Op-Ed: School District Offers New Education Opportunities for Adults

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By Sue Pon

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Sue Pon

 

For the first time in many years, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is expanding our Adult & Career Education offerings

 

This work is made possible by new state funding, and the need and opportunity are tremendous.

 

OUSD believes that Oakland Adult & Career Education is a critical part of being a full service community district where every student thrives.

 

Research indicates that a parent’s reading skill, particularly a mother’s reading skill, is the greatest determinant of children’s academic success.

 

During the 2014-15 school year, Oakland Adult & Career Education (OACE) served 1,000 adults in our GED (General Education Development), Family Literacy, and Career & Technical Education (CTE)/Project SEARCH programs.

 

Take the example of Damon Thompson, a former OUSD student who did not do so well in school when he was younger, dropping out before he graduated.

 

He learned about our adult education programs while serving on the School Site Council at his daughter’s school, La Escuelita. Damon realized he could get an education and serve as an example to his daughter.

 

Last year, Damon earned his GED by studying in OUSD’s Adult Education program. He did this as a single parent while working two jobs and being a parent leader at La Escuelita.

 

He is now pursuing further education at Laney College, studying Administrative Justice.

 

Another inspiring example is from Ana Anguiano. Two years ago, she arrived in the U.S., in her words, “with nothing,” no job, family support, or education.

 

Two years, she was attending an adult education graduation ceremony. Choking back tears, she said OUSD had given her “everything” – an education that had helped her land a job to support her and her daughter.

 

If Damon and Ana can do it, finding their second chance through OUSD’s adult education programs, you can too.

 

With new funding, the goal is to serve an additional 400-500 adults by offering a new College and Career Readiness Pathway Program. The new Adult Education Block Grant funding made possible by Assembly Bill 104 that passed last year, in coordination with the Northern Alameda Consortium for Adult Education, will help adults to more seamlessly transition to the GED program, to academic and career technical education studies in the community college, and to gainful employment.

 

The College and Career Readiness Pathway Program will provide a sequence of courses, preparing adult students with basic English, math, English as a Second Language (ESL) and study skills for college and careers.

 

Classes will be offered at centers adjacent to Laney and Merritt Colleges, and in community locations, including Allen Temple Baptist Church.

 

Initial registration and enrollment for the College and Career Readiness Pathway Program is onsite through Feb. 16.

 

For more program information, please go to ousd.org/OACE or (510) 273-2310.

 

Sue Pon is director of Oakland Adult & Career Education

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