Partnership with Craven Community College

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CLC Program Coordinator, Carol McCormick, 3rd from left

With the same goals of preparing residents for college and careers, Craven Literacy Council (CLC) and Craven Community College (Craven CC) have recently formed a partnership to increase tutoring availability for Craven CC students. This will be a new program for both organizations.

The program will provide free tutoring services to students enrolled in adult high school, high school equivalency, and ESL (English as a second language). These courses are part of the college’s Basic Skills program.

According to Jennifer Bumgarner, Craven CC executive director of academic support, the tutoring partnership will improve student success rates and move students through high school equivalency course curriculum faster. “The tutoring will reinforce classroom learning, but it will also allow the instructor to move through the material faster,” said Bumgarner.

In a 2001 U.S. Department of Education publication, Evidence that Tutoring Works, “Students with below-average reading skills who are tutored by volunteers show significant gains in reading skills when compared to similar students who do not receive tutoring from a high-quality tutoring program.”

Within Craven CC’s TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program, which provides tutoring, students were more than twice as likely to persist to the next semester than the college’s general college population. This success has become a model of how the college is expanding tutoring services to students who may not qualify for programs such as TRIO SSS or the newly implemented TRIO Educational Opportunity Center.

In the relationship, Craven CC will provide the facilities and student support, and CLC will provide the tutors. The primary focus will be math tutoring. CLC serves Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties with the mission of building literacy skills to empower adults and improve lives. The college’s students will be co-enrolled in Craven CC and CLC programs.

Carol McCormick, CLC program coordinator, said the 30-year old nonprofit is funded from some of the same state educational funding as the college for Basic Skills programs. McCormick said the funding program tasks receiving organizations to form partnerships, reduce redundancy of services, and help students to reach career and college goals.

According to Nicole Mena, Craven CC tutoring coordinator, the college has wanted to increase tutoring and has been considering utilizing volunteers due to budget constraints. “We are really excited to have CLC on board,” said Mena.

The tutors are volunteers who are trained by CLC and receive instructional support from McCormick. In the next week, the seven CLC tutors will hold their first meetings with their students. “The vision is to continue to sustain, enhance and expand the partnership,” said McCormick.

The CLC volunteer tutors participate in a 15-hour training to become a ProLiteracy® certified tutor. “A majority of our tutors are retired persons who want to give back,” said April King, CLC outreach coordinator. King said tutors spend approximately 2-3 hours of time preparing and conducting each tutoring session and are requested to give at least a year of their time.

For more information about becoming a tutor contact CLC at 252-637-8079 or visit their website at http://www.cravenliteracy.org/.

For more information about Craven CC’s tutoring and academic support programs, contact Mena at 252-638-1213.

Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.

Article originally appeared in New Bern Sun Journal.

Funding for Literacy and a Better Workforce

WIOA logoCraven Literacy Council, like most of its sister organizations, gets a substantial portion of its operating revenue from grants. The largest source of our grant funding comes through the federal government’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act-Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (WIOA-AEFLA) and is administered by the NC Community College System (NCCCS). In their memo to NC literacy associations, the NCCCS states:

The WIOA-AEFLA provides adult education and literacy services to help adults obtain employment and economic self-sufficiency, and support the educational development of their children.  It also prepares adults to earn a high school diploma or equivalency and to prepare them for transition to post-secondary education through career pathways.  AEFLA continues to serve English language learners improve their English language skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking and expands the scope of services to include mathematics and civic related-purposes.

New for the upcoming funding year to begin July 2017 is heightened emphasis on job readiness and post-secondary education. These laudable goals will present challenges to us and other community-based literacy associations. With many of our learners starting at not even a high school reading level, making the gains necessary to be work- or college-ready takes time. Craven Literacy is stepping up to the challenge with more focused help for tutors and students. We still strive to help adults achieve their personal literacy goals but with an eye on solid advancement in skill level.

2017 will be a learning year both for us and our students. Read more about WIOA here.

