Adult literacy and education programs enhanced

It has been a whirlwind year for Iowa’s adult literacy and education programs. This year marks the first time Iowa’s community colleges received state funding earmarked for adult literacy education. As expected, with this level of funding come high expectations and significant changes to the delivery of programs. Fundamentally, the expectations include the effectiveness of the program in preparing students to be career and college ready. Iowa Valley Community College District is up for the challenge.

One significant change this year is the new High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). In the past, students knew this assessment as the GED. The new 2014 HSED exam comes with an expectation that students will have the digital literacy skills to take the assessment on a computer. Although paper tests will still be offered, IVCCD believes it is essential to guide students toward having the 21st century skills necessary to be college and/or career ready.

Along with the new assessment comes a new philosophy. The focus of the new equivalency diploma is to increase career and college preparation. To ensure our students are prepared for college or a career, IVCCD has adopted the Adult Basic Education Career and College Common Core standards. In preparation for curricular changes, IVCCD instructors participate in professional development to learn effective teaching methods that incorporate the standards into their classroom instruction. Our classes continue to align curriculum and teaching methods to the standards so students learn the skills needed to be successful in the classroom and workplace.

In September IVCCD opened a literacy program in Tama County. The Tama County Education Center, located at the Tama Partnership Center, was developed through a partnership with South Tama Community School District. This Center has allowed IVCCD to respond to the needs of adult students in the Tama/Toledo area. Students receive English as a Second Language instruction, prepare for the Citizenship test, or achieve a High School Equivalency Diploma while getting connected to job training and/or post-secondary programs offered at IVCCD. The purpose of the center is to provide educational opportunities to individuals within our District and enhance their career or college readiness skills.

It is Iowa Valley’s mission to serve our communities as the essential catalyst for educational and economic vitality. The adult education and literacy program is dedicated to enriching the lives of adult students through educational opportunities. If you have questions or would like to know more about the services and programs offered at Iowa Valley, please call 641-754-1348 or visit our website: www.IowaValley.com.

Jennifer Wilson is the IVCE director of Adult Literacy programs.