Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Early Applications Improve Scholarship Chances

It’s that season again. Sunny skies, balmy weather, spring training and applications for fall college scholarships are due.

Now’s the time to follow your passion, find a new career, earn a certificate and pursue the degree you’ve always wanted. And there’s help in the form of scholarships, grants, and financial aid.
At Rio Salado College dozens of students receive scholarships to attend college. They are scholarship based on academics, ethnicity, need, course of study, for mothers, for community heroes and a variety of other reasons.

There are scholarships for dual enrollment students, scholarships for nursing, those in teacher education, high school drop outs and even incarcerated students.
“There are drawers full of scholarships but students need to apply and to apply early,” said Cindy Hall Rio Salado College Scholarship Coordinator.

“If you are planning on going to college you need to plan ahead. A lot of students seem to wait until the last minute to apply. Don’t wait until crunch time,” said Hall.
Students who apply early not only have more scholarships to chose from but also have more time to meet with academic advisors and counselors.

“If you get your finances in place it’s going to be a smooth transition for you to enroll in your classes,” said Hall.

Although this is the best time to apply for scholarships to attend college in the fall, scholarships are awarded throughout the year.
Last week nearly a dozen Rio Salado College nursing students were awarded $1,000 scholarships including Ashleigh Gabriel and Dennis Arrington. Both students are thrilled with the unexpected scholarship.

The money means Gabriel won’t have to pick up an extra graveyard shift to pay for daycare while she goes to school full-time, work part-time and takes care of her two children.
“I was so excited because I have never gotten a scholarship before,” said Gabriel. The 23 years old mother of a three-year old and an eight-month-old has been taking her nursing prerequisites at Rio Salado College the last couple of years. In January she started her first semester of nursing classes and wasn’t sure how she would pay for daycare. With a full load of classes and two small children at home, Gabriel said she wasn’t sure how she would juggle another shift.
“This is a great big help. There would have been no time to study and take care of the kids,” said Gabriel.
Arrington also took most of her nursing prerequisites online at Rio but spent the first two semesters of the nursing program at another college. But found online classes were more his style.

“I really like the online format. I think going into the classroom is pretty much a waste of time,” said Arrington.
“I was very excited to get the scholarship. I couldn’t believe it,” said Arrington who plans to use the scholarship for tuition and expenses.

For more information go to the Rio Salado web site at http://www.riosalado.edu/services/student/enrollment/financial_aid/scholarshipSearch.shtml

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Conversion to New Online Student Center Feb. 12

On February 19th, Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be launching a brand new, state-of-the-art online student center. This new self-service student center, powered by the same software used by many universities and colleges across the country, allows students to complete dozens of tasks at the touch of a mouse. As we transition from our current system to our new exciting online student center some student services will have to be limited for a short period beginning February 12th. Please visit http://www.riosalado.edu/golive to learn more.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Former Tempe Police Chief is Newest Faculty Member

Ron Burns will teach Law Enforcement Technology at Rio Salodo College

Rio Salado College’s newest Law Enforcement Technology faculty member is a familiar face for Tempe Residents.

Ron Burns, a former Tempe chief of police began his duties at Rio Salado this month. Burns spent more than three decades in law enforcement as a Tempe cop, assistant chief and chief before accepting the position at Rio Salado.

“This is a great opportunity for me. I always wanted to impact the training police officers receive and in this position I can do that,” said Burns.

A Northern Arizona University graduate, Burns initial goal was to teach. But in 1971 when he graduated from NAU there were no suburban teaching jobs to be had.
With a wife and family to support Burns re-evaluated his choice of career composing a list of attributes he wanted in a job.

“Every item on my list of things I wanted fit with a police officer,” said Burns. Hired as a regular “beat cop” in the early 70’s, Burns spent 21 years patrolling the streets of Tempe and serving in almost every assignment available.

In 1988 he was promoted to assistant police chief and served in that position until 1993. Prompted by his desire to attain the top position in the department, he left Tempe to be the police chief in Kirkland, Washington, a city of 40,000 located on the east side of Seattle.
In 1995 he returned to the city of his roots serving as the police chief for Tempe until 2000. Following a brief stint at a non-profit, Burns found he missed police work too much and returned to law enforcement serving as chief of police of Lakewood, Colorado, a city of about 150,000 in the Denver suburbs. He retained that title until his recent hire at Rio Salado.

He’s glad to be back in the East Valley where most of his family still resides including three sons and five grandchildren. He is also excited to be part of one of the largest criminal justice education programs in the country.

Rio Salado has been a leader in law enforcement education since 1990 providing education to law enforcement agencies around the country.

Rio Salado’s LET program offers both a certificate of completion and an associate in applied science in law enforcement technology degree. Classes start every Monday allowing students to start their general education classes at any time.

