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Region 5 brings free test prep, tutoring to LSC-PA

Partnership aims to transition adults ‘from beginning literacy to college’

The Region 5 Education Service Center is partnering its Adult Education and Literacy division with Lamar State College-Port Arthur to provide free test preparation, English proficiency and tutoring courses to LSC-PA students and the wider community.

Lauren Buckley, Adult Education and Literacy college, career and transitions counselor, said each of the four courses provided are open to all adults, 18 and older, and to 17 year olds with parental consent. The 100-plus students enrolled in the courses — most of which began at LSC-PA this spring — range from 17 year olds to senior citizens, Buckley said.

“Some of our students are Lamar-Port Arthur students, but many of them are working their way up to the college level,” Buckley said Monday. “We serve them at all levels — from beginning literacy to college-level coursework. It’s a good transition for our students who aren’t enrolled in college yet to experience the college setting as they work their way up. It helps them get comfortable with the environment and makes it easier to flow right into their college classes.”

Region 5 is providing Career Pathways tutoring — tailored to help LSC-PA students succeed in a specific course on campus — ESL proficiency classes, and test preparation for the General Educational Development and Texas Success Initiative exams. Many of the classes offer year-round open enrollment.

“My role is to transition students from getting their GED to either entering the workforce or preparing for the TSI, the new college entrance exam. Once they pass the TSI, I can help them enroll and apply for financial aid at LSC-PA. Once they make it to the main campus, I can help sign them up for our Career Pathways tutoring. The goal is to increase enrollment at LSC-PA so we can get more people into the workforce.”

Ben Stafford, LSC-PA dean of technical programs, said the Region 5 classes in the LSC-PA Ruby Fuller Building provide indispensable tutelage to the Port Arthur community.

“This is a huge boon to the college, and we’re happy they’re partnering with us,” Stafford said.

Buckley said the Region 5 Education Service Center Adult Education and Literacy program also offers classes in Beaumont, Silsbee and Vidor.

For more information on any of the following programs, call Buckley at (409) 951-1710.

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY

Claudette Session, Region 5 ESL instructor, said the Adult Education and Literacy English as a Second Language proficiency program caters to students from all countries and all proficiency levels.

“Our ESL courses are for the whole community,” Session said Monday. “We have about 90 students now, and some of them are starting at ground zero. Some have some proficiency but want to work on their grammar. A majority of our students want to improve their speaking skills.

“We have a lot of fun approaching the learning of the English language in all forms — listening, reading, speaking and writing. We do interactive activities that cater to all the different learning styles and all skill levels. We also incorporate a distance learning program so they can access supplementary instruction on their cell phones, computers, tablets, etc.”

Session said when the students register, they also take a placement test to determine their current level of English proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Region 5 will group students according to their skill level, she said.

“When the students register, we also ask for general information about their goals and aspirations,” Session said. “We have students coming in from all walks of life. We have parents who want to be more involved with their child’s school, family members taking care of their sick relatives who need to take a more active approach with the doctors treating them, students coming to us before they move on to our GED program, students trying to move up in the workforce. We also have students with degrees — dentists, doctors and lawyers who want to increase their English proficiency so they can get certified and validated to continue their careers here.”

Session said students who register for the class during June and the beginning of July will be enrolled in the next round of the ESL course, which begins July 13, in Room 124 of the Fuller Building.

GED, TSI TEST PREP

Tammy Einkauf, Region 5 GED, GED/ABE and TSI instructor, said the test preparation courses are all geared toward giving students vital skills to succeed either in the workforce or in a college of their choice.

“Our GED course is also open to ABE — Adult Basic Education — students, those who aren’t necessarily studying for the GED exam,” Einkauf said Monday. “They may already have a diploma or a GED, but they still want to get these basic skills covered in the General Educational Development exam. Of course, the goal for most of the students is to pass the test and earn a high school equivalency certificate.”

Buckley said the GED course also provides another option for students who want to advance to college or move straight into the workforce.

“Many of the jobs that used to not require a college degree or high school diploma now at least require a diploma or a GED. Many residents are coming back to attain that certificate,” Einkauf said.

The GED course was the first partnership with LSC-PA, Einkauf said, and began in September 2014. The next GED course will begin July 7.

The TSI course was added in January and is now accepting registration through June 9 for a round that kicked off Monday.

“The TSI prep class is basically to sharpen their skills and improve any areas they may be lacking in before they take the Texas Success Initiative — the new college entrance exam,” Einkauf said. “It determines if you need developmental math, reading or language courses once you get to college.”

“Taking and passing the TSI exam ultimately saves the students money,” Buckley added. “If they pass, they can bypass those developmental classes and get straight into their for-credit classes.”

Einkauf said the GED and TSI preparation courses are usually held in Room 130 of the Fuller Building.

CAREER PATHWAYS

Buckley said the Region 5 Career Pathways tutoring provided at LSC-PA tailors the lessons to match vocational course content on campus.

“The beauty of their tutoring is they can provide class-specific tutoring using the actual textbooks from that class,” Stafford said. “I’m excited to see the success stories from their technical tutoring, especially, because technical language is not the same as reading for fun.

“In many of our vocational textbooks, the technical aspects of the language creates a stumbling block for some of our students. You may grasp the language in a regular setting, but this is very complex reading. You have to be able to go above your usual level of reading comprehension in order to succeed and really understand what the process is.”

Buckley said Career Pathways is starting a new tutoring class for the LSC-PA commercial driving course in July, but Region 5 is looking to integrate into more programs on campus.

“Our tutors’ main goal is to supplement their classroom instruction, help them get that certification and out into the workforce,” she said.