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I teach for District 11 in
Colorado Springs. Our program barriers are probably similar to
other Adult Education program barriers. Assigning classes and
schedules that fit with ‘the student’s family and work needs’ can be
challenging. Helping students get past the bureaucracy and any
negative attitudes about school or self needs to be a goal. If
these barriers are not addressed, the student may drop out.
1. Program Population:
Our program serves all levels: 0 to 12.9+ 16 years of age and
We offer Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Adult Secondary Education
(ASE) classes at my site.
2. Positive Retention
Practices in place for our students:
spoke with my program director to identify our retention practices.
I suggested our flexibility with student’s family and work
schedules… and our flexibility with changing classes that aren’t
meeting student’s needs. For students that have proven their
commitment to coming to school, we are able to help with ‘some’ book
or school fees which addresses the money barrier. We also try to
call students if we don’t hear from them when they are absent to let
them know we really do care about them.
director thought our “tighter attendance policy this year had
helped”. Students that really commit to staying… do… and those that
don’t… leave(maybe before 12 hours). I guess on paper, it looks
like a higher percentage was retained. I’m not sure how that works
because I thought once they enrolled they showed up on the record.
We do other things, too. We try to be pleasant, approachable, and
3. My own student
population is about to change. In the past I have taught
mostly ASE. Next year, I will have mostly ABE plus a pre-ASE
reading and math. I thought I might try the following NEW practices
to help increase retention:
give a questionnaire to identify some of the cultures they bring
with them so I can make it easier for them to learn and stay
motivated. Hopefully, once hooked on learning .. it will become a
make a real effort to help them define/write their goals in ways
that they think are reachable; help them experience success. I have
a poster in my room that says: “Your teacher’s goal is simple….to
help you reach yours”. Hopefully, they can see that goals don’t
have to be huge… baby steps work…and they can make them for
chart and study which students tend to drop out so I might try
harder to reach those types of students before they leave.
add more things that connect students to community: speakers, field
trips; make them feel they are valuable, contributing members of our
group and the community.
talk about middle class values that rule work and school; help them
understand and connect with those expectations; help them see
options for succeeding at work and school; as well as paths to
continued learning. Most people who think they are receiving
valuable information keep coming back for more.
I thought I might even try to have a Coffee Shop.. somehow. I
haven’t figured it out yet… but I have a coffee maker… and maybe we
could talk ‘over coffee’ every other week for 10 minutes. I know
some cultures think school should be all business.. so we will just
have to see what we can come up with. Discussing issues, supporting
each other, and networking encourage lifelong learning.
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