The department also works extensively with several police agencies around the state offering certified course work and certified instructors for basic training. Those agencies include the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy, (ALEA) which offers police academy training for officers from around the state. Additionally Rio Salado partners with the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department, Mesa Police Department, Mesa Fire Department, Arizona Department of Safety and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Students can receive up to 39 college credit hours for completing their basic training. The 39 hours is nearly two thirds of the way to earning an associate degree, said Jim Hornburg Public Safety Manger at Rio Salado College.

“An associate degree is becoming the standard for higher education for police officers. Officers need a degree to be promoted or to get specialty assignments. Our online classes make it a lot easier,” said Hornburg.

For more information about Rio Salado Law Enforcement Program call 480-517-8540 or visit the Rio Salado Web http://www.riosalado.edu/law_enforcement/

Excellence in Education Awarded North High Teacher

North High School teacher awarded “Excellence in Education”

North High School Social Studies Department Chair Daniel Dodge is often referred to as “Mr. North High” by fellow teachers and administrators. The popular teacher is admired and trusted by students at the school. This week the Phoenix Union High School District student government advisor was the winner of the “Excellence in Education” award presented in partnership with RioSalado College and KEZ 99.9FM.

Dodge was nominated by North High School student body president Stephen Geffrey.
Calling him a legend because of his enthusiasm and dedication, Geffrey, said Dodge has inspired many students including him to become educators.

“He has been instrumental in teaching 18 years of students the important lessons of leadership, diversity, and respect,” said Geffrey of Dodge who plans and coordinates the school’s multicultural retreat. Dodge is the sixth teacher to be recognized this school year in the “Excellence in Education” program.

Each month during the school year, a Valley teacher is selected and recognized for his or her outstanding contributions to education. KEZ’s Marty Manning and Rio Salado’s Maribeth All visit the teacher’s school to surprise them with their “Excellence in Education” award. The surprise visit is broadcast live during the “Beth and Bill Morning Show.” All winning teachers are awarded $99, an “Excellence in Education” plaque, a KEZ Prize Bag of Fun, and their picture on the KEZ999.com and Rio Salado College websites. Online entry forms can be found at www.kez999.com/pages/promo/excellence_in_education/

Rio Salado College - "Getting involved in the communities we serve!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New English Language Classes Start at Rio Salado

Rio Salado College is holding open enrollment for English as a Second Language (ESL) credit classes. In-person classes begin Feb. 26 in Surprise, Mesa, and Paradise Valley, and online classes start every Monday. Students will receive college credit upon completion of each course, and classes range from five to 15 weeks. Evening classes are available.

Benefits of ESL credit classes
Students receive college credit.
  • Students gain both language and computer skills.
  • Students receive personalized attention from instructors with master’s degrees in the discipline.
  • Students interact with engaging technology that caters to their learning style: audio, visual, and kinesthetic.
  • Students can access their classes anytime or anywhere the Internet is available.
  • Students pay affordable tuition with payment plans and financial aid.
  • There is no residency requirement for ESL credit classes.

    Seating is limited for in-person classes. For more information about registration, call 480.517.8249.
  • Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Kids Youngest to Win KISS a Hero Awards

    Cooper Posz and Hannah Sorensen know the difference a little hope can make.

    A recent cancer survivor, 9-year-old Cooper Posz (pictured left) of Chandler now spends his free time visiting other children battling the disease. As a volunteer for HopeKids, a non-profit providing activities and support to children with life-threatening medical conditions, Cooper talks with kids who are hospitalized like he was to give them hope and help them feel better.

    Hannah Sorensen (above right), 12, gave a whole new meaning to the word hope when she started her own charity providing packets of hygiene supplies for the homeless in Phoenix. She named it ‘Soap 4 H.O.P.E.’, which she says stands for Helping Other People Every day.

    These two young volunteers are being recognized by Rio Salado College as “heroes” for their efforts to improve the lives of others. Each week the college’s “Kiss a Hero” campaign recognizes citizens who go above and beyond their everyday obligations to help those around them. Cooper and Hannah are the youngest heroes ever to be recognized.

    “You’re never too young or too old to help make a difference,” Hannah said. “I think one person can make a difference, and everybody should try.”

    Hannah first saw the need for hygiene kits for the homeless when she was volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul’s Chris Becker Dining Room in Phoenix. She noticed the supervisor cutting towels into smaller pieces and pouring shampoo into Dixie cups because they didn’t have enough for everyone.

    During her 2007 summer vacation from Most Holy Trinity Catholic School, Hannah went door to door asking people to donate supplies, and then spent several hours each day assembling kits with the help of a neighbor.

