Tag Archives: students

Arizona Adult Literacy Week: Day at the Capitol 2018

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I was lucky to travel with a couple of awesome students for a visit to the Capitol during Arizona Adult Literacy Week.   Thank you to staff who helped arrange the visits and thank you to Isabelle and Haziel for telling your adult education story.

Read my guest blogger’s account of the day.

My Day at the Capitol during Arizona Literacy Week

by Haziel Lopez

Adult Education was a promising stepping stone in my life as it opened up many doors for me. I joined a student leadership council which prepared me in taking initiative during tough or hectic moments as well as having the courage to find a voice or even teach others to find their own when they feel that they aren’t capable of it. Though I have now moved on to continue my education at Pima college, I was still acknowledged for my success and given the amazing opportunity to share my experience with Arizona State Legislators on the benefits of Adult Education! Meeting with the Arizona Legislators was an amazing experience as it gave me better insight on the political environment and how it plays a key role in our day to day lives. I found this meeting to be very rewarding because not only was I there to help represent Adult Education and share a little bit about my background but the Senators and Representatives shared a story as well. It was comforting to know that they knew where I was coming from and that my story was relatable. Though I was a bit anxious to meet with people of such high political stature, getting to know them face to face made speaking to them a lot easier. We laughed and also cried together and given that we met briefly, I found the time spent to have been very empowering and moving. Though this was meant as a way to let Legislators know the importance of Adult Basic Education, I found this to be an amazing experience as I had a lot of fun doing it! I would really like to encourage others who understand the importance of education to not only represent it, but to appreciate it as well. Education is not just important, but it is endless as well. You never stop learning which is what makes education so vital. Adult Education really gives people a second chance to achieve their dreams and to represent something as valuable as that is always something in itself to treasure.




PCC Celebrates Adult Education & Family Literacy Week

PCC Celebrates Adult Education & Family Literacy Weekfile_000

PCC’s Adult Basic Education for College & Career division started celebrating National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week a day early, and we kept on celebrating for a day after as well.file_000-2

Last Saturday, staff, student leaders, AmeriCorps members along with their family and friends worked on the courtyard to maintain and clear out the lovely plants and landscaping that that they started last year.  I stopped by on Monday to check out the progress, and it looked awesome!

Our Literacy Connects friend, Betty Stauffer had a wonderful op-ed published in the Star. It was a positive story about the literacy needs in our community.  http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/guest/betty-stauffer-literacy-is-the-foundation-of-a-community/article_5b9ca900-5645-52c2-88da-6e1a9be3d513.html


On Monday, all of our teachers and instructional leaders attended an in service on formative assessment. They learned, reflected and practiced techniques to ensure students are learning and that teachers are delivering content in a culturally sensitive and respectful manner.  At the end of the day, the 50+ gathering split into open space groups to discuss a variety of topics.

Our Civics & Student Leadership program also participated in a Get out the Vote campaign at the YWCA with the League of Women Voters.  Did you know there are just over 500,000 people registered to vote in Pima County?  Did you know that in the last primary, only 30% of the eligible voters turned out?  That means, your three crazy friends are deciding the future for the 7 of us who are sane!

On Wednesday, KOLD’s Maria Hechanova did a story about our classes and interviewed a student.  Richard was open and honest about why he dropped out, how he had tried over and over for 10+ years, and that he was finally dedicated to finishing.  Watch for Richard in your classes, because I told him we would help him finish!  He wants to be a broadcast journalist when he finishes; and he wants to be a good role model for his kids. http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/33274891/pcc-recognizes-national-adult-education-family-literacy-week


Also, on Wednesday, superstar Ambassadors, Laura Porfirio and BHS/IBEST HSE graduate Linda Langston were hobnobbing with policymakers in D.C. They met with both Arizona Senators or staff, Representatives Grijalva, McSally and others as well.  COABE sponsored the trip for nearly 50 advocates and held 100+ meetings with policymakers! They were able to tell them about the importantance of adult education for thousands in our community.  Linda was able to speak firsthand how adult education, her teachers and our programs changed her life. Laura secured a few tours this Fall, so watch for those bigwig visits as well.file_000-6

On Thursday, Telemundo came to do a story about our program as well. Teresa Moreno, Student Services Tech extraordinaire, handled the entire interview.

On Sunday, we ended the week with a large Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) accountability session. Over 500 people attended the session.  “All politics is local”, as House Speaker O’Neil was credited with saying… in a time where speaking about national politics can lead to angered friends and family feuds, pay attention to the local and state races  And more importantly, help your students see themselves and their issues in context – help them see why voting is important to them.   Many times, local policymakers are the most accessible and the most responsive.

