ANC offering adult opportunities in education

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arkansas Northeastern College-Leachville branch has a lot to offer in adult education. There are day classes and evening classes to accommodate students.

"We have a wonderful facility here and it is an asset to the community," Sherryl Cooley, GED instructor, said.

GED instructor at ANC-Leachville Sherryl Cooley assists Barbara Lasater of Manila who is taking the basic computer class. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Cooley has been in adult education for over 20 years. She received a master's degree in adult and continuing education in 1973. She has been with ANC for four years.

"I do adult education because I love it," she said. "I want to give back offering a second, third, fourth chance or whatever it takes to help my students reach their goals."

ANC-Leachville is open four days a week Monday through Thursday, opening at 9:00 each morning. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

In addition to GED prep classes, practice tests and GED testing (at no charge to the students), other classes include ESL (English as a Second Language), College Prep (Asset or Compass), Wage (employment ability program); basic computer literacy; high school credit recovery and more.

The CRC (Career Readiness Certification) is offered through Workforce. It is accepted and recognized throughout the state as well as being a national employable certification.

"A lot of employers in Mississippi, Craighead, and Greene counties are now requiring certification for their new employees," Cooley said.

The computer literacy program is very good for adults giving them the opportunity to work at their own pace during the hours they have available, Colley said.

"Again, we have a great computer lab at the Leachville center," she said. "The program goes through the basic computer steps through word processing, spread sheets and Power Point. Working at their own pace, they can go back and review and work until they feel comfortable without feeling they are holding up a class."

The GED program is one of the most utilized classes in Leachville.

"Many of our students have been out of school for a while," she said. "Again, like the computer classes, students can work at their own pace until they are ready to take the test. All students must pass a practice test before they take the GED test."

Cooley said Arkansas is the only state that still offers GED testing at no cost to the students.

"We have fought to keep it at no charge," Cooley said. "We want everyone to have the opportunity to get their GED. When we deal with federal and state monies, we have to be careful on how we spend the money. Having students pass the practice test first helps keep the testing expense down. We have a tester for all of Mississippi County. She comes to the Leachville sight and gives the tests here for our students."

GED tests are given in English and Spanish. Cooley said with permission from the State they can accommodate GED testing for persons with disabilities.

"Students have to let me know what they need," she said. "My job is to provide the needs for all students but they have to let me know."

The GED Test consists of five parts including math, writing (with an essay), social studies, science, literature/arts/reading.

"Last year we had 24 GED graduates and one high school completion," Cooley said. "We also had 140 students enrolled."

The GED program is open entry and open exit.

The Credit Recovery Program is a very good program for high school students who were close to meeting the requirements for graduation.

"Through the program students have the opportunity to complete the requirements and earn their high school diploma from their local high schools," Cooley said.

ANC's assistance does not stop at just completing the GED.

"We transition students to assist with a training program or college of their choice," Cooley said. "Financial aid officers come to Leachville and help with the paper work in applying for college. We offer the college prep classes. It can be frightening for adults who have been out of school for years."

ANC in Leachville will begin Sept. 22 offering college prep classes. The classes will run for six weeks at 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

Colley said in the last four years 13 adults who have completed their GED at the Leachville branch have gone on to college.

"No one should ever think they are too old," Cooley said. "I had a 73 year old student earn her GED. She said she had never had the chance to finish school and it was something she wanted to do. Employers look favorable at potential employees who have taken the time and made the effort to get a GED. With so many jobs lost, this is a good time for people to consider furthering their education or changing their career fields. We are here to help them any way we can."

Cooley said having the Leachville branch of the Mississippi County Library in house with the college is very helpful to students.

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