Bataan Hall

It’s never too late to learn

By Bill Knief

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The funding formula for UNM-Taos is based on the number of students enrolled for the fall semester and the total number of credit hours that students have signed up for in the spring. By January 20, with 12 days remaining before the census date and despite bad weather and snow days, Taosenos had already exceeded last year’s peak with 10,648 credit hours, up almost 23 percent over last year.

Good news, but not totally unexpected. The really good news is that the number of full time students is way up, continuing a trend that has seen the number of full time students climb steadily over the past five years. Proof that Taosenos are going to do what they have to do to get the education they need. Nothing, it appears, is going to douse that fire.

They are just as busy over on Salazar Road at the Literacy Center where they offer free classes in GED preparation, Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language.

“We also help students to transition to college after they get their GED,” remarked Judy Hofer, Literacy Center director. “We now have an advisor, Ellen Butler, who meets with students, connects them with UNM-Taos and hooks them up with financial aid.

“This past December we had a GED class with 10 students, all of whom went on to take their test. Nine passed, and eight are now enrolled at UNM-Taos. That was one of our highest achieving classes ever. Ninety percent graduated. That’s not bad.”

But with adults, sometimes getting a GED is not a primary goal. That’s where the Adult Literacy program comes in.

“Right now people are increasingly needing to improve their reading, writing and math skills in order to be better positioned in the job market, and we have over 20 volunteer tutors that can help them do that,” said Hofer. “We even help people fill out job applications online.

“For someone to access our services they need to enroll with us and qualify. They qualify if they have reading, writing or math skills below college-ready level and they have already been disenrolled from high school. We do an assessment, enrollment and advising on short and long term goals, so it is quite a detailed process.

“Our classes are usually for six or seven weeks, and if you can commit to that you will see progress. We work on a semester basis, but students can come in any time and we’ll get the process started. Adults have very complicated lives and we try our best to custom fit the course work to the student. There are many different learning styles; one size doesn’t fit all. We have classes throughout the day and in the evening as well, and they are all free.

“Typically in a year we will serve over 300 students, and ages range currently from 16 to 78. Many, many people in their 30’s and 40’s decide this is the time in their life when they are ready to sharpen their skills and continue their education. It’s never too late to learn!”

You can reach the Literacy Center by calling 758-5904. They’re located on the corner of Bertha and Salazar across from the MVD. They’re open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and they are always ready to visit with prospective students and volunteer tutors.

About The Bill Knief

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