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Become a Literacy Tutor

stack of booksWe’re getting ready to begin another new tutor training workshop. If you’ve ever thought about being a literacy tutor, please come to our orientation on July 12. You can register here.

Anyone can be a tutor. You don’t have to be a teacher or have any special skills. If you can read, if you care about helping others, if you can commit to 3-4 hours per week for a couple of months — you can be a tutor.

Craven Literacy Council offers instruction in adult basic English, as well as English as a second language and help preparing for the US citizenship examination. Come to the new tutor training workshop and learn how satisfying it is to give back to your community through tutoring.

Adult Education in the News

newspaperLiteracy for adults is about much more than learning to read. Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. highlighted just how important functional literacy is in assuring that adults can move forward in their lives, whether in post-secondary education, job training or better employment opportunities.

Federal funding for adult education, which includes literacy programs like those we here at Craven Literacy offer, is governed by WIOA (say wee-oh-wuh) which stands for Workplace Investment and Opportunity Act. The latest iteration of this act emphasizes transitions to employment or post-secondary education. Further, it directs all those institutions involved in adult education — community colleges, job centers, literacy nonprofits — to integrate their services. All of us should be working toward those same goals.

To learn more about Secretary King’s comments, click here.

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Learning to Read at 48

Earl Mills is one of CLC’s biggest literacy success stories and now one of our biggest boosters. Earl raised a family and enjoyed 30 years of successful employment in New Bern, NC – all while hiding a secret from his children and his employer: he could barely read.  In his 40’s Earl finally turned to Craven Literacy Council for help.

open bookNow a published author and frequent inspirational speaker, Earl tells his story to others, vividly conveying the fear that came with hiding this secret throughout his adult life.  He also shares the sheer determination it took for him to become a reader.

Read more of Earl’s story here in the New Bern SunJournal.

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

aefllogo2015The National Coalition for Literacy marks National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week each year to raise awareness of adult education and family literacy. This year #AEFLWeek is September 21-26.

Life is the 21st century relies on technology, moves at the lightning speed of technology:

  • Job applications are online.
  • Teachers email home instructions to parents.
  • Doctors and hospitals keep electronic health records.
  • Retail coupons are sent to smartphones.

Imagine navigating your daily life with low literacy skills!

Too many adults in our community and across our nation lack the skills they need to get and keep a job, support their families, and succeed in life. Improved literacy can change lives. Here at Craven Literacy Council we offer free, confidential, individualized instruction to adults of Craven County who want help with reading, writing, computing and using technology. We work everyday to put more people on the path to self-sufficiency and success.

Visit the National Coalition for Literacy website to learn more about #AEFLWeek.

Single Mom Improves Literacy for Better Job

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Tutor Mary Helen Boone (right) celebrates with her student

When a young single mother reached out to Craven Literacy Council to help improve her reading and writing skills as a way to get a good paying job, she had no idea how far she would go. Adult learner Denise Ellis and her tutor, Mary Helen Boone, have accomplished so much together since December 2008.

Denise faced many challenges during those years. Family issues, unemployment, an auto accident that left her with recurring bouts of pain, and finally, loss of her home to Hurricane Irene. She had to move her children from one temporary location to another over the past few years. (Fortunately, with the help of Mary Helen and her husband, Denise was finally able to find a permanent home for her family this year.)

With all these challenges, it would have been so easy to stop studying, but not Denise. Discovering through her daughters that she had a passion for working with young children, she enrolled at Pamlico Community College to work toward a certificate in Early Childhood Education. As a work-study student at PCC, she is able to work with the Smart Start Program, a pre-school educational program, which made her even more certain that she wants to help educate children. Denise has already completed two years of study at PCC and earned all B’s last semester! Now she and Mary Helen are working on the financial aid package to enable her to continue her studies.

We’ve all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That certainly describes the Denise/Mary Helen team, and we couldn’t be prouder to share their story.