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Health Program is a Good Fit for Adult Education

by Susan Erno 

“The challenge would be for teachers to find time to meet around their schedules.” 

There are a fair number of opportunities to enhance adult literacy programs through grants, pilot projects, and local and state initiatives. As a busy administrator, I look carefully at these potential funding sources before deciding which to go after.

The HEAL: BCC project was immediately appealing because it was based on sound research and was sponsored by World Education, an organization known for its quality work. Also, a valued staff member had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, so this disease became very personal. Here are the questions we considered before making our decision:

Will it enhance the overall program? HEAL: BCC provides field-tested health education curriculum and support for teachers. These resources stay with the program. In addition, teachers get the chance to work together to plan, implement, and evaluate the curriculum. Finally, teachers will learn valuable skills and are compensated for their time.

Will it benefit the student population? The correlation between education level and access to medical services is very strong. The less education an individual has, the less likely she or he is to seek medical care, particularly preventive services. We were fairly certain that students would benefit from the emphasis on wellness in the HEAL:BCC curriculum.

Do we have the capacity and sufficient resources, including time? We have a center-based program with space for the team meetings, health wall, and boxes of project materials. We have the student population. A new session began in January, around the time HEAL:BCC was scheduled to begin. The challenge would be for teachers to find time to meet around their schedules. 

Is there strong interest among staff members? Originally five teachers expressed a strong interest in the project. For various reasons, three teachers have become the core HEAL:BCC project. They are enthusiastic and supportive of each other. This project works well in no small way because we have a conscientious project manager who maintains communication between team members, program administration, and World Education.

Is the application process manageable and are the odds for acceptance in our favor? The application was quite simple. HEAL:BCC seemed to be a good fit for our program. Since they were interested in sites in Virginia, we definitely had a good chance. In January 2001, Charlottesville City Schools Adult Education Program was delighted to become one of the HEAL:BCC sites. We hope to share what we learn with the whole staff. 

Susan Erno is a regional instructional specialist for Planning District 10 and coordinator for the Charlottesville City Schools’ Adult Education Program. She has 14 years experience in the field of adult education from volunteer tutor and teacherAdult Basic Education, GED®, and Workplace classes—to teacher trainer, curriculum developer, and researcher. 

First published in the Spring 2001 HEAL: BCC Newsletter. Courtesy of the HEAL Project and World Education Inc. Reprinted with permission of the author.

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