The Tutorial Center Brought Best Practices to National Conference on Literacy Crisis

TTC attended first-ever national conference on adult education and literacy to represent state and local needs

Jack Glade, Janice Leslie, and Jan Bopp of The Tutorial Center in Bennington and Manchester presented workshops to hundreds of literacy organizations from around the country who attended the first-ever national conference on adult basic education and literacy in Chicago, Ill., the week of March 15.

“With record job losses and demand for services soaring, there has never been a more crucial time for this conference. It will bring greater attention to the adult literacy crisis estimated to impact one in seven adults nationally,” said Glade, Executive Director of The Tutorial Center.

The Tutorial Center is a member of ProLiteracy, the world’s largest organization of adult basic education and literacy programs with 1,200 community based members in the U.S.  In Vermont, The Tutorial Center is a member organization of LearningWorks, Vermont’s adult education and literacy system. Glade, Leslie, and Bopp presented two separate workshops on exemplary literacy programs offered at The Tutorial Center.

The conference, co-hosted by ProLiteracy and the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE), brought together more than 1,500 education experts; political leaders, including Obama administration representatives; and adult learners to discuss strategies to address funding shortages and increase collaborations as the demand for services continues to grow across the country.

Doing so, they join a roster of presenters that will feature prominent national speakers and advocates who will draw attention to America’s expanding literacy crisis including Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; Byron Pitts, Chief National Correspondent for the CBS Evening News, “60 Minutes” contributor, author, and champion of personal literacy struggles; Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host and author; and David Harvey, President and CEO, ProLiteracy.

“This inaugural joint conference marks a historic milestone in adult education, when we bring together top political and industry advocates to try to open America’s eyes to the adult literacy crisis, which affects 32 million adults and their families,” said David C. Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy.

Social Enterprise World Forum Tapped TTC Exec. Director

Jack Glade, The Tutorial Center Executive DirectorOur Executive Director, Jack Glade, was very busy this spring recruiting presenters and reviewing nearly 100 proposals from international leaders in the cutting edge movement known as “social enterprise,” as part of his role as program co-chair for the Social Enterprise Summit and 3rd World Forum, held in San Francisco April 28-30, 2010.

“A ‘social enterprise’ is an organization that blends non-profit and for-profit business practices in order to tackle a social problem such as illiteracy, hunger, unemployment, or disease,” explains Glade. Growing numbers of leaders all over the world are seeing social enterprise as an important tool for improving the lives of people living in hunger or struggling with illiteracy.

The Tutorial Center is a good example of a social enterprise, says Glade. The Tutorial Center is a non-profit organization that uses a core of strong business-based practices – market research, client satisfaction, cost-effective services, fee-for-service products, financial management, research-based methods, and focus on outcomes – to tackle illiteracy through high-quality literacy instruction, accessible academic tutoring, work-readiness training, alternative high school education, and college access.

“Our outcomes of helping children succeed in school, increasing the literacy levels of adults, decreasing the high school dropout rate, and helping those who have dropped out to earn high school diplomas and go on to college and jobs are very strong,” he says.

Internationally, there is a growing awareness of how the social enterprise approach often provides higher-impact solutions to social challenges than traditional nonprofit and charity methods. The Social Enterprise Summit and 3rd World Forum engaged non-profit and for-profit leadership from all over the world in building the capacity of social enterprises to tackle the social, environmental, and economic challenges of our time.

Details can be found at www.se-alliance.org or call Jack at 447-0111.

Bridge to College & Careers changes lives

Tutorial Center Achieves Success through Educational Diversity

Battenkill Business Journal

Published January 14, 2010

By ASHLEY M. FRANK

Jan Bopp and Tutorial Center Bridge to College StudentsThe Tutorial Center and the people behind it have made it their goal to support and encourage a diverse and rapidly growing list of educational needs in Bennington County and beyond.

Its two learning centers, located on Pleasant Street in Bennington and Richville Road in Manchester, have helped students from kindergarten through adult education by supplying them with necessary skills whether it be learning how to read, conquering math anxiety or preparing for college examinations.

The center’s current capabilities are an impressive leap from its Bennington beginnings in 1971, when three instructors worked with about 10 students with the assistance of a small grant.

Now in its 38th year, the two branches employ nearly 30 full-and part-time instructors and serve roughly 1,000 students of all ages annually.

Both the original Bennington learning center and the Manchester location, which opened about 14 years ago, are “flat-out busy,” according to Jack Glade, director of the Tutorial Center. This is in a large part due to the organization’s willingness to adapt and accommodate residents.

“Anyone who has an educational need should give us a call,” said Glade. “That’s what we’re here for.”

As the state-designated adult-education provider for Bennington County, The Tutorial Center offers three avenues for a high school diploma or its equivalent: GED (General Education Development) preparation and testing, which is a high school completion program, in which participants can take necessary classes to receive a high school diploma; and the Adult Diploma program, which is based around “real life” applications and competencies.

One of the major benefits of these programs is the staff’s knowledge and readiness to help find the right fit for each individual. For those who have already earned a high school diploma or GED, there is the award-winning Bridge-to-College program.

A partnership with the Community College of Vermont (CCV) in Bennington, the program is designed for adult students interested in higher education, but not quite ready for it. Perhaps a student is worried about re-entering the classroom or would like to brush up on a few things before taking on college-level work.

Classes are held on the CCV campus. The program, which tends to have between 10 and 15 students every semester, boasts high success rates. More than 200 adults have participated to date.

The organization has also seen great successes with its English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Like Bridge-to-College, these courses use immersion as a learning tool, and have proved so effective that local employers, such as manufacturing company Plasan, have contracted classes that can be tailored to their employees’ needs.

The sessions are structured so that the students can get exactly what they need, and result in an improvement in on-the-job communication and a personal, productive experience.

The format and flexibility of these ESL sessions has been transferred into other areas of opportunity, particularly technology. “There was a real community need for workshop-oriented classes,” said Glade, and The Tutorial Center has helped to fill the gap.

There are classes that tackle basic and general computer skills and more specific programs such as Microsoft Excel or QuickBooks. In late 2007, the Manchester office began running a popular series of digital photography workshops. Some people attend for fun; many others are self-employed or small-business staff, and see these workshops as opportunities to build or strengthen business-related skills.

In addition to technology classes, instruction is offered in more general areas like math in the workplace.

“A downturn in the economy always increases the demand for education, and right now is no exception,” said Glade. “People who have been laid off or are looking for work often need to build or strengthen their skill sets, and here is a great opportunity to do that.”

The Tutorial Center also has a wide range of possibilities available to younger students. Area high schools refer students who might benefit from the center’s flexible, but closely monitored atmosphere.

These students often work one-on-one with instructors, earning a diploma that previously may have seemed out of reach. Afternoons find every room filled with young students looking for assistance or enrichment. They prepare for SAT and ACT, the college entrance exam; seek extra support in a subject they may be struggling in; or take advantage of personalized discussion and feedback in areas they would like to concentrate on.

“We are a full-service center and offer the complete range of education: remedial, enrichment, core-skill work,” said Glade.

As a successful and valuable nonprofit with balanced funding, Glade said that at the national level, The Tutorial Center is seen as a “model for what a community educational center can be: we serve all pieces of the community, are financially sustainable and responsive to what is needed.”

For more information, call the center’s Bennington office at 802.447.0111, or the Manchester office at 802.362.0222.