Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 95

Special Promotional Section WHITNEY YAMAMURA TAKES THE HELM AT FOLSOM LAKE COLLEGE This past July, Whitney Yamamura be- gan his new position as president of Folsom Lake College. His almost 30-year tenure with Los Rios Community College District includes jobs as interim president of Sacramento City College, vice president of instruction at Cosumnes River College, founding dean of American River College’s Natomas Center, American River College’s dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and professor of economics at Ameri- can River College. He is also the second Asian-American college president in Los Rios District’s history. With the new school year well un- derway, Yamamura is looking to improve the campus through facility and structure upgrades, program expansions and finan- cial strategies. “Folsom Lake College will double in size, even triple, in the blink of an eye,” he says, adding that a comprehensive college experience should include a sol- id career education program for students looking to transition from the community college system into the workforce. “As we grow, we will need to follow our facilities plan by finishing the expansion of the main building, building a science and career ed- ucation building and adding at least one more building to the Rancho Cordova Cen- ter. At the same time, we need to continue to support the Harris Center for the Arts while building up its financial strength.” Among his top priorities, he says, is to support all students through the edu- cational process by working to close the achievement gap for historically underrep- resented students. Making these changes at Folsom Lake College will have a great deal to do with faculty, staff and administrators. “The faculty are hardworking and engaged in college service outside of the classroom in committees,” he says. “The dedication of the staff to serve students and their sun- ny outlook and helpful can-do attitude are true exemplars. The administrative team is equally dedicated … As the newest col- lege in the district, there is an openness to experiment and try different strategies to support student success.” n - Jennifer Snyder NEW CHILDREN’S ACADEMY IN FOLSOM ADDS ART TO THE STEM CURRICULUM MIX The Full STEAM Academy, a preschool and daycare which opened in Folsom ear- lier this year, is taking early childhood ed- ucation programming to new heights by adding art education to its science, tech- nology, engineering and math curriculum. STEM programs groom students for future careers, but many educators are now looking beyond these four areas of study and adding in subjects that have been left behind. “Art is an important part of the social and emotional development of preschoolers allowing for creativity, self expression and imagination,” says Doug Quiroz, the academy’s CEO. Integrating a full STEAM model into our early childhood curriculum enriches the educational expe- rience. Our children learn through fun and exciting activities, while building a robust vocabulary at an early age.” The academy is specifically designed for children ages six weeks to five years of age and revolves around learning through play, which is implemented through hands- on activities that relate to lesson plans. Chil- dren have access to a dedicated Da Vinci STEM lab and a Picasso Art Studio onsite, which allow students to explore by doing. “For example, when learning about the parts of the body, our 3-year-olds placed a piece of bread in a clear plastic bag then added soda to watch how the stomach works to break down food through diges- tion,” Quiroz says. “This experiment allows us to teach to the five senses, while intro- ducing life science and chemistry vocabu- lary and concepts.” The Folsom center is considered the academy’s flagship location and has al- ready seen a high level of interest since opening for enrollment in April. Quiroz says they’ve added about 30 children to their enrollment base for a total of 105 children now in their care. n - Jennifer Snyder November 2017 | comstocksmag.com 95