Throughout the week, there were highlights, facts and figures posted on social media.  The purpose of National Adult Education & Family Literacy Week is to raise file_000-5awareness about what adult education is and why it is so important for our nation.  I think we did that!


Pima County Re-entry Coalition Fair

Pima County Re-entry Coalition Fair

The first annual Pima County Re-entry Coalition fair was held Saturday April 30th, 2016 at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex.  This fair highlighted the progress made in re-entry efforts and the enormous network the Pima County Re-entry Coalition has developed over the past 7 years.  It is important work and we are proud to be part of the effort inside the Pima County Adult Detention Complex and outside on the Coalition.

Over 30 community programs were set up to showcase opportunities and resources for individuals looking to move forward in the community after incarceration.

According to John Hindman, PCC’s 17+ year veteran Instructor at the Jail, “It was great to talk to people taking an active role in their family member’s transition from incarcerated to returning to the community.”

KVOA news covered the event.


chris and qian IMG_2211

Qian Prescott, Chris Parisoff, and John Hindman staffed a booth for Pima Community College and were able to talk to many families of current and future students.

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Qian Prescott, John Hindman and Sheriff Chris Nanos



Content + Confidence = Math Bridge

“My confidence in math greatly improved. No more math anxiety.”

The Adult Basic Education for College & Career division at PCC is working hard to help students transition into college or onto new career pathways. One way we do this is by offering accelerated Math Bridge classes to all PCC students at Northwest, Desert Vista and East campuses, every spring and fall semester. These intensive classes are 7 weeks long, and meet for 12 hours a week. If you do the math, that’s 84 hours of instruction -nearly double that of a regular class, yet taught in less than half a semester’s time!  This model allows students to immerse in the content of the class and move faster toward their goals.

Math Bridge classes are unique in a number of different ways. First, they are no-cost and non-credit, so students don’t have to use up their finances or time while they strengthen their foundational skills and knowledge of the college.  Both ABE and Dev Ed students attend classes together.

Another difference is how Math Bridge classes approach teaching math. Instead of trying to cram in as many lessons in operations-based math skills as possible in 7 weeks, the instructors focus on developing a deeper, conceptual understanding of the math. This not only has shown to help students perform better on assessments such as the Compass test or the GED, but students have also consistently reported a significant increase in their confidence with math.

 “I feel a lot more confident in math especially since I have not taken it for 16 years. Being in the classroom and working with my peers has been great too! This 3 hour class feels so short to me. I really enjoy coming.”

The Math Bridge Instructors developed this model and curriculum based on several years of study on how best to teach adults Mathematics through TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy).   TIAN uses teacher inquiry and reflective learning to engage teachers in learning how to design and implement effective mathematics instructional approaches for algebra and data analysis. TIAN was piloted and field-tested with math teachers in six states whose adult students had math skills at the ABE, pre-GED, and GED levels.   Website: http://tian.terc.edu/

We also know that math isn’t the only thing that students need to be successful. Math Bridge classes integrate skills for student success into the classroom, and bring in resources to help them along the way. Essential study skills are developed and practiced; tours of the campus with Student Life engage students with campus activities; and weekly visits to the class from a dedicated Student Services Advisor help students learn how to navigate the college system and maximize its resources. Finally, students also explore career pathways and meet with faculty and college career counselors to map out their next steps onto those pathways. Students complete the Math Bridge class with relationships already established with college faculty and staff, and feel comfortable asking for help.

 “This class has pushed me back into school. It has gotten me used to being busy and using my time wisely. I’m truly grateful.”

The first Spring Math Bridge class wrapped up last week, and the results already look good.  The first Spring Math Bridge classes of 2016 wrapped up last week, with over 80% of the students moving up on their placement  levels!  Of course, it’s not just test scores going up that leads to success, it’s about being engaged:

“It has helped me to re-learn all that I didn’t care about through high school. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

The next Math Bridge classes will start on March 28th  at Desert Vista, Northwest and East campuses, and are open to all PCC students. This fall, classes will also be available at Downtown and West Campuses. For more information about Math Bridge classes, contact Wendy Scheder Black at wscheder@pima.edu.

“I’m anxious to get going with my college classes…This class has been a boost for me!”


Math Bridge Teachers – Mary Jo Chmielewski, Linda Kangas & Consuelo Carrillo


NOTE:  There is a professional development opportunity for Instructors who want to learn more about Bridge classes coming soon – stay tuned from your center for more information.


Adult Basic Education featured on AZPM

Arizona Public Media aired a story about PCC’s Adult Basic Education Division this morning on NPR.

