Basic Skills Initiative

The State defines "Basic Skills" as "those foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, learning skills, study skills and English as a Second Language which are necessary for students to succeed in college level work."

The State Chancellors' Office defines and aligns its BSI funding specific to students in 300 level courses of English, Math, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Reading.


The mission of Saddleback College’s Basic Skills Initiative is to explore, identify, and address the needs of basic skills students. BSI funding allocations directly support a coordinated expansion of academic and student support services that will facilitate the successful transition of basic skills students into college-level coursework.

Approved as of January 29th 2015: BSI Mission and Core Values

BSI Co-Chairs for 2016 - 2017

Co-Chair: Marina Aminy, Dean OELR                                
Email Address:

Co-Chair: Michelle Duffy, Reading Instructor
Email Address:


BSI Administrative Support

Administrative Support:  Christie Smead
Office Location: LRC220
Telephone Extension: (949) 348-6084
Email Address:


BSI Project Information

Additional Funding Sources: Student Equity and DSPS can and will be used to augment BSI projects that align with their criteria.

Statewide Basic Skills Report: Due on August 30, 2016

Saddleback College Statistics


BSI Meeting Dates/Highlights for 2016 - 2017

BSI Meeting Dates for 2016-2017 will be held in LRC 337 (unless otherwise stated) from 3 pm to 4:30 pm and are as follows:

Meeting Dates for Fall 2016

  • Monday, August 15 - First Meeting of the 16/17 academic year; open to all faculty
  • Thursday, September 15 - Regular Committee Mtg.
  • Thursday, October 13 - Regular Committee Mtg.
  • Thursday, November 10 - Regular Committee Mtg.
  • December - Happy Holidays (No Meeting.)

Meeting Dates for Spring 2017

  • Thursday, February 9 - Regular Committee Mtg.Location to be confirmed
  • Thursday, March 9 - Regular Committee Mtg. Location to be confirmed
  • Thursday, April 13 - Regular Committee Mtg. Location to be confirmed

BSI Resources

BSI Committee Members for 2016 - 2017

Marina Aminy, OELR Janet Bagwell, LA Jack Beckham, LA
Estella Castillo-Garrison, CE, E & K12 Sheryl Christensen, Counseling Michelle Duffy, LA
Carrie Goulding, LA Catherine Hayter, LA Christina Hinkle, OELR
Michael Hoggatt, TC & SP Leslie Humphrey-Quirk, Outreach Sumaya McCleave, MS&E
Julie McGirr, LA Kevin O'Connor, LA Maria Teresa Romero, SBS
Penny Skaff, CS Cora Swanson, OELR Lisa Tran, CS
Deanna Valdez, MS&E Cadence Wynter, SBS  

Pertinent Reading Materials for Basic Skills

Basic Skills Completion

A Guide to Transforming Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges, Inside and Outside the Classroom.

Saddleback College - Five Year Cycle - BSI Student Success and Retention Rates

Basic Skills Student Support and Resources

California Community College Chancellor's Office - Basic Skills Progress Tracker


BSI Goals for 2011 - 2016

Saddleback College BSI is committed to the following goals:

  • COURSES/SLO’s:  Support  Basic Skills departments such as Reading, ESL, English and Math to improve the success rates of SLO’s in Basic Skills courses, including evaluating, assessing and revising course curriculum and offerings. 


  • FACULTY:  Support faculty and content area experts to develop innovative programs and curriculum within departments to improve learning and retention among Basic Skills students.


  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:  Provide professional development to all faculty and classified staff working with Basic Skills students, with opportunities to improve teaching, learning, support services, retention and other strategies for success based on good practices and current theories for learning.


  • CROSS-DEPARTMENTAL COLLABORATION:  Facilitate collaboration between departments to improve support services, retention and success for Basic Skills students.


  • INSTITUTIONAL COLLABORATION:  Foster greater collaboration and alignment between administrative/service departments (matriculation, counseling, tutoring labs, etc.) and academic departments to insure greater consistency, retention and success for Basic Skills students.


