GED Programs: Separate and Unequal, The Change Agent - September 2009 GED PLUS MISSION : To equip young adults with the necessary academic qualifications, social and work-related competencies, and support systems necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency and to reach their long-term personal, educational and career goals. The GED Plus Program promotes empowerment of inner city youth through academic, legal, social, and career services, support and guidance. We confront the mitigating circumstances and poor choices that caused students to drop out of high school and encourage these young adults to look beyond the ABE class and the GED credential towards being happy, fulfilled and productive members of society. GED Plus provides a non-judgmental learning environment where students build confidence, expect more of themselves, and can make mistakes and still recover within our programmatic safety net.PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS :
- Out of School Youth, ages 16-24
- Preference given to residents of Boston
Our program is freePROGRAM APPLICATION PROCEDURE :
- Telephone conversation with the Director or Office Manager regarding eligibility/status
- An interview appointment and completion of application forms
- A TABE test, formation of an individualized service plan and an orientation to the services available here
- Enrollment when space is available or wait list, if necessary
- Completion of an essay on the first class day
CLASS TIME and LOCATIONS:
- Mornings, from 9AM to 12:15, Tuesday through Thursday at 7 Palmer St. in Dudley Square, Roxbury
- Afternoons from 1 to 4 PM Tuesday through Thursday at Grove Hall Community Center, 51 Geneva Ave., Grove Hall, Dorchester
- Mornings, from 9am to 1 pm, Tuesday through Thursday at Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, 950 Blue Hill Ave., Dorchester (Franklin Field)
- Evenings from 6PM to 9PM, Tuesday through Thursday at ESAC headquarters, 3313 Washington St., Jamaica Plain (near Green Street)
OTHER SERVICES :
- Individualized services with a case manager
- Employment and career exploration assistance
- Referrals to legal, medical, housing, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Youth Services, Department of Social Services, Department of Transitional Assistance, parenting, trauma and domestic abuse services
- Application assistance for training programs, colleges and financial aid
- Official GED Practice Tests
- GED testing registration
FUNDING : GED Plus is a Massachusetts Department of Education / Adult and Community Learning Program. Additional funding comes from the Mayor's Office of Jobs and Community Service Community Human Services and Alternative Education Initiative programs, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, The Clipper Ship Foundation, The Hayden Foundation, Massachusetts Shannon grants, the Boston Foundation’s StreetSafe Program, Boston’s Ten Point Coalition, and the Ratshesky Foundation.UNIQUE PROGRAM ELEMENTS :
- Our present curriculum is based on The Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education's Adult Basic Education Curriculum Frameworks and employs math and writing journals, work binders, portfolios of best work , validation of student personal language while recognizing the need for professional presentation , teamwork in grammar-attack games , emphasis on the reading/writing connection , nutritional challenges , role play, devising math problems and worksheets for fellow students, and discussing the origins of the urban setting and how climate affects culture.
- We are a collaborative effort across city neighborhoods, drawing not only on the population of students in those neighborhoods and associated with those collaborators, but also on the services provided by each of the agencies. Examples: students from Greater Egleston Community High School, of which ESAC was the founding agency and Community Academy , a school for “difficult” students, sponsored by DYS in its partnership with Roxbury Youthworks.
- The educational approach of GED Plus is a combination of group and one-on-one instruction, with a focus on reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, mathematics, social studies and science. Students are asked to use reasoning, investigative skills and journaling in all subject areas. What is different in our classes is the amount of individual attention afforded each student when daily classes have less than 10 students at each session.
- We combine structure, standards, flexibility and student accountability as the foundations of our student requirements. We consider individual student circumstances in regards to attendance and participation. For instance, one who is working fulltime may attend only 2 days a week; someone who is in violation of DYS rules and must go to lockup for a short period of time will be provided “homework” until he/she returns to class. Other flexible/structured aspects of the program are:
- Three choices for class time – morning, evening, afternoon – and four choices for class site.
- Rolling Enrollments
- Students are self-paced, and not locked into specific time frames.
- GED Plus staff assists GED students with the test application process and teach test-taking strategies. On test day, they offer notes of encouragement, and then follow-up conversations on how the testing went. Annually, the program holds a graduation ceremony to give public recognition to the progress and accomplishments. In other words, we support the students at every step along the way.
- Our academic outcomes statistics speak of our success in several areas. GED Plus has produced 289 graduates in 14 years.
- Our classes are oversubscribed, with ongoing wait lists. Former students refer their friends, siblings, and neighbors to our classes.
- GED Plus students are prime examples of city dwellers who fit the profile of oft-quoted statistics: They may have failed the MCAS, were either excluded or dropped out of high school, are living below the poverty line, have been victims and witnesses to the violence, and fear for the lives of those closest to them. Our student population encompasses the most at-risk youths in our city as seen in the following statistics from the 2010-11 year: lack of basic skills (92.3%), court-involved (48.6%), pregnant or parenting (36.8%), residents of public housing (42.5%), and homeless (8.5%).
HISTORY : The GED Plus program is a program of ESAC (Ecumenical Social Action Committee The program grew from participation in the Common Ground Project from 1995-97, which was supported by Management Consultant Services/Boston Foundation, the Department of Public Health, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay . This citywide initiative supported 18 community-based organizations to expand their organizational capacity by collaborative approaches to meeting human service needs. Establishing GED Plus in 1997 was a natural progression of the shared philosophy and commitment to build new models of integrated coordinated service delivery through mission driven collaborations and open, inclusive management practices.
Jason Marshall, Director
7 Palmer St.
Telephone: (617) 541-2639
Fax (617) 541-2660