Fall is the time when many adults think about professional development or life enrichment classes. Professional development classes offer preparation for a better job, while life enrichment classes provide the opportunity to learn or do something that is just for fun. Both youth and adults who find themselves in the workforce without a high school diploma may be thinking about a GED high school diploma equivalency. Parents of elementary school students may want to enrich their children’s educational experience beyond the traditional elementary school curriculum.
To serve this part of our community, the Archuleta County Education Center offers a wide variety of professional development and life enrichment classes. The class in Construction Management will enable individuals to compete better in the local construction trade. There are also several classes designed to improve computer skills. In addition to the traditional classes on Microsoft Word and Excel, there will be classes on social networking through Facebook and MySpace. Aspiring accountants can learn to use QuickBooks. Another course will focus on website design, digital photo management and PowerPoint.
Planning a trip to Europe and you want to do more than point your finger, nod and smile? The Ed Center will be offering classes in French, Italian and Spanish for adult learners. Perhaps you have studied these languages long ago and want to renew your skills. Perhaps you are skilled in a language and just want to connect with others who speak the same language. Professional development and life enrichment classes are usually offered from 6-8 p.m.
Want to improve your English skills so you feel more comfortable speaking in public or to your boss? Do you want to apply for a job demanding a high level of English proficiency? The Ed Center offers English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults every Tuesday and Thursday, 5-7 p.m. For those who want to be able to respond effectively when there is a health crisis, First Aid/CPR classes will be offered the first Monday and several Ed Center programs address the basic goals of K-12 education. Individuals who were not successful in the traditional education system can enroll in either the Archuleta County High School or the GED program. Both of these programs use a combination of Internet-based instruction and conventional instruction by Ed Center staff. The Internet-based instruction, which uses the nationally recognized WIN Courseware, provides for self pacing and flexible hours. Students enter their learning program at a level appropriate for their skills and move through new material at their own pace. With Internet instruction available 24/7, students can study at times that suit their schedules. GED instruction is offered Monday-Thursday, 2-7 p.m. with free child care available Tuesday and Thursday.
Other Ed Center programs supplement the traditional K-12 education system. After-school tutoring is available for both primary and intermediate school students. This program is particularly important for students who have recently transferred into the Pagosa School system, who have missed class extensively or who have learning difficulties. In the After School Enrichment program, elementary school students learn about Cooking around the World, Art around the World, Science Trekkers, Worldwide Adventures and Freeky Fridays. After-school program hours are 3:15-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 1:15-5 on Fridays
To learn more about the fall lineup at the Ed Center, call 264-2835, or visit the Ed Center at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets. Information on specific programs in adult education will be advertised in local news media, while information specific for elementary and intermediate school students will appear in the Pagosa Springs School District newsletters.
The core education programs for youth are subsidized by grants from private organizations and governmental agencies. Much of the cost of the ESL and GED programs is paid by a grant from the Adult and Family Literacy Unit of the Colorado Department of Education. There is no charge to students enrolled in the ESL program, while students in the GED program pay $120 to take the five exams required for the GED. For an additional $15, GED students may take exams qualifying them for the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate and/or the CareerReady Colorado Certificate. Similarly, much of the cost for students enrolled in the Archuleta County High School is paid by the Colorado Department of Education, so enrollment for qualifying students is free. A grant from Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation provides partial support for the After School Enrichment Program.
These grants are generally unpredictable and insufficient to pay the total cost of the programs, especially during this time of a weakened economy.? To ensure the ability to secure and maintain the technology and licensing necessary to expand postsecondary education opportunities, and to assure continuation of core programs, the Archuleta County Education Center has requested a 1.5 mil property tax increase dedicated to the Ed Center. This tax initiative has been approved by the BoCC and will appear on the November ballot as Measure 1B.