    So far, Soap 4 H.O.P.E. has donated 250 kits containing personal hygiene products, including a wash cloth, bottle of water, soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste. However, Hannah would like to increase her donation to 100 kits per week to meet the need at the shelter, and then eventually expand to other cities and states.

    “I want Soap 4 H.O.P.E. to be able to go everywhere one day. If kids start helping out now, they’ll become better adults,” she said.

    Like Hannah, fourth-grader Cooper saw a way he could help the people around him.

    “After his cancer treatments, Cooper would get to go to a closet at the hospital and pick a toy,” said his mother, Michelle Posz. “He would say to me, ‘Mom, I can’t take a toy every time I come because this closet doesn’t have enough.’”

    “The first time I saw ‘Andrea’s Closet’, it was a little empty,” Cooper said. “Every time I would go back, I would check it. I talked to my mom about helping out.”

    Cooper led a fundraiser at his school, Basha Elementary in Chandler, and raised 365 toys and 80 books for “Andrea’s Closet”, a non-profit organization that fills hospital closets with toys to put a smile on the faces of children after they have difficult treatments or surgeries.

    Both Hannah and Cooper continue to volunteer and bring hope to those around them. Anyone wanting to be involved with Soap 4 H.O.P.E. can send an email to soapforhope@cox.net. For more information about the charities Cooper volunteers with, visit www.hopekids.org or www.andreascloset.org.

    “Heroes” can be members of the military, police officers, nurses, teachers or anyone in the community who has made a positive difference. Winners of the “Kiss a Hero” program receive a gift bag from Rio Salado College and a cash prize from radio station KISS 104.7 FM.

    Rio Salado College encourages citizens to nominate someone for “Kiss a Hero” by visiting www.1047kissfm.com and submitting an application.

    Early childhood Education Online Program Fills Need

    Often child-care provders have little time or money to pursue an education... You need a schedule that is flexible," Diana Abel.
    Diana Abel, Rio Salado College Director of Early Childhood Education and Human Development Undergraduate Studies, was a stay-at-home mom working as a family childcare provider when she realized she wanted more.
    While she was passionate about the youngsters in her home, she knew there were thousands of others she wanted to reach.
    Today she’s in charge of Rio Salado’s early childhood undergraduate program. Started just over a year ago, the program already has more than 500 students and is expected to continue to grow as more and more child care providers realize that gaining college-level certificates and degrees in today’s marketplace is vital,” said Abel.
    Like many of her generation, Abel dropped out of college in 1971 to raise her family. Eight years later as a childcare provider serving on a state committee she realized if she wanted to make a difference in the child care field she needed to complete her education.
    While serving as the executive director of a Tempe-based non-profit Abel went back to school earning a bachelors in 1995 her masters in 1998 and her doctorate in 2001. She’s taught early childhood education at Glendale Community College and served as the faculty chair at Mesa Community College before taking on the role of director at Rio Salado. She’s quick to point out without her education her career options would have been severely limited as well as her ability to influence the field.
    “Because of my background one of my greatest pleasures is to mentor others who struggle to balance family needs with professional aspirations,” said Abel.
    Abel and Rio Salado College Project Manager Rene Manning, who also started as a child care provider, believe Rio’s early childhood education program has grown so quickly in part because of their understanding of those in the field and their challenges to complete their education.
    “Often child care providers have little time or money to pursue an education. Online education can be a very time effective solution especially if you have childcare barriers, transportation issues and you need a schedule that is flexible,” said Abel.
    “The vast majority of our students are already working with children 40 or 50 hours a week, they need to be able to go to school when they have the time not when the institution schedules it,” said Abel.
    Her experience in the field is extensive including organizing a variety of non-profits and developing professional training. She was also instrumental in starting the National Association for Family Child Care. While representing Arizona lobbying for expansion of the National Child Care Food Program she and fourteen other family child care providers organized the NAFCC, the first association designed expressly for those in the industry now in its 25th year.
    She also set up a nonprofit association to provide professional development training and started a group to enroll child care providers in the Child Care Food Program.
    Rio Salado is the only Maricopa Community College early childhood program offering all courses necessary to complete an associates degree online. Credits are transferable to Northern Arizona, Ottawa and Northcentral universities. Courses start every Monday and the early childhood program offers certificates and degrees in Early Childhood Education and available later this spring, will be Early Childhood Business Administration or Family Life Education.
    Additionally, child care providers working on national credentials such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) or the Certified Childhood Professional (CCP) can use selected coursework from Rio Salado to fulfill the educational requirements necessary to meet credentialing criteria.
    For additional information regarding Early Childhood Undergraduate and Professional Development programs, contact Rio Salado College Student Enrollment Services at 480-517-8580 or visit our web site at http://www.riosalado.edu/.