Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New name reflects services of continuing-ed program

Johnson County Adult Education one of many programs in area

July 23, 2008

For people preparing to take the General Educational Development test, Project Finish has been more than just a resource.

This month, in the program's 25th year, its name was changed to reflect its greater mission. Now called Johnson County Adult Education, the joint program of the Johnson County Library and Johnson County Community College offers classes in English as a second language, citizenship, adult literacy, parenting, and life skills, as well as reading, writing and math class within its Adult Basic Education program.

It's one of a number of continuing education programs across the region.

GED preparation remains an important part of the Johnson County Adult Education program, said Paula McLaughlin, program assistant. But the new name reflects its mission to give adults more opportunities through education.

"It implies Project Finish was the end goal when actually it's a door to the future," she said.

Classes are free, although a $25 material fee is required of those enrolling for GED preparation or Adult Basic Education, McCoughlin said. Students are required to take eight hours of class per week, she said.

The program attempts to keep classes small so students can get individual attention from teachers who also act as counselors, McLaughlin said. But she said students were turned down because of class size.

"We have several locations," she said. "If we have more students, we'll add additional classrooms."

The program will open its eighth site at Johnson County Community College's West Park Center, 8780 W. 87th St. It will make available 20 classrooms for daytime and nighttime ESL and GED classes.

More than 150 volunteers help the program realize the goal of personalized instruction, McLaughlin said.

"Volunteers are a huge part of the program," she said. "We have retired teachers, retired business people - anyone over 18 with an interest and willing to attend the workshops. We have volunteers who have been here 20 years."

The numbers show the program works. Seventy-five percent of its students improved their English, math or listening skills on national standardized assessments.

In its first 25 years, the program served more than 40,000 students, McCabe said. Its popularity continues to grow with the program enrollment growing 5 percent in 2007-2008.

For more information on Johnson County Adult Education courses or to volunteer as a tutor, call Susan McCabe at (913) 829-8742.

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