Skip to contentSkip to Main Site NavigationSkip to Site Left NavigationSkip to Site Utility NavigationSkip to Site SearchSkip to FooterDownload Adobe Reader
District Home » Dacum » Public Safety » Facilitating Student Success of Special Populations


This report is a result of a focus group conducted during November 2001 as part of a Vocational Training and Education grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.  The purpose of the focus group was to brainstorm ideas, recommendations and activities used by the participants: instructors, administrators and staff who are part of special populations programs at community colleges and/or other educational organizations.

The goal was to identify and describe effective ways for Public Safety programs to facilitate the success of students from special populations.  Special populations were defined as individuals with disabilities, individuals from economically disadvantaged families, individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment, single parents, including single pregnant women, displaced homemakers, and individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited-English proficiency. 

The recommendations are in priority order with the top or most important methods listed first.  The last group of recommendations were provided in response to specific barriers identified by the focus group.


  • Offer Workshop for Special Populations

Centralized and at beginning of semester to go over issues at one time.

  • Conduct Orientations

List orientation days/times in class schedule for all new students and faculty. Mandate program workshops to understand disability awareness for faculty, staff, administration and students. Create brochure/flyer, circulate to community services inviting them to attend.

  • Pursue Funding Increases

Need an ADA office on campus, graduate students could do research and make recommendations. 

  • Hire More Staff

Full time and permanent including grant writers.

  •  Follow Through on Implementing Solutions and Plans

Get commitments to implement new services from Deans, Presidents, and District.

  • Compile List of Resources for all Departments

Create resource knowledge base and keep it updated..   

  • Use Continuum of Services

Provide counseling to determine/understand the barriers and send student to appropriate place/area using appropriate referrals. Assist student from beginning to the end on a continuing basis.   

  • Create an Initial Point which is the Same for all Students

Identify careers/problems for students, integrating special populations with all student services and testing. Identify one problem and work on it, create solutions for each problem before moving on.

  • Engage the Student and Work with Them for Solutions

Students should be at the table, active in process, with input, ownership and as an active stakeholder. 

  • Keep Health and Other Services Open during Evening Hours

Faculty should have CPR and First Aid training with specified persons to help identify and relay information in emergencies. Maintain conformity for hours/needs/services. Allow a flex work schedule, staggered for health and other services.

  • Create School Website Pages for Students from Special Populations

Post questions/concerns with lists of answers. Questions should be answered by appropriate staff.

  • Facilitate Support Groups for Special Populations

Have one spokesperson from the group to present to school. 

  • Develop and Post Evacuation Procedures

Publicize safety evacuation procedures in alternate formats and languages to include in class schedules, student handbook, website, safety brochure, and post the brochure in classrooms. (Well-designed procedures may help reassure those with reduced mobility.)

  • Establish/Support Associated Students Groups

Provides new voices, customers.

  • Develop and Conduct a Program/Progress Review

Require solutions for special populations and a Program review committee with sanctions for noncompliance.

  • Conduct a Needs Assessment for Special Populations Students

  • Develop and Maintain a Crisis Response Team

Students can then speak with non-uniformed officer/counselor with benefits of a team for resource identification and follow-up.

  • Link Outside Vocational Rehabilitation and Career Counseling Services to Campus

  • Design a Body of Faculty/Staff/Students to take on Issues, Solutions and Implementation

Require representatives from different populations at Division meetings.

  • Establish Advisory Groups on each Campus

Can Advise, recommend and assist with programs, curriculum and services.

  • Hire an ADA Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officers 

Should have oversight of all special population services and be endorsed by Governing Board.

  • Use Mentors - Role Models  

Recruit students with disabilities, also former students who have gone through the program. Use student mentoring models, "Each one Teach One".

  • Link Services on Campus to Community Services

Use flyers and brochures from community, develop resource lists and conduct orientations/trainings using community representatives.

  • Create Ways for Students to Learn about Accommodations

Acknowledge those who may not know about or be too embarrassed to ask for accommodations.



  • Provide on evenings/weekends


  • Write grants to provide busses/vans

  • Provide financial transportation assistance

  • Hire vans

  • Procure donated busses


  • Identify ESL students so support can be provided across all classes and programs

  • Create assessments in other languages

  • Design assessments for career options


  • Develop evacuation procedures

  • Post universal signage for parking, travel paths, etc. for students with disabilities

  • Train instructors and staff on accommodations and ADA requirements including safety issues

  • Provide additional funding for Disabled Student Services

  • Support model of accommodations for instructors as well as students (e.g. ergonomically designed furniture)

  • Enhance listening skills of instructors/students who are non-native speakers for understanding instructions/lessons

   Campus Resources

  • Create classrooms for quiet study, etc. Allow use of faculty study rooms for students with disabilities

  • Develop Counseling/Support availability for all students

  • Maintain consistency across campus for resources

  • Open Student Services/Health Services/Disabled Services during evening/weekend hours

  • Acknowledge students with multiple disabilities

  • Include ESL and Cultural Issues

  • Research information on Special Populations

  • Allow Health Services to serve everyone on campus, not just students

  • Develop policies and procedures for after hours such as health emergencies

Focus Group Participants:
Lt Gil Tomeldan - Grossmont College, Public Safety
Rick Michelson - Grossmont College, Administration of Justice
Michelle Cuzzo - Grossmont College, Disabled Student Programs and Services
Deborah Collin - Disability/Teacher Advocate
Kevin Collin - Blind/Disability Services Advocate
Geralynn Reyes - San Diego Community College District, Placement Officer
Nancy Herzfeld-Pipkin - Grossmont College, English-as-a-Second Language
Cynthia Davis - Grossmont College, Special Population Coordinator
Kim Danielson - Grossmont College, Administration of Justice

Focus Group Leaders:
Susan Madison, Consultant
Peter Mirche, Grossmont College Instructor

Developed and published under contract 01-007-003 with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, State of California. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this work, in whole or part, for classroom or curriculum use only. This work is exclusively the product of the Statewide Special Project Collaborative in Public Safety Occupations operated by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and does not necessarily reflect the policy of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. This project is being implemented in association with the Statewide Advisory Committee on Public Safety Education.

  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District