Archive: March 2011
Vision Statement [Massabesic Center for Adult Learning]
As a result of participating in the Leadership Excellence Academy, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education, MCAL staff have developed a vision statement for the program.
It is, "Dedicated to supporting your learning needs."
by Deborah Whitehouse
on March 25, 2011
Stephanie is a student in our family literacy program working towards the completion of her High School Diploma. Here is her story in her own words.
Wiscasset Adult Education has opened up a world of opportunities to me. I am a single mother who left a situation where I couldn’t finish my education. Moving here from Illinois I had no friends or any family for 2000+ miles. I came with two important goals. My first one is finishing my high school diploma, which had been put off for several years. My second goal is to create a better life for my son.
I was referred to the local high school for the Wiscasset Adult Education program where I met Anne. She was very insightful and caring when it came to my needs and wants. She took time to listen to everything I had to say. I have been enrolled for over a year now and have accomplished much more than I could have ever imagined. I started in the Family Literacy Program which helped strengthen my math skills and do some fun activities with my son. I am currently attending Learning Center which is helping me work towards the credits I need in English to achieve my high school diploma. The small group and one-on-one setting have helped me address my dyslexia and move forward quickly towards my educational goals.
The staff here at Wiscasset Adult Ed is very helpful. They are such a lovely group of people. I have never felt judged in any way. I have dyslexia which makes a lot of my school and home life tasks difficult to accomplish. The instructors I have come across in the year I have been here have been unbelievably helpful and show a lot of interest in my learning needs. Overall, this has been an excellent life experience. It has made me feel more confident in my work, schooling and everyday life. My self esteem has risen. I have become more social and have been able to meet new people and make friends. I am glad and feel very lucky I found this program when I did. I would not think twice about referring anyone in need of bettering themselves and their education to Wiscasset Adult Ed. A huge thanks to everyone involved in the program. I appreciate everything you have done for me. My dream is to eventually go on to college and pursue a degree in Massage Therapy.
by Anne Fensie
on March 24, 2011
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This is a great article that one of our students wrote for the upcoming April edition of The Learning Link.
I graduated from Cony High School in 1977 and attended one year of college at UMA before I dropped out to go to work in a factory in Gardiner making children’s clothing. At that time, there were no scholarships or financial aid; there weren’t even night classes, and I had to work for a living. The money was great at the factory. I already knew how to sew, so I felt comfortable with the work I had to do. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I didn’t want to stay at the factory for the rest of my life. Down the road, I eventually got married and had two beautiful, adorable daughters. I’ve always been interested in education; I like to know things. I read a lot. All those years, I wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t think any college would take me, because it had been so many years.
Melinda Gilman, Wiscasset Adult Ed’s College and Career Counselor, told me I could come to classes at Adult Ed even though I had graduated from high school. She said they would be able to help me to refresh all those things I had learned many years ago when I was younger. I was absolutely shocked that somebody that had graduated from high school could take classes at Adult Ed and prepare to go to college for free. I didn’t know such a program existed.
So I came and I tried it. I kept coming because it was really fun. We actually laugh a lot, in class; it’s really relaxed and everyone is encouraged to ask questions. I really like my fellow students; people are here because they want to learn. Everyone helps each other out by sharing ideas and strategies of what’s worked for them in learning a new concept or skill. And the teachers are not evil! They actually want you to succeed; they answer your questions before you even ask them. They break difficult concepts down into easy little steps, and they don’t ever assume you already know more than you do. They’re here to teach you at whatever level you are currently, at whatever pace you want to go. Most importantly, the atmosphere is kind and loving…with little stress and good food!
I personally think everyone should come back to school, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and so is a life! My goal down the road is to irritate others as much as possible by encouraging everyone I come in contact with to go for it and do what you really want to do with your life. It’s not too late! I read recently that a 92 year old woman had graduated from college with honors. She had dropped out of school to support her family when she was a young woman, and she decided to go back to school in her late eighties and get an education…
If she can do it, we all can!
by Anne Fensie
on March 20, 2011
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A message from the Director:
What do you know about adult education? What can adult ed do for you? I often hear people say, "Wow, I didn't realize adult ed did so much!" So, let me tell you a little about what exactly it is that we do. I will explain why we need adult ed, and why we need it now.
Maine Adult Education programs offer services in five areas: literacy, high school completion, college transitions, business and skills training, and personal enrichment. We work with learners from a variety of backgrounds, from all ages, and all skill levels. We work with the full spectrum of humanity. Our mission is to work together to ensure a community of fluent learners, critical thinkers, and creative contributors to our society.
What ultimately makes adult education so unique is the people, both the staff and the students. The staff are passionate about making a difference and truly love what they do. Meet Dawn Wheeler on page 18 of The Learning Link to hear just how much. Equally inspiring are the students who genuinely want to learn. Many have surmounted serious challenges just to get to class.
So, why adult ed, and why now?
- Perhaps you know someone who struggles to read, and is too embarrassed to seek help. Literacy is essential to quality of life in so many ways, so I encourage you to bring them in with you so we can get them started on an educational plan.
- Maybe you never liked school, or had some kind of interruption in your education that kept you from graduating from high school. We offer a variety of opportunities for gaining the skills and credits to earn either a High School Diploma or pass the GED® tests. I promise that we can make you comfortable, even in a school setting. Read Stephanie’s story on page 21 of The Learning Link for some inspiration.
- Our country has been experiencing an exponential shift in the demographics: the baby boomers are the first generation to have a higher level of educational attainment and longer life expectancy than their children. This means that it has never been more urgent that we begin transitioning adults ages 18 - 55 into the college pipeline. Maine Adult Education College and Career Pathways addresses this very need. Meet Sylvia on page 16 of The Learning Link.
- While college is an essential for many, others may need to learn a targeted skill to retain their job or earn a certification to re-enter employment. You will find many affordable options as you explore this site.
- Finally, with the stresses of our day, we can’t forget to be human. We can’t forget to take care of our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. Our personal enrichment offerings are so diverse that you are sure to find just the right way to take care of you.
There has never been a better time for you to improve your education. Adult education offers a wide variety of programs to assist you at each stage of your life. I hope you will take advantage.
Warmest Regards, Anne Fensie
Director, Wiscasset Adult & Community Education
by Anne Fensie
on March 19, 2011
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We have three new English language learners who are waiting anxiously to begin tutoring. If you have teaching experience and have at least 3 hours per week to volunteer, we would love to hear from you. Please call us at 222-1095.
Expectations for Tutors of English Language Learners
For Students’ Success:
Take time to get to know your student. With a better understanding of her experiences and hopes and dreams, you will be able to tailor your work to fit your student’s individual needs and goals.
Intensity and frequency of instruction is a key element for student progress. A minimum of two, 1.5 hour sessions per week is recommended. Also recommended is that you communicate once during the week with your student via e-mail.
Help students set small, attainable goals that enable them to see their progress.
Prepare lesson plans for each meeting that include activities that promote speaking, listening, writing and reading.
Provide homework assignments that are connected to class work
Help each student develop a portfolio of his work. Portfolios are a concrete way for students to see their progress. They also provide a summary of their work for program records.
Maintain an accurate record of time spent with tutor. We are required to submit hours to the State of Maine quarterly.
For Your Success:
Attend Tutor Orientation. Orientation will provide suggestions for establishing your relationship with your student; introduce you to available instructional materials and other resources as well as suggestions for lesson planning.
Participate in periodic training that focuses of specific teaching strategies and give you an opportunity to discuss your successes and teaching roadblocks.
Participate in periodic observations. These visits are designed to give you new strategies for supporting your student.
by Kate Rotroff
on March 7, 2011