  • SUPPORT SERVICES:  Survey and evaluate current support services for Basic Skills students (such as tutoring, placement, matriculation, transfer, etc.) to determine:  effectiveness, need for restructuring  and/or need for additional services

BSI Projects

Total BSI Allocation for 2016 - 2017 is projected to be $210,242
Allocations include related payroll benefits

BSI Projects for 2016 - 2017

Project Coordinator Approved Total

Comprehension Lab Contracts & Assignments for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Teri Fitz-Maurice and Denise Greeen $8,682.00

ESL Certificates SLO Alignment and Exit Exam Creation

Julie McGirr 8,000.00

PLC High School Student Success Visits

Catherine Hayter, Dawn Lewis, and Jake Williams 16,279.00

Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Developmental Writing

Carrie Goulding and Catherine Hayter 15,840.00
Saddleback College Teaching and Learning Institute Michelle Duffy, Catherine Hayter, and Claire Cesareo 30,527.00
BSI Co-Chair Michelle Duffy 8,882.00
Basic Skills Tutoring Christina Hinkle 85,000.00
DLA Project Christina Hinkle 18,062.00
ENG 390 Instructor Orientation and Training Carrie Goulding 18,970.00
  Total $210,242.00


BSI Action Plans - Projects for 2016 - 2017

Please note that all BSI Project Coordinators will be expected to complete and submit an action plan by September 9, 2016

Project Name

Action Plans

Comprehension Lab Contracts & Assignments for the Social & Behavioral Sciences

Develop a series of lab contract/assignments designed to target
discipline specific comprehension activities that will improve students'
understanding, organizing and assimilating knowledge in the social and
behavioral sciences content areas.

ESL Certificates SLO Alignment and Exit Exam Creation

Fall 2016:
1. Create five ESL Certificates of Competency: Beginning, Low-
Intermediate, High Intermediate, Advanced General, Advanced Academic.
2. Create SLOs for the 5 ESL Certificates. SLOs will reflect current ESL
course and program SLOs in terms that will clearly explain the English
language skills that a recipient of each certificate is expected to be able to demonstrate.
3. Submit Certificates to curriculum and state for approval.
Spring 2017:
Create exit exams for each ESL certificate.

PLC High School Students Success Visits

Fall 2016:
Review faculty orientation training materials and make necessary revisions to reflect new program content and ensure effectiveness/communication; 2) schedule an orientation for English faculty in the spring.
Spring 2017:
Presentations by English faculty and Outreach will begin. We will resume formal PLC meetings with college faculty, high school faculty, and Outreach to continue

Research Based Strategies for Teaching Developmental Writing


Work collaboratively with associate faculty to research and synthesize current theories and best practices in teaching developmental writing, using the text, Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings;
Collaboratively generate sample practices and lesson plans; Present research and sample strategies and lesson plans to faculty and
tutors and generate pedagogical resources that can be used to address the needs of developing writers.

Saddleback College Teaching and Learning Institute


Provide quality, on-campus professional development;
Provide opportunities for faculty across campus to meet and share work; Discuss high engagement teaching strategies for student support and retention;
Exchange effective and innovative teaching resources and ideas; Implementation of “best practices” techniques with opportunity for sharing and reflection.




Tools for Learning

Tools to support Learning Skills.

General Learning Skills

Online Tools Descriptions

Study Skills for Student Success


Here you will find tools to help make your textbook work for you, how to use a dictionary and more.
Various Study Techniques A variety of different study techniques that aide learning.
Effective Study Techniques Learn the SQR3 method for studying.
Time Management Learn effective ways to best organize time for studying.
Memorization Techniques Learn effective way to memorize class material.
Test Preparation Tools Tools to help prepare for tests.
How to Get the Most Out of Studying A video about how to get the most out of studying.
Khan Academy Learn almost anything.


English Learning Skills

English Tools Description
Writing a Research Paper Helpful tips for writing research papers. Using BSI funds, one of our English faculty members created a suite of short videos (2-4 minutes) that address common mistakes in student writing as well as potential strategies for success.  Our students enjoy these videos because they are brief and entertaining. Please feel free to utilize these videos in your courses and with your students. 


Math Learning Skills

Math Tools Description
Math Exam Prep Information about preparing for Math Exams.
Algebra2go Instructor Larry Perez's website with helpful Algebra tips.
Success in Math Helpful Math study skills.


Are you looking for ways to support your students’ basic skills in the classroom and across curriculum? Using BSI funds, one of our English faculty members created a suite of short videos (2-4 minutes) that address common mistakes in student writing as well as potential strategies for success.  Our students enjoy these videos because they are brief and entertaining.


  • During class for an engaging and targeted explanation of basic skills
  • In Blackboard course shells to provide 24-hour access to lessons and remediation
  • As a tool or supplement when providing feedback on-site or on line

Please feel free to utilize these videos in your courses and with your students.

Embedded links to the videos can be found here:

The videos can be played from this webpage, or you can copy individual links from YouTube.