KPC offers options to learn on all levels

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2001

There are many reasons people think they are not "college material." Reasons range from, "I didn't even finish high school" to "I'm too old to learn."

Kenai Peninsula College would like to dispel these misconceptions and encourage anyone with a desire to improve their life to take the first step. At KPC, the philosophy is there is always a place to start.

People may begin in the Adult Basic Education Program and learn the skills to successfully earn the high school equivalency diploma (GED). People may have the basic skills to complete the GED exam, but still like a refresher course before testing or to upgrade their skills for personal or employment growth.

Parents may want to brush up on math skills to help the kids with homework, or maybe a young person dropped out of high school and needs a GED to enter the military.

Although many take for granted the ability to read, there are adults who are illiterate and live their lives with that stigma. It is important for all peninsula residents to know there is a place to go for help. Furthermore, these services are free.

The Learning Center at KPC offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where students receive whatever help they need. Individuals can count on a customized approach based on their current skills.

Peer tutoring at KPC is a standardized program developed along guidelines established by both the College Reading and Learning Association and the Literacy Volunteers of America. The program is fully accredited and endorsed by these organizations.

This endorsement validates that the program is effective and the tutors have good training. Learning Center tutors may be volunteers (AmeriCorps, Vista, foster grandparents, etc.). Some are students earning college credit, and some are student employees.

Tutor training includes beginning, advanced and master certification levels. Tutors may assist their peers in academic courses, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and vocational programs. Tutors also may assist in the public schools.

Diane Taylor, Learning Center coordinator, always is looking for volunteers to help in the tutoring program. She encourages students who had difficulty in a class to consider tutoring in that discipline. Who better to understand where students can have trouble than someone who had the same problems and found a way to succeed?

You don't have to be a student to volunteer as a tutor. If you have knowledge to share and would like to receive the training, call the Learning Center at 262-0327.

Successful volunteer tutors can use the experience they receive as a "jump start" for their resume. Diane has provided job references and written recommendations to volunteer and student tutors.

Billie Hardy, Adult Basic Education instructor in the Learning Center, remembers many success stories from the tutoring program. She recalled a woman who, after raising a large family, came to the Learning Center proclaiming, "It's my turn now."

She had several challenges to overcome. With the help of the tutoring program, she received her GED, enrolled at KPC and earned her associate of arts degree.

During that time, she actually became a tutor herself. Her experiences helped her help others like herself. This woman currently is continuing her education working toward a bachelor's degree.

Several former KPC student tutors have become teachers in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Tutoring is a vehicle students can use to reach goals. Tutoring can provide the comfort zone you need to take the plunge into college.

Remember, every Alaskan is college material at KPC.

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