Agencies Pool Resources to Offer GED Prep Class in Memphis

Monday, July 04, 2011 | 06:00 am
Labor Department, Agape/Powerlines, and Teach for America Link Up for Pilot Project
NASHVILLE – Adult learners in Memphis are taking part in an exciting new approach to prepare to earn their General Educational Development (GED) diploma, Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis said today. The department has partnered with the Powerlines Community Network, led by Agape Child & Family Services in providing an eight-week pilot GED class for 47 students in the Whitehaven area.
“The goal of this course is for the students, who are adults, to complete pre-GED coursework so that they will be ready to either take the GED exam in August or enroll in a GED class in the fall,” said the commissioner. “What’s innovative is that eight Teach for America teachers are teaching the classes. They are bright, enthusiastic, and effective, and they expressed interest in this teaching opportunity.”
The teachers, who were given accelerated training in the Adult Education newly-revised curriculum, easily adapted to teaching adults instead of their regular K-12 duties. Students in the class are at different levels of achievement, and at the end of the eight weeks will be one step closer to getting their GED. It is expected that approximately half of the class will sit for the GED exam the first week of August.
Along with coursework, teachers will be emphasizing to the adult students the importance of parental involvement in their own children’s education. The curriculum of the GED class integrates equipping the parent with the knowledge he needs to assist in boosting his child’s learning.
The classes are presented in a friendly atmosphere. Most of the students are parents, and they will learn more about how to help their children succeed in school – to see that they look at homework first, video games later, for example, and what to expect at parent/teacher conferences. The parents’ own behavior will set examples for their children of the importance of education.
Teach for America is an AmeriCorps program made up of young, highly motivated, and academically superior teachers with strong leadership qualities. They go into the 39 highest poverty areas around the country to teach the most at-risk young people.
The pilot project is the first step in a new, exciting phase of delivery of Adult Education services and an example of how community resources can be leveraged. Labor & Workforce Development is funding the project, taught by Teach for America teachers, and the Powerlines Community Network of Agape Child & Family Services is providing support services. Powerlines recruits students, finds locations, and provides two individuals to act as “connectors” between the students and the program to troubleshoot any problems that may come up, resolving barriers to attendance and commitment before students enroll.
“We’re honored to be a part of this collaborative that aims to arm our community with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed,” said David Jordan, Executive Director of Agape Child & Family Services. “The idea behind Powerlines Community Network is for multiple agencies to bring their skill sets to the table to collectively serve our citizenry in a more tangible and holistic way. So, the partnership with the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Teach for America and other organizations is completely aligned with our mission.”
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View the Adult Education pilot program in action at the link below.