State funded program determined to improve literacy

Home Features State funded program determined to improve literacy

Kristen Bailey

Published: April 12, 2006

The Adult Base Education  program is opening doors for students in pursuit of a higher education.

The program allows students to attend free classes, with flexible course schedules, in order to obtain their GED or a state issued diploma. Additionally, the ABE program provides classes for students who are learning English as a second language.

District Department Head Carolyn Formsma explained how the program is catered to each student’s individual needs.

“Our program is learning centered. We base their academic plan on their TABE scores.”

The TABE, or Test of Adult Base Education is administered upon enrollment in the program in order to reveal a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses.

“We can get a pretty accurate grade equivalency from the TABE,” Formsma said.

Professor Sharmayne White explains how the classroom experience is molded to the student’s needs.

“We do small groups, or peer groups according to each level. We put a table of students at their own level. It is similar to Adult High, only it has all subjects.”

The program caters to financial needs as well as academic.

According to Formsma, the Florida Legislature is determined to improve literacy skills; therefore the ABE program is funded by the state, allowing students to attend without tuition costs.

Classes are offered on flexible schedules, as a large portion of the ABE students are already out in the work field.

“We structure our classes (to be) three to four hours a day with different subjects at different times,” White said.

“We may do reading for the first few minutes and then take a break. And then do math.”

The potential of pursuing higher education attracts young and old alike.

Students under 18 may apply for the program if they provide a letter of permission or age waiver from their school district.

According to White, the classes help out older students as well.

“We do class enhancement also. People who have been out of school for 20 years can brush up some. I teach people who need to remediate because they’ve been out of school so long.”

No matter the situation, the ABE program certainly provides crucial opportunities for students of all ages.

“It’s an open door,” Formsma said.

Opening a door that people thought they’d closed a long time ago. And it is a safety net for younger students who for one reason or another didn’t make it in the public schools.

Professor White agrees.

“I do encourage it because the reward is great. It motivates the students and increases self esteem. And motivates them to entire other career objectives.”

Because of all of the program’s benefits, Formsma hopes that students will advertise by word of mouth. Due to all of the program’s benefits, Formsma hopes that students will advertise by word of mouth.

“Most of the students know someone who needs this. They can get the word out that we’re here, we’re free, and we work.”

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