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Professional Development Update from Maureen Chenoweth, 4CS President

March 18, 2014

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

There is some light appearing at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to all of you, and the work of the Chancellor’s Office, and the Task Force, we now have proposed legislation to include classified staff in professional development funding! 

You may read the proposed bill AB 2558 at:

What’s next? The bill will be introduced to the Assembly by Assemblyman Das Williams from Santa Barbara, on either April 1 or April 22. Of course, there are a few more steps before the Ed code gets changed, but this is important. We want this bill to pass the Assembly. Some assembly members may not understand the need for professional development for classified staff. This is our opportunity to help educate them. 4CS and classified staff need write and send letters to Assemblyman Williams.

4CS has been contacted by the Chancellor’s Office to ask you for these support letters. We hope to receive hundreds of them, at least. There are thousands of classified employees at 112 community colleges.

How should we write these letters and what should be in them? First, we want to describe what we individually do, and second, how what we do promotes student success, and third, describe how professional development for classified staff, you specifically, will contribute to improved student success (remember our audience). I know that many of you are thinking – “that’s not me; I don’t teach or work in Student Services or help students succeed”. That is absolutely not true!  Each and every one of you contributes to student success in one way or another. If you are a payroll technician, then you contribute by ensuring that employees get paid. No one would work at the college if they didn’t get paid! “No One” includes the college president, classroom instructors and student services staff. Then where would students be?

I have started by attaching a sample letter that I wrote for my job. I hope that it helps you to envision what your letter may look like. I included more detail than is necessary but I wanted to include more examples rather than less so that if any part of it you find applicable, it may help you. The format can change too. I just wanted you to see an example of what it could look like. Actually it would be better if they were not all formatted the same.

Next steps: The Chancellor’s Office will let us know within the next few days the date of introduction of the bill. If it is April 1, then these letters need to be received by March 26. I would tell you, now, to send them right away, but they have yet to give us an address as well. I will let you know as soon as I know the date and address to send the letter! But you can start to write your letter now. When your letter is complete and you’ve emailed us a copy, visualize Assemblyman Williams receiving tons of unique and personal letters from each of you, containing detailed explanations of how we (collectively, along with faculty and administrators) make it possible for a large percentage of the state’s workforce to get a much-needed education!

In addition to the sample letter, at 4CS, we are building a web site to collect information: copy of the Task Force legislation, copy of AB 2558, other sample letters (yes, please send us yours when you have it!). When you send us a copy of your letter, please enclose a note let us know if we have your permission to post it on our website. Even if you would prefer we did not, we would still like a copy so that we can start compiling a list of resources for classified professional development opportunities for classified staff. 

We want this information and legislation to be of use to you, so in addition we want you to tell us: what you want to see on the web site and those PD classes, workshops, conferences, etc. that you have utilized and found useful for your job(s), or ones that you wish you could attend. We will publish all submissions (with your permission). The web site will be up by the end of this week, perhaps a little sooner. The lists of PD opportunities can be compiled at any time and will be ongoing, but the letters need to be completed ASAP!

Questions?  Email me at

Than you for listening, thank you for participating, thank you for all the important work that you do for students and the future of California, and thank you for being you!

Maureen Chenoweth
Foothill College
Transfer Center Coordinator
4CS President