VGCC Redesigns Basic Skills Education To Help Students On Road to Success
Everyone knows there are many people out of work in this area – people who spent 10 to 30 years on production lines and many who have dropped out of school. They don’t have the basic educational skills to get meaningful employment in this technical, highly competitive age.
Vance-Granville Community College has redesigned its Basic Skills training to meet the needs of all these students. They call it a “school-within-a-school” concept, according to Leo Kelly Jr., VGCC dean of Adult Basic Education.
Persons now working toward GEDs or Adult High School Diplomas may now take classes in math, English and language arts/writing. “These are designed for those who need more structure in learning and who need to interact with other students with similar needs,” said Sue Grissom, VGCC director of Basic Skills.
In the past, students worked at their own pace, and that method is still available for those who only need to brush up on their learning skills, Grissom added.
Incoming students are assessed and their needs are determined before directing them toward the proper type of instruction, Grissom said. “We believe this new system will make them more ready to test when they come to that point,” she added. “We’ve had good results so far, and the reaction of students has been very positive.”
Gov. Michael Easley proclaimed September as Literacy Month in North Carolina, and he said that 50 percent of the state’s adults do not possess the necessary skills and reading levels for a high school diploma. As a result, they have difficulty securing livable wages, caring for their families and obtaining adequate health care, the proclamation said.
North Carolina’s community colleges are at the forefront for providing these basic skills, Easley said. More than 10,000 people earned adult high school credentials through community colleges last year, as well as thousands more participating in literacy programs such as English as a Second Language and others.
During the 2004-2005 school year, Vance-Granville Community College had 2,679 students enrolled in literacy programs. Those programs have been very successful. Last year, VGCC ranked third in the state in the number of students earning GEDs, and also third in the total number getting GEDs and Adult High School Diplomas. The only community colleges with more literacy program graduates were in the municipal areas of Raleigh and Charlotte.
“Everyone in our department works together to make our programs successful for our students,” Kelly said. Roberta Scott, who heads the Adult High School program, said, “Students need much more than instruction.” She offered as proof a 19 year-old graduate of her program who is currently serving in the Army. She said he wrote and thanked the VGCC literacy staff for being his family and nurturing him throughout his studies.
The Adult High School Diploma program is for students of any age who dropped out of high school needing the appropriate number of credits to graduate. Upon completing those credits, they earn a high school diploma.
The General Education Equivalent (GED) measures a person’s mastery of skills and knowledge in writing, social studies, science, reading and math. After passing exams in those five areas, the successful student receives a High School Diploma Equivalency.
Adult Basic Skills training prepares those who have skills below eighth grade level for entry into the GED or Adult High School classes.
All these programs, as well as English as a Second Language, for those who speak a language other than English, and Compensatory Education, for persons who suffer from some level of developmental delay, are provided free of charge by VGCC.
VGCC offers Adult Basic Education classes at all four of its campuses in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties. There are also community sites in schools, churches and government offices in Henderson, Oxford, Franklinton and Norlina, and one industry in Norlina. Compensatory education classes are held at the Franklin County Campus in Louisburg and at First Presbyterian Church in Henderson.
In addition, extensive literacy training is offered at correctional facilities in the four-county area served by Vance-Granville Community College and at the Kittrell Job Corps.
The North Carolina Community College System has named its campaign to provide basic skills education to all the state’s citizens who need it “Race 4 Literacy.” Those who wish to enter the race and prepare for a brighter future may contact the Adult Basic Education office at Vance-Granville at (252) 492-2061 for information on the program that best suits their needs.