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Adult school’s fall catalog offers courses that enrich and educate

Blended option program speeds up diploma path for high school students
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Placer School for Adults’ fall catalog brings back many returning favorites and plenty of new selections. “I think Placer School for Adults is in a good place right now, but we are always expanding and changing things because of the nature of adult education,” Vice Principal Jennifer Barrett Grove said recently. “We have to keep the courses we offer relevant and we have to be aware of what new courses the community is looking for.” Grove’s focus over the past year has been building the academic program, “making sure that we are really serving our high schools and our adult students the best possible way,” she said. She’s very enthusiastic about the blended format option for earning a high school diploma that started in the spring semester. “We’re able to serve so many more of our students than we could in the past under a traditional format,” she said. “Now we are able to combine classroom and online instruction so that students don’t feel they are just out there on their own doing independent work. They have the teacher support that’s necessary to keep them on target.” The catalog describes the blended online program as a “classroom setting with a teacher where students work independently at their own pace. Students meet twice a week until the completion of credits.” One of the many benefits of the blended program is that each classroom can support several courses under the supervision of credentialed teachers. “Before, since we have a smaller population up here, it was difficult to fill a classroom with one specific subject area,” Grove said. “Now, doing multiple subjects in one room, our adult students can finish semesters more quickly. Before, it was limited because we could only offer certain classes one semester and more the next semester.” The students love the change, she added. “I am really excited about this,” she said. “Our students, especially for the adult population (who are) concurrent high school students as well, have lives that are complicated. Maybe they have kids at home or maybe they are working a job and want to move into a higher paying job. That’s impossible without at least a high school diploma. We are giving them the opportunity to work at an accelerated pace because they can work online at home. They can finish faster and still have that teacher support.” Loomis resident Nick Rondeau took advantage of the blended option to finish his high school credits for a diploma and graduate this spring. “I went in, and said I wanted to get a GED,” he said. “She explained that if you take the GED program to get enough credits on that end, you can actually take the blended program to get enough credits to earn your high school diploma. So I took her up on that offer.” Rondeau appreciated being able to work at his own pace. “So it only took me six weeks going twice a week,” he said. “I made up 20 credits during that time. I was able to breeze through it because I already knew the material. I just had to prove it through tests.” For students working on the high school programs, there’s also a bridge class for college and career readiness. “It offers a variety of student support options,” Grove said. “We’ll be looking at each student for what they need at each step. Obviously we want to help them be successful in getting a GED or high school diploma. Then it is what’s the next step? Is it a post-secondary path, vocational training or give them more job opportunities.” There’s also the college readiness course, offered the previous year but not last year, which is a four-night series at Del Oro High School starting Monday, Sept. 10. “College and career readiness is the direction the state is headed into and we are locally as well,” Grove said. “And this college application crash course is just one of the ways we are looking into it.” Those seeking to acquire or upgrade technology skills have numerous options through the school’s technology education department, headed by Arij Mousa. “Businesses are always looking to hire people who have the latest in technology and people who have upgraded their skills to meet the pace of technology,” Mousa said. “Our goal is to provide those classes and training to prepare employees needed by businesses and managers, and find jobs that meet students’ needs.” Among the options is the PC Technician and Networking certificate program. “Anyone interested in going into the field of upgrading machines or working on computer support as a technician can start with those classes and move forward to the next level — Sierra College (or another college) for a two-year degree in that field,” Mousa said. “… We’ve had good enrollment in it so it seems like people are moving into that for good job career training.” The technology courses fill up quickly, as do many of the community enrichment courses, Grove said. “Given the number of retirees in this area, our community education program is really strong,” she said. “Our art classes are very popular. … These classes (often) fill up within hours of enrollment.” The school is also seeing tremendous growth in the ed2go online education program. “We’re proud to say for the first time under the computer tech classes, we’re offering a blended class,” Mousa said. “It’s an online class where all the syllabus, quizzes, texts and information resources are available online. So students will be attending class. But if they miss one, they can get caught up with that session from home on their own time.” Each semester includes a day-long getaway. This fall’s trip is to Grass Valley on Sept. 28. Participants will tour Elam Biggs’ 1892 Queen Anne Victorian and listen to Biggs’ grandson, Richard, share stories of the past. Lunch will be at Diego’s restaurant, according to the catalog. Continuing to build on what the school has to offer is a goal of new Principal Bill Bettencourt, who named the growing health care field as very important. “I’m looking at doing anything we can to expand the program,” he said in a previous interview. ----------- Placer School for Adults Phone: (530) 885-8585 On the Web: www.placeronline.org