(December 2003) Education has always been a fundamental priority
in Oldham County, and recently big steps were taken to overcome illiteracy
within the county. Educational needs are being met through a program
instituted by the Oldham County Board of Education.
Suzette Ertel, program manager for the Adult, Community and Family
Education Programs, is excited that the county is equipped to meet
any kind of educational needs.
by Don Ward
testing in Carrollton for
jobs at North American Stainless.
The Board of Education was awarded a $247,000 grant to fund an Adult
Education and Family Literacy Program, with $63,000 coming from the
federal government and $184,000 from the state. The grant is awarded
on a two-year cycle, and the board had previously withdrawn its request
for the 1999-2000 year, due to demographic results. There are now
enough participants to renew this program.
This enables the board to offer free services to the community, said
Ertel. A staff of nine helps the adult learners prepare themselves
to take the GED test and offer Family Education to families, she said.
The current version of the program is brand new, said Deputy Superintendent,
Dr. Charleen McAuliffe, Ed.D. It is an opportunity to learn English,
provide a support system, promote success and it gives adults the
opportunity to learn new employment skills, she said.
Ertel follows a state model for this program, which targets people
who have come to realize they may need more education. Reggie Mattingly
is the main instructor for classes in which students are assessed
in five basic areas: language, reading, mathematics, science and social
studies. An instructional plan is created for each individual student
based on the areas in which they need instruction, said Mattingly.
People feel comfortable with the one-on-one mentoring and tutoring
services offered to them, said Mattingly. Basic classes are currently
offered two evenings a week in the Learning Center, which is housed
at the Board of Education office in Buckner. Classes began Sept. 9,
and Mattingly is aided by one instructional assistant.
When students are ready, they are reassessed and given a GED practice
test at the Learning Center. Minimum scores must be achieved and,
when ready, an appointment is made with a certified GED testing center.
by Don Ward
Egle (right) teaching English
to Hispanic students in Carrollton.
Five students were recently sent to Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative
in Shelbyville to take their GED. Participants receive results within
Ertel said she is hoping to hire another GED instructor and expand
hours. By July 2004, the Learning Center should relocate its facilities
into the Oldham County Arts Center in Crestwood, having an entire
wing to itself.
An added feature to the program is that it offers training for employability
skills. A technology instructor assistants participants in areas of
special needs, such as brushing up on computer skills. By December,
the centers staff hopes to provide on-site training at several
business locations within the county.
Its very rewarding to see people come in and see them
leave happy, said Ertel. After a student has successfully received
their GED, Ertel said they are strongly encouraged to go on to pursue
some type of post-secondary education. Mattingly said such opportunities
open doors for students who seek further education, If not formally,
then on the job.
In addition to providing adult education to individuals, family literacy
is a target of this program. At this point in its conception, most
of the families involved are 98 percent of the Hispanic population
here in Oldham County, said Ertel.
We have a real mix, she said of the classes, which contain
participants from Italy, Iran and the Ukraine. Three staff members
are bilingual, and strong emphasis is placed on teaching English as
a Second Language (ESL) classes at the center.
Classes usually average 15 students, and participants are encouraged
to bring their children. A program for second through fifth-graders,
and one for middle- and high school-aged children is available while
their parents attend classes. Resources, such as computers, are offered
for the children to use while their parents study.
Instructional material must remain in the classroom, but supplemental
resources are readily available, said Mattingly. Online tutorials
assist those who may be homebound, and several branches of the Oldham
County Public Library are offering their computer services for students
who may not have access to a computer. There really is an increasing
avenue for a variety of ways in which students can complete their
assignments, said Mattingly.
by Don Ward
left, adult education coordinators Lisa Stethen and Shirley
"As the number of families increases, so will funding opportunities,
said McAuliffe. The Learning Center currently has 15 used computers
in their lab but the staff hopes to purchase new ones eventually.
They would also like to assemble a library.
