Partnership with Craven Community College

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, stripes and outdoor
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.

Welcome to Our Newest Citizen

US flagNancy, a Craven Literacy tutor, just witnessed her student Te (not her real name) take her Oath of Citizenship in Durham.  Kudos to them both for all their hard work! Below is  Nancy’s moving account of the citizenship process with her student.

On Friday, October 28, I had the pleasure of witnessing Te take her Oath of Citizenship at the US Citizenship and Immigration Service in Durham. For refugees, Burmese in this case, this in an awesome step in their lives. Te has been studying to be a citizen for about 2 ½ years. She attends a weekly citizenship class offered through the Craven Literacy Council . She also takes a second class each week to study the English language. In all that time, she has missed maybe one or two classes, always arriving early with her beautiful smile and eagerness to learn.

Through Interfaith Refugee Ministry, Te arrived in the U.S. in July  2010, with her husband and three children. A fourth child was born here. She works in a part-time job as an office cleaner. Her husband works full-time. In addition to this, she has shown her dedication and desire to attend classes twice a week. The application process for citizenship is multi-fold. There is an 18-page ‘Application for Citizenship’ form to be completed, a challenge in itself. This is sent for review and if accepted, a notice is sent for the applicant to go to Durham for fingerprinting. After a waiting period, the applicant is given a date to go back to Durham. They then take the ‘Interview Test’ on reading, writing, history, government, and understanding verbal questioning. When that is passed, the third and final step is to go back to Durham to take the Oath of Citizenship, as happened on October 28.

There were 57 applicants representing about 40 countries, who had completed all the requirements. The Oath Ceremony consisted of short speeches, the Pledge of Allegiance, a video of American places and faces. There was also a video of the President welcoming and encouraging new citizens to observe their rights and responsibilities as naturalized citizens. The new citizens were asked to stand and be recognized as they received their ‘Certificate of Naturalization’. Following that, there were many pictures, hugs, and yes, some happy tears.

What a privilege it was to be a witness to that solemn and happy occasion. Many thanks are due the Craven Literacy Council and all its supporters. They have the will, the desire, and the excitement to enable the process.

Save

Meet Our Board

Board members at retreat
front, L-R: Kathy Carter, Alice Underhill, MaryLane Stine, Janet Peregoy, Sandy Epperson, Sandra McKinney (Executive Director). back, L-R: Jim Slaughter, Bill Rivenbark, JoAnn Kerrick, Glenn Clairmont, Donna Marshall (outgoing ED). not shown: Keith Merritt, Susan Moffat-Thomas, Karen Segal

The Board of Directors of Craven Literacy Council posed for this group photo at their annual retreat held May 19. From the newest directors who are only a few months into their service to veteran directors who have over 6 years on our Board, this is a committed, dedicated bunch.

Each year at the retreat the Board learns about some aspect of nonprofit operations from a guest speaker and finalizes the budget and strategic plan for the upcoming fiscal year. This year’s focus was on our literacy programs, which CLC staff presented in a fun and engaging manner.

Thank you to our wonderful Board of Directors for their work  improving literacy skills to empower adults and improve lives.

The State of Adult Literacy

The need grows. The funding shrinks.

That’s just one of the take-aways from ProLiteracy’s Annual Statistical Report for 2014-2015. Don’t let the word “statistical” in that title scare you away. View the summary here in a breezy, concise infographic format.

We’re especially proud of the positive outcomes reported for all literacy organizations, including ours. While most of our clients arrive with less than a high school education, they can and do make progress.

student infographicCraven Literacy tutoring lets our adult learners build the skills they need in their lives. Our students show learning gains, improved job-related skills, and increased involvement in children’s educational activities.

If you want to be part of this change for the better, join us starting next week on April 12 for a new tutor training workshop.

From a Student and a Tutor

Why Have a Tutor?
I have an English tutor because it has a lot of benefits. The program is free. Other English programs are very expensive but this program is very good and free. My tutor helps me to read, write, talk and understand the English language. I love having a tutor because it is private instruction or small group. For this reason I feel free to express my thoughts.

One of the benefits I like is the flexibility. It is hard to study when you have kids. For this reason our meetings are when my children are at school.

In conclusion a tutor is a new friend who helps you when you need it. Thank you to my tutor for your patience. Without you everything I achieved would not be possible.

And a note from our tutor:
She was my English student for approximately 1 1/2 years. She is married to a U.S. Marine stationed at Cherry Point. They have two young children. This was her first time living in the United States. Her native country is Puerto Rico. She made great progress learning English.

It is very rewarding to develop a tutor/student relationship and I highly encourage others to reach out and teach!

We are beginning out next new tutor training workshop in April. Click here to register or for more information.

Welcome, New Literacy Tutors!

Craven Literacy Council announces that 13 new tutors participated in the new tutor workshop ending on January 28, 2016. These individuals are currently being paired with a student. The next workshop begins April 12. When you see a new face in the hallway, please give them a warm welcome!

Jan 2016 tutor classPictured L-R, 1st Row: Lynda Ahmed, Maggie Nicholson, Pamela Collier, Barbara Haan, Augusta Jackson, Kathy Carter, John Sickles
2nd Row: Patrick Feury, Bernie Frank, John Shipherd, Jan Ecklund, Tim Fisher, Sammie Caswell

Free Community College Won’t Help Everybody

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job.” Read more here.

Unfortunately for many of the adults who come to Craven Literacy, community college is beyond their reach even when cost is not an obstacle. Our adult learners struggle with basic literacy skills. Many of them have limited ability to use a computer and the internet. At this low level of literacy everyone’s difficulties and needs are unique. Volunteer tutors work one-on-one with our clients to create and follow an individualized learning plan that specifically addresses that adult’s literacy gaps.

Free community college is only part of the solution. We here at Craven Literacy and other organizations like us around the country are also part of the solution.

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.

CLC Staff Attends Proliteracy Conference

CLC Staffers learn at conference
CLC Staffers learn at conference

CLC practices it’s tag line “Learning for Life” every day. On October 14-17 four staff members were in Charleston, SC to attend the annual Proliteracy Conference. From left to right: Carol McCormick, instructional services coordinator; April King, outreach coordinator; Cathy Weiss, student services coordinator; Debi Lupia, certified trainer and instructor.

The conference in 2015 focused on adult literacy and basic education issues. The event was brimming with speakers and workshops that helped attendees discover new tools and strategies, implement dynamic programming and enhance leadership skills, all while engaging with peers from other literacy organizations of all types and sizes.

The CLC group tweeted these highlights for the  #proliteracyconference: discussion with funders panel, importance of digital literacy, and author, poet, former student Earl Mills speaking.

Everyone agreed that they would be bringing lots of new ideas back to New Bern.