Area residents who want to obtain their high school equivalency certificate can still safely access the services available through Missouri State University-West Plains’ (MSU-WP) Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Program, according to program coordinator Joan Wright.
Since the start of the pandemic last year, she said, AEL instructors have implemented new protocols from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) allowing them to provide in-person classes in a safe environment.
These protocols, which include masking and social distancing, are in place at the program’s eight locations in southern Missouri: Cabool, Doniphan, Hartville, Houston, Poplar Bluff, Salem, West Plains and Willow Springs.
Instructors also put together a program that allows students to take classes remotely. These remote classes cover the same skills and information as the in-person classes, Wright said.
“These classes are being offered for students who prefer taking classes from home, whether it’s because of the pandemic or their work schedule. All they need is a reliable internet connection and a computer or tablet,” Wright said.
The AEL Program is a preparatory program for area residents who want to take the state’s high school equivalency exam, the HiSET, which is offered by MSU-WP.
The program provides assessment in reading, math and language skills and offers free training to those who are weak in any of these skills so they can successfully complete the online examination, Wright said.
In addition to the AEL Program, Wright said her department also offers college readiness programs and English Language Learners (ELL) classes.
The college readiness program provides assessment services to determine skill level and ability of area residents who want to attend college. Residents who are weak in certain academic areas can receive free help from program instructors to develop the skills needed to be successful in college, Wright said.
The ELL classes, which also are available in person and online, help students develop their conversational English skills.
“These classes provide practical training in English that will improve conversational skills and allow residents to conduct everyday business with employers, business owners, government agencies and other situations in which interaction is required,” she explained.
All services provided through the AEL Program are free due to grant funds awarded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). There is a fee for taking the HiSET test, however.
For more information about the AEL Program and its services, or to register for an orientation session, call 417-255-7744, email JoanWright@MissouriState.edu or visit blogs.wp.missouristate.edu/ael/.