Tag Archives: Project Learn of Summit County

What’s In Your Stocking?

Since I teach a much younger GED class, I try to keep the discussions and assignments current. Each lesson that is taught is brought around full circle so that the students can personally relate.

The purpose of the following activity is to teach the students how to interpret and analyze pictures with hidden messages. I found this editorial cartoon in the August 4, 2009 issue of the Plain Dealer. I asked the students to tell me what message cartoonist Jeff Darcy was trying to portray in this political cartoon.

Roid Sox

 

Here are a few responses:

The Boston Red Sox players are good only because they are juiced up on steroids.

The Red Sox players have used or are using steroids to enhance their performace on the field. What does that say about players today compared to the all-time greats such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig? I think they are turning in their graves.

This reminds me of the “settlers” who brought drugs and diseases to countries to hurt the inhabitants. Now when people like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez take steroids, it’s a problem. What about the people who push dope in our communities?

-Alexia

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New Vocabulary, Real Life

In each GED class taught at Project Learn, the instructors put an emphasis on expanding the students’ vocabulary. This is important because misunderstanding a word could cause them to miss a question on the GED test.

In my Generation Y GED class, I take it one step further by requiring that the students write a story using all of the vocabulary words for that week. At first, the students complained that the assignment was too hard. However, when I read some of their stories, I was quite impressed. Here’s a few that caught my attention:

Vocabulary Words:

  • Absenteeism
  • Absolute
  • Accuse
  • Alteration
  • Attractive
  • Authorization
  • Betrayal
  • Bleak

“Lynne was feeling her friend’s betrayal. Lynne’s friend went so far as to accuse her of not getting the proper authorization before making an alteration to a client’s portfolio. The client’s chronic absenteeism was not acquiring any attractive offers. Lynne knew with absolute certainty that because of her friend’s betrayal, her future at the company was very bleak indeed.”

 Vocabulary Words:

  • Chance
  • Common
  • Conviction
  • Cozy
  • Decorate
  • Defined
  • Detrimental

“My brother is 31 years old. He has been given plenty of chances throughout his whole life. When he was a young man, it was very common for him to be in trouble. He was convicted for many crimes. He told me that the hardest thing to adapt to in prison is missing that cozy feeling when he was at home with family. I would always send him pictures of the family so he could decorate his cell. When we visited him in jail, there were defined rules and regulations that we had to follow. Being away from your loved ones for a long period of time can be detrimental for you because it hurts to miss people you love.”

 

I’ll continue to share their stories as new vocabulary words are introduced.

-Alexia

Time to Break Cycle of No Skills, No Jobs

The Detroit Free Press reported that low level of literacy adds fuel to employment crisis. Very true.

In Summit County, Ohio, there are 45,000 adults who don’t read well enough to earn a living wage. There is also 52,000 adults over the age of 25 who lack a high school diploma. This is a problem for people who need to be able to read and possess a high school diploma to work a job that pays well enough to support their families.

Although Project Learn serves adults in Summit and Portage county who are in need of literacy skills, we recognize that low literacy is a national problem. 

Detroit (Michigan) has about 365,000 residents age 16 and older who read below sixth-grade level. That’s more than a third of a city that is losing residents every year.

Read more about Detroit’s problem here.

GED Graduates Honored for Accomplishments

Seated graduates

More than 185 Project Learn students have earned GED diplomas since last June. On Tuesday, about 45 of them attended a graduation to honor their accomplishments.
 
One of the graduates, Samuel Potter, dropped out of high school 14 years ago. He once considered himself an “under-achiever” who was more interested in making money than learning.
 
However, in 2008, Potter realized he wanted a change in his life. He came to Project Learn for help earning his GED. His goal was to become more competitive in the job market. Not only did Potter earn his GED, but he is now the CEO of his own computer software company and will release a science fiction strategy game next month.
 
Potter was also honored with an award for being Project Learn’s top scholar for the 2008-2009 program year. He earned this distinction by scoring 752 out of 800 possible points on the official GED test.
 
“Getting my GED gave me the confidence to do what I never did, and the credibility to be great in life,” Potter said.

Click here to read more.

