Ferry Street program the first step in adult educationPublished 11:15am Wednesday, February 3, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Sometimes, certain personal goals can come about from a nagging feeling.
A feeling of something unfinished.
Something long desired.
For Martha Ann Morgan and Earlene Myers, that goal is right in front of them as they sit together at a round table inside the Ferry Street School Community Resource Center, as within their grasp as the pencils they hold in their hands.
Morgan and Myers are taking part in the center’s adult basic education program and GED preparation classes, giving adult students the opportunity to take the first step in furthering their education with basic skills and their GED.
“When the resource center first opened, one of the things we were offering was literacy and GED preparation,” Executive Director Lisa Busby said. Through that mission, the center developed and has maintained a good relationship with the Niles Community Schools adult education program.
The two, in a sense, shared students. When students arrived at the district’s Westside building for adult education, if it were found they were in need of basic adult education they were sent to Ferry Street School.
Once through the basic skills at the community resource center, students were sent on to the district to complete the requirements for their GED.
“This is the starting point,” Busby said.
Ferry Street School was educating Niles residents in need of basic skills education out of its own desire.
“Our main focus is reading, math and language,” said Busby, “and we also do writing because the GED test requires an essay.”
The center just received a grant through Title II of the Federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which has allowed them to step up their program.
And that’s exactly what Busby and her team are doing.
The two-year program has given the center the opportunity to help area residents interested in furthering their education with a program that is “specifically designed to enhance reading, writing and language levels but also make them more employable.”
Busby said the center has openings for 25 students in the two-year program. Participants must be 20 years old by Sept. 1 2009. Busby said 20 students are currently registered for the program.
Two of those are Morgan and Myers.
“I really needed that (GED) so much,” Myers said. “I always wanted to finish that.”
“It’s kind of like a refresher course,” for some students said instructor Diane Bass.
Morgan, who watched her sister graduate from the district’s adult education program some years ago, said she is more determined than ever in finishing and getting her own diploma.
“We’re here to encourage others,” she said. “It’s never too late.”
Bass said the classes are taught at individual paces in order for students to get the individual help they need.
“That’s the fear with a lot of people,” Morgan said, referring to the fears of feeling they might need more help than others.
“It’s definitely helped me to be more conscious in my punctuation and my writing,” she said. “This exposure has helped me. It’s really a wonderful program.
“It’s great,” she added. “It’s a goal that we’ve been wanting to do.”
Morgan and Myers ride to class together, taking the evening classes. The program runs throughout the week at various times to accommodate participants and their schedules and consists of three instructors.
For the community, the center serves as the first step, the first door to new opportunity.
For students like Myers and Morgan it’s a goal achieved and a dream realized.
“The opportunity has arrived,” Morgan said. “Those that want to get their diploma can. And that’s a wonderful thing.”
“It is,” Myers said.