A former middle school instructor, Mattingly said there is a different
type of atmosphere associated with education at the Learning Center.
Most students are ages 19 and up. They have matured and learned
from their mistakes. They know what they really need and are so sincere
about learning. If a person has goals and wants to be here, they can
accomplish something, Mattingly said.
She cites retention as the biggest problem with any GED program. Students
must juggle their time between family, illnesses, work schedules and
any many other obstacles to etch out spare time for themselves for
As an incentive, the Board of Education has now partnered with Jefferson
Community Colleges Carrollton Campus to offer four college courses
in Oldham County. Registration will be held at Oldham County High
School from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6. Each class is a
three-credit hour class offered for $79 per credit hour, plus a $25
administrative fee and the cost of the textbook.
JCC Campus Director Susan Carlisle said she met with Ertle because
she wanted to be able to offer classes in Oldham County. If
it takes off, we will provide more, said Carlisle.
JCC would like to accommodate as many school districts as possible
in similar ways, she said. JCC offers small classes, personal contact
and is an advantage economically, she said.
Carroll County also offers Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs,
which provide GED preparation, ACT and SAT preparation, pre-employment
assessment, and ESL classes. Classes are held in the Learning Center,
located on the third floor of the campus building at Fourth and Main
streets in Carrollton.
Julie Egle is an ESL instructor who goes out of her way to assist
the high percentage of Hispanic students. She travels to their homes,
to the Mexico Lindo Grocery in Carrollton, and teaches ESL at the
campus. She even prepares student to take the GED in Spanish if they
If you want to have any students, you have to have home visits,
she said. Some of her students are homebound mothers who have no means
of transportation, so she goes to them.
Egle has even written instructional materials herself. After
doing this for so long, I realized what they really needed to know,
she said. They just need to learn English to survive better
in this country.
She has such a good grasp on the Hispanic language due to several
trips she has made to Mexico. Through learning and studying, she has
improved her understanding of a language once foreign to herself.
County Adult & Family Education hours:
Mon. & Wed. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tues. & Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fri.-9:30 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
ESL classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6-8
Information: Call Suzette Ertle at (502) 222-3736
Carroll County Adult & Family Education hours:
Mon. & Wed. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tues. & Thurs. 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
ESL classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6-8
Information: Call Lisa Stethen at (502) 732-7102
Tutoring is offered to individuals at the campus, but plans for math
and writing classes are under way, said Lisa Stethen, who coordinates
these programs. These subjects are usually the skills students seek
to improve, she said.
Carroll County in June 2003 was awarded an $114,000 grant from the
Kentucky Department of Adult Education and Literacy to launch such
a program. The Family Literacy Program teaches participants that the
parent is the first teacher, said Stethen. The first step is for the
parent to upgrade his skills, so the parent can, in turn, assist his
children with homework.
Many Hispanic parents are unable to read simple handouts teachers
send home with students, said Ertle. They cannot respond properly
to the things many of us take for granted, she said.
Stethen said that while every county in the state has adult education
and literacy programs, not all partake of an affiliated program, the
Jobs for American Graduates, or JAG program. Carroll County does,
and offers these services to the surrounding counties that are without
it. For the last five years, the JAG program has been offered as a
school-to-career program targeting 16-21-year-olds.
JAG specialist, Chuck Roberts, said this program originated as an
in-school program, then developed into a dropout prevention and recovery
program. While a few participants do contact him on their own, it
is up to Roberts and fellow JAG specialist Becky Reynolds to track
down the students. The most frustrating part of his job is finding
them, and then motivating them, he said.
Reynolds said there are many positive outcomes to the program. If
the students have a job when they enter the program, the training
they receive will enable them to get a raise, promotion, attain a
GED or get a job if they dont have one. For Reynolds, its
all about helping the youth. She helps them find out theres
something out there for them.
Ertel has quite a bit of confidence in the future success rate of
Oldham Countys Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs.
Its great to know our program had a part in someones
higher education, she said.