I want our Instructors to take note of the compliment from the college on the level of faculty engagement.

I want to echo that sentiment that our Instructors and staff are extraordinary!  Students, the community and the college see it.  It’s obvious that each of you cares for our students and their success.

Thank you for providing that excellent attention to students!


Navigators helped Students Bridge to College & Career success!

Navigators helped Students Bridge to College & Career success!

“This Bridge class has taught me math I did not know and also taught me about the options I have at Pima College. I know now that there are a lot of opportunities I didn’t know about before.”

“This class has been great. I’ve been able to learn a lot of new things that I might have learned at one point of my life but didn’t remember. I can actually see myself passing my GED test and maybe placing better on the COMPASS test. “

“I am now encouraging my wife to re-enter school.”

“This class is important to me because it helps me prepare for future classes at Pima.”

We were honored to receive a City of Tucson grant this fiscal year for $65,273 to develop and implement a Bridge to College and Career (BCC) program. It was designed to promote College and Career success skills among students preparing for their High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma at PCC. A student who is ready for college and career can qualify for and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses without the need for remedial or developmental coursework. The BCC Program served just over 100 students testing at 9th grade level or above (in at least two subject areas out of Math, Reading, and Writing). Program participants participated in career and college-focused lessons, supplemental classes, one-on-one advising, and referral to career and college resources. As a result, participants’ basic educational and job-readiness skills increased.

The Bridge to College and Career (BCC) program targeted high-level Adult Education students in need of developing their college and career readiness along with their basic academic skills. To that end, the BCC Career Navigators worked individually with students; in addition, Career Navigators worked with Instructors in high-level Adult Education classes to offer college and career readiness workshops.  Finally, the BCC program offered intensive, targeted Bridge classes for students beginning to transition to credit classes at PCC.

Highlights include:

  • Exploration of potential career pathways; workshops on resume-writing; support in goal-setting; exploration of library job help
  • Career Fairs at two large learning centers, in collaboration with Pima County OneStop, PCC occupational programs, and other community partners
  • Field Trips to PCC Campuses to tour occupational training programs (Pharmacy Tech, Aviation, Truck Driving, Center for Training and Development)
  • Workshops on GED test-taking tips, utilizing the Arizona Career Information System, and on note-taking skills
  • Support in navigating MyPima student portal

The BCC program achieved the following outcomes:

  • 78% of program participants achieved an educational gain before exiting the program. An educational gain is approximately an increase of 2.4 grade levels or more.
  • 100% of program completers showed an increase in college readiness skills as measured by a pre- and post-perception survey.
  • 29% of program participants took the Compass test (required PCC placement test)
  • 45% of program participants completed one AzCIS career inventory. 100% of participants did some career exploration activity.
  • 30% of participants began the GED testing process by taking the GED Ready practice test and/or taking at least one subject of the official GED test. 17 students have passed at least one subject of the official GED test. 6 students successfully passed the GED exam.
  • 18% of participants enrolled in credit-bearing classes at Pima Community College

The addition of Career Navigators to the Bridge to College and Career program has increased the impact of the BCC program significantly. Career Navigators are ensuring that all high-level Adult Education students have the skills and support needed to be ready to transition to college and career as soon as they pass the GED exam. Career Navigators were able to target and reach out to high-level students individually, which we had never had the capacity to do before. As a result of the in-class lessons co-taught by Navigators, more students than ever are seeking out the Navigators for career exploration and college readiness support. This has led to an articulated, supported career readiness pathway that begins with orientation for Adult Education students and ends when they transition to college or career training.


Denver Bound!

Next Tuesday, Americorps members Matias Rodriguez and Israel Gonzalez are joining the PCAE leadership team to attend and present at the National COABE conference in Denver.
“It will be the first time that I’m flying. But that’s not what I’m nervous about- I’m more nervous about the presentations!”, says Matias. He’ll be presenting three times and Israel will be presenting twice. “We’ve been getting a lot of practice public speaking – with intakes, student orientations and LULAC…  It’s exciting, it’s nerve-wracking, but that’s all practice, you know”, commented Israel.

They are both fathers seeking their HSE diplomas while serving as  full-time AmeriCorps service members who speak in public regularly in their roles as student leaders and trained Ambassadors. In preparation for these presentations, they have become experts in the field of adult education and what works – student voice and agency, peer mentors and coaching, and reaching for higher goals through serving the community.

Below are digital stories created by Israel and Matias, which they will be incorporating into their presentations:

Thank you both for representing PCC’s Adult Education Program!  Good luck and we look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.