Category Archives: Adult Education

Single mother returns to school at Pellissippi State to study horticulture

April-Ellis

On days with good weather, April Ellis rides her bicycle to school.

Ellis, a Pellissippi State Community College student, doesn’t consider her transportation options to be a limitation, though. She simply rides her bicycle or takes the bus to the Magnolia Avenue Campus, where she’s pursuing an associate’s degree with the plan of going on for a bachelor’s in public horticulture.

A single mother who didn’t complete high school, Ellis enrolled full time at Pellissippi State last spring. Like many nontraditional students, the 29-year-old has to balance returning to school with a multitude of other responsibilities: working a full-time job, fulfilling a work-study commitment and raising a child.

“It’s been so crazy, but you make it work,” she said.

Ellis is taking courses to earn a general studies degree, and once she graduates, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee.

“Public horticulture has a wide variety of job opportunities, anything that integrates gardens and people,” she said. “Specifically, I’m interested in horticulture therapy.

“People go into gardens and feel better, and horticulture therapy brings that recreational therapy aspect into gardening. You can take a person who needs to work on an injury and say, ‘Let’s work with your weak hand grip by pruning these roses.’”

Ellis was a stay-at-home mother and housewife during her son’s growing-up years. When she began going through a divorce, she realized she needed and wanted a fulfilling job that could provide for her family.

“At that time, I didn’t even have a GED or any kind of formal education,” she said, “and I wanted to be someone that my son could look up to.”

She first attended classes at the Knox County Career Center, where she earned her GED, and two months later, in spring 2014, she began classes at Pellissippi State.

“Here, I’m not the odd person out,” Ellis said. “A lot of students here are nontraditional, so I’m not alone in those struggles about being in college and having a job and a family.

“And professors understand that, too, that you have homework and a family. Having that kind of nurturing, supportive environment has been crucial. People here have gone above and beyond to make sure I get more than just good grades.”

Pellissippi State supports its population of nontraditional students with a host of services, among them, alternative scheduling; cohort programs, in which students start and finish their coursework as a group; tutoring; workforce development; and career placement. The college even offers nontraditional students credit for previous military and work experience through what’s called “prior learning assessment.”

For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs and resources, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

April 18 open house at Pellissippi State for adult learners

Pellissippi State Community College hosts a special open house for adult learners 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

The open house is free and takes place in the College Center of the Goins Administration Building on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Adult students (those age 24 or older) are invited.

RSVP to attend the open house at www.pstcc.edu/adult.

Participants may bring copies of their transcripts for an informal evaluation of potential college credit. The event also will include information sessions throughout the day:

  • 10:15-11 a.m. and 12:15-1 p.m.—“Affording College as an Adult Learner, Prior Learning Assessment, and Transferring In and Transferring Out”
  • 11:15-noon—Programming for Adult Student Support, a program that supports degree attainment for nontraditional students at Pellissippi State

Additional information about academic departments, services, workforce development, veterans’ services, and access and diversity will be presented as well.

Pellissippi State Community College makes going back to school easier for adult learners by providing unique pathways and services for nontraditional students. The college offers many scholarships and grants for adult students, and additional financial aid is available to students who are eligible. With prior learning assessment, adult learners can receive college credit for experiences ranging from career and military training to volunteer work.

Adult students can take classes at their convenience through online learning and alternative scheduling. Some programs also are offered as cohorts, in which groups of students progress through a degree program together. Created with busy parents and working students in mind, accelerated pathway cohorts allow students go to school part time, yet earn a degree more quickly, thanks to shorter-length courses.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State pilot program to target adult learners

Adult learners at Pellissippi State Community College will have the opportunity to take part in a pilot mentoring  project designed to enhance student engagement and increase retention rates, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents. TBR is the college’s governing body.

The Student Engagement, Retention and Success grant funds a mentoring program for 50 students. The participants will be able to work closely with Pellissippi State faculty and staff to complete an academic plan, attend workshops for personal and academic development, and participate in unique social gatherings. Each participating student also will be paired with a mentor at the college.

“This project will help close the achievement gaps among underrepresented minority, adult and low-income students at Pellissippi State,” said Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity.

“It also will help increase the number of adult students currently without a degree that will find there are resources and people available to help them attain a degree, starting with community colleges.”

The program kicks off for students registering for the fall 2014 semester. Registration is going on now.

Each student who takes part in the program and meets federal financial aid guidelines receives a $500 scholarship per academic year. If the pilot is successful, the adult student learner program, Programming for Adult Student Support, will be expanded.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State offers daytime, evening GED test dates

The job market looks as if it’s picking up, and now is the time to earn your GED. Pellissippi State Community College is offering two opportunities this month—one during the day and one at night—to take the exam.

The first GED test takes place in the daytime on Saturday, June 15. The second is split between two evenings, June 27 and 28. Both tests are given at the Hardin Valley Campus.

“According to the statistics, there are more than a million working-age adults who have started but not finished the current GED test,” said Joan Newman, director of Academic Education and Adult Education. “These adults need to complete the test as soon as possible. It will open doors to college, training and better jobs.”

The June 15 test is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The June 27-28 test is 5-9:30 p.m. Cost is $65. Test takers need to register with Pellissippi State 48 hours in advance, to be age 17 or over, and to have completed an official GED practice test.

The GED test covers writing, reading, science, social studies and math. The five parts may be taken separately, but all must be passed to receive the corresponding credential.

