study, replacing traditional remedial courses with corequisite support models, and teaching with high challenge, high support pedagogy.
Third-party evaluations by the Public Policy Institute of California and the Research and Planning Group have found substantial completion gains at colleges working with CAP to implement these reforms. CAP has received awards from the Association of California Community College Administrators, the Campaign for College Opportunity, and the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges. Co-Founders Katie Hern and Myra Snell were named to the "16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education" by the Washington Monthly, and CAP efforts have been featured in the New York Times, Inside Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Black Minds Matter, Diversity and Democracy, EdSource, the Sacramento Bee, and KQED's California Report. CAP leaders have also addressed national audiences at events hosted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, Achieving the Dream, Complete College America, and the Education Commission of the States.
CAP Co-Founder Myra Snell is the creator of Path2Stats at Los Medanos College, the first pre-statistics course in the country to provide a one-semester alternative to the traditional multi-level remedial algebra sequence. Along with CAP Co-Founder Katie Hern, Snell was named one of the "16 Most Innovative People in Higher Education" by the Washington Monthly. A nationally recognized expert in remedial math reform, Snell has worked with Carnegie-Mellon's Open LearningInitiative in Statistics and consulted with the Statway Project of the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching. In 2015, she was one of four finalists for the national Faculty Innovation award from the American Association of Community Colleges. Her past roles include serving as a Coach for the Faculty Inquiry Network and leading developmentaleducation and student outcome efforts at her college. She holds a master'sdegree in Pure Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.
CAP Assistant Director Summer Serpas is an English instructor at Irvine Valley College. Serpas began working with CAP in 2012, when her college launched a two-section acceleration pilot. She then created a local training program for faculty and led her college's effort to scale up the course. IVC now offers only one level of remediation below college English. Serpas has shared her college’s experience at statewide and national conferences, and she has spoken about acceleration to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the California Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. As Basic Skills Coordinator, Serpas helped secure a $1.5 million Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation Grant for IVC. She holds a master’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton.
CAP Storyteller Leslie Henson is an English instructor and former co-chair of English and Journalism at Butte College. After participating in CAP’s first Community of Practice, Henson worked with colleagues to pilot an accelerated English course and start a training program for faculty. She also led a change to the college’s placement policy that enabled twice as many incoming students to place directly into college English, then documented the results in an article that won a 2015 RP Group Award for Excellence in College Research. Henson was the first person profiled for the RP Group Series Making Change from the Middle: Recognizing Community College Middle Leaders. She regularly shares her research and ongoing work to transform remediation at statewide and national conferences. She holds a doctorate in English from the University of Florida.
CAP Coach Melissa Reeve is an English and ESL instructor at Solano Community College. As a participant in CAP’s first community of practice, Reeve helped develop and launch Solano’s accelerated developmental English course in 2011-12. Recognizing the relevance of CAP principles to ESL instruction, Reeve then led the re-design of the college’s ESL program to integrate reading, writing, and grammar instruction. Reeve has shared Solano’s experiences with English and ESL acceleration at national and state conferences, presenting on course and program redesign as well as pedagogy. She provided consultation in the development of ESL-specific provisions in AB705 and currently serves on the AB705 ESL Work Group to develop implementation guidelines and recommendations for the field. Reeve holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.
CAP Coach Jose Cortes is an English and ESL instructor at Solano Community College. Cortes’ road through academia started in a class two levels below transfer-level English, an experience which fuels his drive to accelerate students’ pathways and replace a deficit model of education with a capacity mindset. In 2015, Cortes helped to implement Solano’s redesigned integrated skills ESL program. After participating in the CAP community of practice in 2016 and CAP leadership training program in 2017, Cortes developed Solano’s Teaching Apprentice Program, which staffs each section of developmental and corequisite English with a graduate student teaching apprentice to support the students in the class. He has presented at national and state conferences on Solano Community College’s English and ESL redesigns, accelerated pedagogy, and strategies for increasing students’ self-efficacy. Cortes holds a Master’s Degree in Education: Reading and Language and a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from Sonoma State University.
CAP Coach Tammi Marshall is a Mathematics Instructor and department chair at Cuyamaca College. In 2010, she and her colleagues began working with CAP to redesign Cuyamaca’s developmental math sequence, culminating in the launch of Cuyamaca’s Math Pathway program in 2016. The program has increased completion of transferable math nearly sevenfold among students who would previously have been designated “underprepared.” Marshall participated in the CAP Community of Practice in 2015 and in CAP’s leadership training program in 2016, and she currently facilitates CAP workshops on corequisite remediation. In addition, Marshall is a facilitator for the Dana Center’s Math Pathways and has presented to college and university audiences in California and other states. She holds a master’s degree in Math Education and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.
CAP Coach Rachel Polakoski is a Mathematics Instructor at Cuyamaca College. During her time at Cuyamaca, she has been very involved in math acceleration and developing corequisite courses for the Math Pathway program. Working with CAP, she has assisted community colleges in creating corequisite models throughout California. Polakoski earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and teaching credential in Math Education from San Diego State University.
CAP Coach and Storyteller Hal Huntsman has been teaching math for most of his life. As a full-time faculty member at City College of San Francisco, he focuses on closing achievement gaps for underrepresented students. In 2011, Huntsman participated in the CAP Community of Practice and helped develop the accelerated pre-statistics course at CCSF. He has taught the class every semester since. Huntsman also mentors new instructors in the course and is a leader on placement reforms at his college. He holds master’s degrees in English literature, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and pure math from California State University, East Bay.
CAP Coach Kathy Kubo is a Mathematics Instructor at College of the Canyons. As part of the first year of the CAP Community of Practice, Kubo helped create the college's redesigned statistics pathway, then led a faculty training program that enabled the college to dramatically scale up the number of sections offered. Canyons' statistics pathway has been honored by the state Chancellor's Office and the Board of Governors, and in 2015, the Campaign for College Opportunity honored Kubo for her leadership in transforming remediation. Kubo participated in a National Science Foundation grant on statistics education, and she has worked with Stanford University's Open Learning Initiative to revise their Concepts in Statistics courseware. She holds a master's degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.