Exemplary Rating, Exceptional Program

Project Learn of Summit County was recently rated an “exemplary” program by the Ohio Board of Regents. Project Learn students and staff talk about what the rating says about the agency’s culture, program and teachers.

Student Spotlight: Maurice Thomas

Maurice Thomas, 2006 GED graduateLast week Maurice Thomas, a 2006 GED graduate, stopped by to share his educational accomplishments.

He received his associate’s degree in fire protection last year and will be graduating from the University of Akron in December with a bachelor’s degree in emergency management.

Maurice, who currently works as a freelance videographer, plans on using his talent to help improve emergency management systems. He hopes to work for FEMA and help the organization become “more proactive, not reactive.”

“The 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina opened my eyes to a lot of things that were going on,” he explained. “I want to be able to help people get through to unexpected hard times.”

Maurice dropped out of high school when he was in the 10th grade so that he could take care of his daughter.

“It was hard because I was a father before I was a man,” he said. “But that’s the only reason why I stopped going to school. I had to provide for my family.”

After seeing where the economy was headed, he decided it was time to finish his education.

“Some people decide to further their education for their children, but I did it for myself,” he said. “This allowed me to better provide for my children and become a better role model.”

Maurice said he wants African-American males to use him as an example.

“If you want something, you have to work for it,” he said. “And that’s what I did.”

To read more student success stories, click here.

Meet the Board

Project Learn has decided to add a new feature to this blog.  “Meet the Board” will be a weekly post that will feature a new Project Learn board member who will share why they decided to get involved with Project Learn and their thoughts on literacy and personal experiences with education.

1. What is your name, title and employer?
Denise Stuart, associate professor at the University of AkronCollege of Education

2. Do you hold a specific seat on the Board?
I serve as chair of the program committee. This allows me stay in touch with the many programs Project Learn offers and to involve students from the University of Akron with program activities.

3. Why did you choose to become involved with Project Learn?
I have been involved with adult literacy for many years, as a volunteer initially, then as a family literacy coordinator in another county, as a member of a reading group for adult readers and now with Project Learn. I was aware of the good work Project Learn was doing in the Akron/Summit County community and so when I began to teach at the University of Akron I wanted to get involved locally. I’m glad I did.

4. In your opinion, what is the value of education?
Education creates opportunity and can open doors to options. Options are part of freedom in life. South African leader Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It can change the world of the individual and of the community. A woman who works for children’s rights, Marion Wright Edelman says that “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” It is all about hope and possibility.

5. In Summit County, more than 62,000 people over the age of 18 lack a high school diploma. How do you interpret this?
This reflects the trend nationally and continues to need attention. The kinds of jobs available has changed as plants and factories have closed or downsized. Additional skills and abilities are now needed. Our schools are working through reform efforts that make learning more meaningful and relevant, that consider new structures for high school, and ways we can assess learning beyond one test. A program with The University of Akron, Early College High School, is one new approach to high school that helps prepare students for careers as well as college.

6. What is your favorite book? Why?
This is such a hard question… There are some I keep coming back to and read again and again like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a delightful and magical story of generations of a family in a village over 100 years and all that can happen in life. I enjoy escaping in mysteries like Walter Moseley’s series of Easy Rawlins crime and PI adventures set in L.A. over the decades. I like to get to know characters in a story. As a child I enjoyed Pippi Longstocking’s zany adventures and Nancy Drew’s clever solving of mysteries. I teach children’s literature so I very much enjoy exploring books I can recommend to teachers and children, readers of all ages. And lately I’ve been thinking about my grandmother who grew up in Finland. I never heard her story about those times. So I have been reading information about what Finland is like, imagining her life. I hope someday I will travel there to learn more.

7. Finish this sentence: Reading allows me ….
to enjoy who we are and can be, to go to new places, to learn new things and new words. Mary McLeod Bethune said that “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” I agree.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I feel fortunate to be part of Project Learn and so appreciate the tremendous work of the teachers, staff and students. Every time I go to a Project Learn graduation I am moved by the stories of students and so proud of the work they have done. B.B. King, the blues guitarist, reminds us that “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” They will have that degree and the experience of learning forever.