In 2014, the GED test will change from its current format to one given entirely on a computer. The revised exam will reflect new Common Core state standards and will require higher-level math proficiency and generally be more rigorous. It also will be more expensive.

Anyone who has not completed the GED before Jan. 1, 2014, will have to start over with the new format.

“We are trying to encourage people to go ahead and take it, or finish taking it, this year,” Newman said.

Even if adults have been out of school for years, they shouldn’t fear taking the GED, she says.

“Approximately 70 percent of adults who take the GED pass,” Newman said. “Unfortunately, only about 1.5 percent of all adults who did not graduate from high school even attempt it. The odds really are in your favor, especially when you’re prepared.”

Newman said Adult Education at Pellissippi State offers several hours of instruction to students planning to take the GED. The college also provides free practice tests that often are reliable predictors of actual GED scores.

“We encourage you to study with us and, through that, build your skills, boost your confidence, and help yourself reach your goals.”

To find out more or to sign up, call Adult Education at (865) 539-7109 or the Testing Center at (865) 694-6454. To learn more about Pellissippi State programs, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: GED requirements change, free prep classes offered

What could you accomplish if you didn’t complete high school but went back and earned your GED? Quite a lot, judging by the list of successful people who did just that. They include, for starters, Delaware’s governor, the founder of Wendy’s fast food chain, a NASA astronaut and the 17th surgeon general.

The Adult Education Program at Pellissippi State Community College offers free GED preparation classes that can help you prepare for and pass the GED test and get started on the life you deserve.

Whether you need to start studying for the GED or finish taking the multipart test, now is the time to do it, says Joan Newman, the college’s director of Adult Education. The reason is simple: The current version of the test (the 2002 series) changes at the end of 2013, and any incomplete scores expire at that time.

After that, test-takers will have to start all over again with the 2014 GED. That test will be based on emerging national and state standards. It will be delivered only on computer—no paper and pencil allowed—and it will be more expensive, Newman says.

“According to the statistics, there are more than a million working-age adults who have started but not finished the current GED test,” she said. “These adults need to complete the test as soon as possible. It will open doors to college, training and better jobs for them.”

The current GED arranged through the college is $65. The test contains five parts. They may be taken separately, but all parts must be passed to receive the corresponding credential.

The GED preparation classes offered at Pellissippi State are free.

“Our GED classes are also small in size,” said Newman, “and our teachers are knowledgeable, encouraging, and caring. They know how to work with adults and teach the material students need in order to pass the GED tests. Many students are ready to take the GED after only two to 12 weeks of study.”

Day and evening GED prep classes are available at several locations in the Knoxville area, and new student orientation sessions take place weekly. One-on-one tutoring is available, as are computer programs that students can access outside of class.

Instructors are available to help students reach their goals after passing the test, by connecting them with a Tennessee Career Center for employment information or a postsecondary institution such as Pellissippi State to enroll in a training program or college classes.

For information about class locations and upcoming orientation sessions, call the Adult Education Program at (865) 539-7109. To learn more about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State offers free GED prep amid increasing state standards

Pellissippi State Community College’s Adult Education program offers free classes for the General Educational Development exam, a test adults might want to take sooner rather than later.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Adult Education division is preparing for major changes to the GED test to take effect in 2014.

“We encourage eligible Tennesseans who have not earned their GED to do so now,” said Commissioner Karla Davis. “Beginning January 1, 2014, the GED test will cost more, must be taken on a computer and will contain significant content changes.”

Pellissippi State’s free program offers small class sizes, individualized tutoring and computer tutorials.

“Our program will work with you toward a brighter future—whether it is to become employed, find a better job, or enroll in a training program or postsecondary education,” said Joan Newman, director of Academic Testing and Adult Education at Pellissippi State.

The GED test is undergoing its biggest overhaul since the credentialing test began in 1942. The revised test will measure knowledge and core skills that more closely reflect common core state standards, which is the body of information young people are expected to learn in school and need for success in college and the workforce.

The 2014 test will be more rigorous in general and requires higher-level math proficiency. As before, the new GED test covers these subject areas: writing, reading, science, social studies and math.

Pellissippi State’s GED preparation is available both day and evening hours at several locations throughout Knoxville. Enrollment is open to everyone, and classes are taught by small-group or one-on-one instruction.

Pellissippi State also offers a free practice test that, according to Newman, provides a reliable predictor of actual GED scores.

To find out more or to sign up, call (865) 694-6400.

Adult Education program at Pellissippi State offers free GED preparation

Thinking about earning your GED this year? The Adult Education program at Pellissippi State Community College can give you the help you need to succeed. Even better, GED support at Pellissippi State is free.

GED preparation is available both day and evening hours at several locations throughout Knoxville. Enrollment is open to everyone, and classes are taught by small-group or one-on-one instruction.

Even if you’ve been out of school for years, there’s no reason to fear the GED, says Joan Newman, director of Academic Testing and Adult Education.

“Approximately 70 percent of adults who take the GED pass,” she said. “Unfortunately, only about 1.5 percent of all adults who did not graduate from high school even attempt it. The odds really are in your favor, especially when you’re prepared.”

Pellissippi State also offers a free practice test that, according to Newman, provides a reliable predictor of actual GED scores.

Don’t put it off any longer. To find out more or to sign up, call (865) 694-6400.