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Back to School for Adult Learners

Contributions from Dr. Carole Bausell, Director of Academic and Student Affairs; Kate Chu, Student Records Coordinator; Xavier Muñoz, Faculty Support Manager; and Melissa Rea, Academic Operations Manager

We have had an excellent student turn out this fall at LCNV.  More than one hundred additional students signed up for our Beginning English classes this fall as compared to last fall.  Our Family Learning Program also showed an increase in numbers.  We currently have well over 500 learners enrolled in our classroom programs. 

With such large numbers of learners, registrations were very busy — and thanks to our staff and dedicated volunteers — very successful.  Volunteer Assessment Specialists trained in the BEST Plus oral exam came out in droves to help us properly place students at accurate learning levels into the classrooms. Others, working as “Floaters,” helped students with their paperwork and directed the flow of traffic.  This new volunteer position has proven to be most helpful. In fact, the assessment and floater roles are so compatible that we encourage those who serve as assessors to consider also serving as floaters, and vice versa. Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do it all. 

In total, more than 300 instructors serve our adult learners through classes, supplemental tutoring and designated tutoring. More than 100 assist in classes where we strive to meet the needs of all of our learners through instructional teams. Twenty-six of these instructors came out of the September Instructor Training workshop.

The class aide-teacher dynamic is critical to maximizing learning opportunities. Class aides, when most effective, are often working one-on-one with those learners in need of extra assistance. They are teaching small, break-out groups. They are modeling activities with the teacher to explain instructions. They are noting the activities and materials that work for individual learners, in turn, helping teachers reflect on one class and plan for the next. These teaching teams are made possible with the growing number of volunteers signing up to help.

Also this fall, LCNV added some new classes to its course catalogue.  We now offer the skills-based Writing Class and the free evening Conversation Class that complements our long-standing and highly successful morning Conversation Class. 

We have also added support services to LCNV’s academic program, including supplemental tutoring and student advising.  The Supplemental Tutoring service provides an opportunity for students to meet in pairs or small groups with tutors to supplement their classroom learning.  They typically meet for an hour before or after class.  Both adult learners and tutors are responding to the new program with great enthusiasm and dedication.  The learners like the small group setting to ask their questions, and the tutors enjoy working simultaneously with students of various backgrounds. 

In LCNV’s Student Advising service, advisors work with students on a one-to-one basis.  The advisor’s primary role is to facilitate students’ defining their own academic and workforce pathways, and choosing the language and literacy courses they will need to successfully complete those pathways. The advisor also helps motivate students to pursue their educational and vocational goals. Research suggests that when learners engage with a school or program beyond the classroom through an advisor-type relationship, program retention improves and students are more likely to reach their goals. LCNV supplies advisors with resource materials to assist in making referrals both inside and outside LCNV. We have currently trained five volunteers to serve in this capacity. It is our hope that Student Advising will provide the necessary support for students to bring their dreams to fruition.

We are currently piloting Student Advising with level 3 students at the James Lee Community Center.  These students appreciate this support as they prepare to exit LCNV and move on to pursue their next educational or work-related goal. 

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