Adult learning goes online at Springfield Housing Authority
At Springfield Housing Authority’s Sullivan Apartments, adult education classes continue even in this world of change.
In fact, there’s a new development that brings on more technology as a way to connect and continue services.
The Adult Basic Education classes, usually held in the Deborah Barton Neighborhood Network Center at Sullivan, are now delivered electronically, usually via video calls. That includes classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages and Hi-Set high school education certificates.
Christopopher Trevethan, ESOL/Computer Instructor at SHA, said he has continued to try new ways to ensure that the programs continue running, and residents from across the city are able to access classes.
“I’ve been using emails and phone calls to connect with the students we had been working with, and let them know we are continuing to work online,” Trevethan said. “I look forward to what we can do for a great start together, online.”
The adult education classes are open to all.
For students like Diane Gerena, connecting on Zoom has helped her to improve her English skills even as there are no face-to-face classes since the COVID-19 pandemic led to shutdowns in March. She meets with Trevethan twice a week for conversations on a variety of topics that help boost her speaking skills.
“This definitely helps me a lot,” she said. “I want to get my English skills up so I can talk to other people, especially my children’s teachers. I would also like to be able to get a job.”
Gerena is a mother of two who lives at SHA’s Reed Village Apartments. The classes she was attending are held at Sullivan Apartments, and are open to all.
SHA Executive Director Denise R. Jordan stressed the importance of keeping programs open, in this case for people aiming to improve their skills and their lives.
“We’ve had to adjust to new ways of doing things, and that includes our classes,” Jordan said. “This is so important to people who are looking to improve their language skills, earn high school equivalency degrees and guide their own children through school.”
He added, “I would like residents to be aware that we work our best to offer learning environments that are highly student centered and based on students individual needs, learning style, and goals.”
Aiming to draw new audiences to the SHA Resident Services programs, Trevethan has developed a website that embraces and encourages learning and reading among all age groups – the central tenet of the Talk/Read/Succeed! program underway at Sullivan, Robinson Gardens and Duggan Park Apartments. This new feature is open to all city residents but only via a shared link from Trevethan, who can be contacted at CTrevethan@shamass.org.
The website includes up-to-date information on Springfield School Department’s plan and guidelines for a return to school in September.
There are also separate pages targeted for specific audiences. Those include: ELA and ESOL classes and tutoring, young readers, teen readers, family reading and life and living resources. Reading pages offer ideas and specific books that are appropriate for the age groups.
Life and living resources connect viewers to a variety of agencies and services, including some aimed specifically at living during COVID-19 times and finding what may be needed by way of food and supplies. There is also information for those looking to find jobs in the area.
Trevethan said the website and other outreach efforts have a single important goal: To keep people connected to the education, programming and other services they need as the pandemic continues to keep distancing rules in place.
“I have been scrambling for platforms for remote learning, ways to keep people connected to the things we offer,” he explained. “The site has turned into a chest-of-drawers of sorts for my hopes as a teacher and learner: inspiring feelings and ideas, provoking thought and conversation, fostering experiences, solving real problems, introspecting, busting boredom, and anything and everything one can make of it.”
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