Adult Education Innovations
State Reports on Adult Education
Brevard Public Schools Adult and Community Education
A need for Adult Education and Family Enrichment Services was determined by Brevard Public Schools Office of Adult and Community Education and the non-profit organization, My Community Cares, Inc. Leaders of both organizations found a high number of adults that had withdrawn from high school prior to earning a diploma. Many, but not all, of the adults, are women who have children, and they wish to pursue their GED. These adults are highly motivated but need specific targeted support, such as child care. A summer family literacy program was designed to meet the needs of both adult and child family members–the goals of the Family Enrichment Program are:
- to help parents improve their literacy or basic educational skills, particularly to attain a GED
- to better enable parents and family members to support the learning needs of their children
- to assist children in reaching their full potential as learners
Two major challenges for these working adults was to have transportation to adult basic education classes and to have child care during the class times. A family literacy program located at a public school facility in their community during evening hours, with provisions to actively engage the children in the program, was the key in meeting everyone’s needs. Family literacy programs create an enjoyable win-win situation for all members of the family.
Brevard’s family literacy program was designed to be a summer program with three main components. The Adult Basic Education Reading/Literacy course teaches adults skills and content necessary to become fully literate adults. The Adult Basic Education Mathematics course prepares adult students to be successful workers and citizens, improving their math skills, as they prepare to work toward attaining a GED. The Family Literacy classes are aimed to better enable parents and family members to support the learning needs of their children, and to assist children in reaching their full potential as learners, especially when children are faced with the potential loss of achievement over the summer months (AKA “summer slide”). A major component of the family literacy classes was the use of Write Brain Books! which is a reading and writing curricula that is flexible and engaging for learners of all ages. Write Brain Books! is a standards-aligned literacy course in the art of children’s book authoring. Carefully-planned and well-sequenced lessons lead children, families and community members through the writing process, including important elements such as character, plot, themes, setting, storyline, and editing. Ultimately, students write thoughtfully crafted storybooks, which are published in the process. This curriculum can be adapted and used to suit all ages and ability levels, and also tailored to fit in the time schedule allotted. Another important element was the leadership of highly qualified and experienced teachers. A team of teachers with expertise in elementary education, adult education, and school leadership was trained in the use of Write Brain Books! The team then implemented all elements of the program to ensured successful completion.
Brevard’s Family Literacy Project was a success on many fronts:
- During the summer break from traditional school, this program created a safe, friendly, nurturing environment that was both fun and respectful of the learning environment. It utilized an existing public school facility that was centrally located in the community and accessible for many families.
- A compelling academic focus clearly emerged as a central core that united family and community values.
- Strong relationships facilitated collaboration and support. Four Write Brain Books were written and published by family and community groups. Family members also attend the ABE classes at the facility.
- Quality preparation and instruction was revealed, culminating in the publication of several original children’s books.
- A celebration of success is planned for all who participated in the program. The published books will be showcased and read aloud at a back-to-school event in the fall. Children and parents will celebrate the success of their summer endeavors as the new school year convenes.
- Adult family members who participated in the summer program are continuing their fall attendance in adult education classes, taking the next step toward the attainment of their GED.
Brevard Adult Education and CareerSource Brevard Partnership
Brevard Adult Education (BAE) students invest lots of time into earning their GED, but that is only half of the battle when it comes to life after completion. Students have to consider their future career interests, potential additional training and the career pathways involved.
A partnership has been formed between BAE and CareerSource Brevard (CSB) to help students nearing completion of their GED navigate the next steps into their career. To create a seamless transition for the customer, the two organizations have developed short-term continuing education certificate programs. The programs create career pathways, provide students with hands-on experience and bridge the gap between obtaining a GED and gaining employment. In 2017, CSB sponsored four students for the Certified Production Technician course. Short-term continuing education certificate programs are available to students who are enrolled with BAE, as well as students active in the CSB caseload.
As a result, our customers are served under a seamless transition. They learn how to put their GED and skills to use and navigate new employment. As of fall 2017, BAE, with the support of CSB, will be providing an array of short-term continuing education certificate programs including; OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Training, Microsoft Office Specialist Certification, Automotive Services Technology, Retail Training and Certification and Food Handler Training.
“To live fully in the United States I need to know about other customs, languages, and people from all around the world. I learn these things in my class and at my school. With time, I hope to be able to communicate clearly in English. The truth is, I was not interested in learning English at my age, but now that has changed. I thank my teacher for her patience, great support, and encouragement.”Gloria Campuzano
“Since I came to this country I have been studying English at school, which helps me a lot in my pronunciation. I feel more confident when I speak. I can communicate better now. I remember when I first arrived here, I spoke with American people and they didn’t understand me. I would like to say THANKS for this ESOL program—thanks to the government and thanks to the teachers. It is an excellent program that can help everybody because it’s very affordable. The most important part of the program is that it provides high-quality ways to teach English: technology, videos, movies, and games. I love this teaching method because it helps me enjoy learning English. This program helps immigrants achieve their dreams for a better life.”Laura Zambrano
“Hello, Constance Atkinson. My name is Robert Alcala. I used to be one of your students here at the GED® prep program a couple of years ago. I want to thank you because you were the first great teacher I had. I have one more semester in the fall. Then I’ll graduate with my AA, and I’m transferring to FIU. I’m extremely thankful for your existence as it helped my life profoundly. You’re a great human being overall. Because of your patience, great attitude, humor, and especially, because you believed in me, I am able to pursue my dreams in accounting. Thank you so much!”Robert Alcala