Adult Education Innovations
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Adult Learner Success Stories
Karen is a single parent raising three children (one is autistic) on a waitress/server paycheck. Karen works her shift during the day, walks home (which is quite a distance) to change clothes, and walks two to three more miles to the public library where the high school equivalency class is held. She does this twice a week in scorching hot temperatures or on cold & rainy days. Karen would have finished testing earlier but wasn’t able to test because of her financial responsibility to her family.
Karen is self-driven and highly motivated, regardless of family or financial hardships. She has a positive outlook on life, always giving a kind word or advice to her fellow students. Throughout this school year, Karen has studied and prepared herself to take one GED® test at a time, sometimes walking a couple of miles or riding her bike to the testing site. Karen shared that she arrived in time for the test thirsty, tired, hungry, or with a headache from the South Texas heat, but she focused on reading and passing each test. Karen passed all her tests to receive a GED® certificate and scored in the college ready range, all while being a limited English speaking student.
Karen attributes success to the services she received such as feeling comfortable with her instructor, her flexible schedule, and the reassurance from the instructor she had the capacity and skills needed to succeed. She plans to continue postsecondary education in occupational therapy or psychology. Karen states, “sometimes as adults we have the fear to fail because we think we should already know everything, but in this program, we are given the motivation to persevere—it gives hope back.”
Essential Skills on the Go
Teresa, an immigrant from Mexico, had both a strong desire and a sincere need to learn English. However, as a mother of two growing children, she worked long hours at a laundromat where her ever-changing schedule made it impossible to attend classes regularly. She began working as a janitor for the Leander School District, but with such a hectic schedule and a long commute, she still could not attend classes regularly enough to enjoy any real progress with her English ability.
Cell-Ed, an over-the-phone English program, was offered to Teresa (and working parents just like her) through the nonprofit Community Action of Texas, in partnership with the Leander SD. Cell-Ed is a multi-level, automated English course focusing on real-life dialogues, situations, phrases, and grammar that is accessible 24 hours a day by any mobile phone. Teresa began studying immediately, citing that the self-paced, always-accessible course was exactly what she needed. She dove in head-first, completing lesson after lesson. She stated that the course felt as though it was designed just for her, covering topics that she could easily relate to. She even began encouraging people in her life to start learning English with Cell-Ed!
Leander School District made an offer to all the janitors that if they could attend one class per week and study regularly with Cell-Ed on their own time, their resume would be put at the top of the list for a lead staff position. Teresa nervously accepted the challenge and studied even more rigorously than before. In a short time, she was interviewed (in all English) and was offered the job! Thanks to her determination and the always-accessible Cell-Ed, Teresa enjoys stable hours and higher pay.
State Innovation Stories
Tarrant County College Transitions
Tarrant County College, Texas
One challenge that the Tarrant County College District has experienced is our High School Equivalency/GED® graduates and our English as a second language (ESL) students were falling through the cracks as they attempted to move from community and industry education to the undergraduate side of the college. We discovered they were applying to be fully admitted to college but not enrolling. The students were getting overwhelmed with taking the next step.
As a solution, the Adult Basic Education College Transitions courses were developed by the Tarrant County College Workforce Services staff. Originally developed in 2012 and located at the TCC Opportunity Center, the courses are now offered on multiple TCC campuses on a rotating basis. The target population for these courses is a combination of recent HSE/GED® completers and advanced ESL students. Topics include but are not limited to: motivation, information about degree and certificate programs, time management tips, campus tours, and guest speakers. College readiness academic advisors work closely with the students and ABE professors to co-teach the courses and assist students with the college admissions process.
As a result of this multi-campus team effort, our students are completing the college admissions process in greater numbers. Our students have obtained Forklift Certifications, completed the Call Center Training Program, and enrolled in the Office Careers Program, as well as numerous degree-seeking programs.
“I took the Transitions class. Team building, motivation, goal setting, advising, listening/note-taking, and time management were the topics we covered. I really enjoyed the class and Professor Wolford was great. She made the class fun & interesting. As a result, I took the Forklift Training class. I got my forklift certification in one day! I want to thank Professor Wolford & Ms. Elaine Caraway for helping me. I want to thank Dr. Karnice Caraway for encouraging me to attend the class while taking her high school equivalency class. I have built more confidence in myself. Now I know I will succeed.”David Castruita
“I have never needed a GED® diploma to obtain a job, but I was haunted by the thought that I would need my GED® credential. I started taking classes. My professors, Jalon Harris & Sharee Davis, fed my drive to achieve my goal. Math was a challenge for me, but I took the test and passed! I realized it was all in my mind. I presented my employer with the certificate they required in order to start my next chapter. My vision is to start a childcare consultant business and open centers across Texas. In July, I will begin my studies in child development at TCC. I ultimately want to earn a doctorate in child psychology. I did it and you can too!”Regina M. Davis
“I just want to thank Tarrant County College Workforce Services, TCC South Campus, Dr. Karnice Caraway, Ms. Elaine Caraway, Ms. Tresa Wolford, Ms. Sharee Davis and all the rest of the ladies that are involved in the 8-week Transitions course. They taught me how to transition from getting my GED® certificate to starting college. The class taught me how to take notes and how to use a daily planner. They taught me how to be motivated and keep moving on with my life. They made me feel like I was one of their family members. Lastly, they taught me to believe in myself again and to not give up.”Cassandra Williams