The schedule of classes offered through the Adult Education and Literacy Center of McAlester Public Schools is in full swing. Morning, afternoon and evening classes are offered at a variety of sites and times. According to Vanessa Cummings, Director of Adult Education, the Payne Learning Center, 1600 N. D St., was donated to McAlester Public Schools by Tom and Wanda Payne and provides a new venue for programming. The Adult Education and Literacy office is located there along with the GED Testing Center. Several adult classes are scheduled at various times there. Other classes are held at 1201 Wade Watts Ave. and at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center at 501 S. C St. Evening satellite classes are offered in Wilburton, Hartshorne, Eufaula and Checotah.

Cummings said the implementation of a managed entry system of enrollment is new in the program this year for all classes. Instead of the past policy of open entry, students must now enroll within a specified timeframe for each class. At intake, students complete enrollment forms and are given an assessment to determine individual needs and to provide information for planning a curriculum that is tailored to help each student achieve their personal goals. Classes are free and are offered year round to address the varying needs and schedules of community members.

All classes are designed to assist students with basic academic skills, such as reading, math and and language skills. Classes also provide an opportunity for students to improve in the areas of family literacy, job readiness, and to prepare to take assessments such as the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), the Para Pro, or the GED test.

Effective Oct. 1, the fee for initial GED testing rose to $50. For students that have completed the requirements of an Adult Education class, the fee is at a reduced rate of $45. Retest fees will be $20 for each of the areas assessed, not to exceed a total of $50 at any one session. The test is given monthly and all candidates must complete registration applications at least two weeks prior to the test date at the Payne Learning Center. The McAlester Regional Literacy Council offers scholarships for students who have attended classes and are ready to take the GED test. Anyone interested in contributing to the scholarship fund may do so through the Adult Education Office at the Payne Education Center.

The McAlester Regional Literacy Council continues to partner with McAlester Public Schools to host a graduation for those successfully completing the GED each year. The commencement ceremony for the class of 2005 is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2006, at the S. Arch Thompson Auditorium.

For more information concerning class times, locations and the GED test, call the Adult Learning Center at 423-4008 or stop by the new office.

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