Adult Learning in Secondary and Post Secondary Settings;
Best Practices - Retention of Rural and Adult Students.Focus Concept:
Developing a relationship with P-12 and Post-Secondary via dual enrollment programs; helping students transition from P-12 to Post Secondary.
The development of a successful student begins with the educational programs from their Pre K - 3rd (early childhood learning), 4th - 6th (intermediate-elementary learning), 7th - 9th (junior high/middle grades), and 10th - 12th (high school) education. Too often we as educators and stakeholders do not balance the students' need verses what has always been done in the educating of students. Most of my education practice has been in rural and urban communities. In my practice I see so many similar circumstances regardless of the school system and post-secondary institution. What I see is a lack of proven effective practices in student engagement, reliable connections towards college and careers, and a stable feeder pattern from elementary to secondary to post-secondary. These are areas that I think with some adjustments will yield better practices towards increasing student enrollment and retention in post-secondary settings. Thus district accountability will be more reliable and measurable without continued failed practices.
As I am focusing on adult learning in rural communities I make mention of dual enrollment. Dual enrollment has a great impact on retention at the post-secondary level. The contributions we are introducing are: students to college while they are yet in high school. Studies are being developed to measure the graduation rate of post-secondary students who entered college via dual enrollment. In the Macon County Public School System - Tuskegee, AL, we graduated 21 seniors on last year FY: 2017 who were in dual enrollment with Trenholm State Community College. Of those students 12 of them are currently enrolled at Trenholm yet building retention within the community college system. In a year prior dual enrollment students from our high schools graduated and are now attending a 4-year university having earned their associates degree from Trenholm. These outcomes can also hold true for adult learners returning to the educational setting (non-traditional adult students). From this we are offering best practices in adult learning in our existing programs and site location.
Moving forward we are working to build this relationship by offering Automotive Manufacturing and Health Science classes for adult learners seeking to further their professional outcomes. The goal; earn your certification and then continue working towards an associate or related degree. Fostering these outcomes is done by also offering GED classes and support services to those needed this provision via our Career and Technical Education Center. Additional authentic relationships are being established as a means of meeting the needs of adult learners in rural and depressed areas to include Veteran Affairs. We are developing best practices that will provide the workforce of America a qualified applicant pool. Adult education is taking on a new face. It is no longer a program or concept designed for those who did meet their program goals in twelve years. In transition it is a redesigned program for adults who seek to advance their current educational level in efforts of living their lives productively; seeking equitable employment opportunities. The Macon County Public School System and Trenholm State Community College are in partnership seeking to make these outcomes a reality for rural America.
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Dr. Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD, EdS, M.Ed., M.S., B.S.
Educational Director -
Career Technical and Workforce Development