"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work. The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school, our website will feature an article on one of our schools or departments explaining why their site is a Great Place To Work!
by Dr. Mary Gaston, director, and the Adult Learning Team
The Adult Learning Center is a great place to work. Every day, we get to help build stronger communities and better futures, one student at a time. Ms. Cindy Whittemore, one of our part-time evening instructors, said, "Adults are so appreciative of us wanting to be here to help them reach their goals and complete their educational journey. To me, it's such a privilege to be a part of their journey."
To help you get to know us better, we wanted to share some things you may not know about the Adult Learning Center:
- This year, our students range in age from 17 to 83.
- We offer morning classes, evening classes, Saturday classes, and even some distance learning classes.
- We offer classes at our main Northside Center site, Goodwill in Easley, Pickens Middle School, Central Elementary School, and at Pickens County Prison. We provide funding for the GED and ESL instructors at the Parenting/Family Literacy Program at Crosswell.
- We help adults: improve basic reading and numeracy skills; prepare to take the GED, WorkKeys, or ParaPro test; earn a high school diploma; or improve English speaking skills.
- We typically serve at least 800 students in a year.
- In 2013-14, we awarded 123 high school credentials (88 GED and 35 diploma); and 270 National Career Ready Certificates (based on WorkKeys assessments).
- Our GED pass rate is above the national average.
- We are an Official GED Testing Center, an ACT WorkKeys testing site, and an ETS ParaPro testing site.
- We are one of 4 Regional Adult Education Technical Assistance Centers in SC, providing professional development to other programs.
Our Adult Learning team is made up of 28 employees; 22 of these are part-time. But because all 28 are extraordinary people who work with their hearts as well as their minds, Pickens Adult Learning is consistently one of the higher performing programs in the state. We would like to introduce you to two of our team members.
Ms. Hattie Williams is officially the Adult Learning Center Secretary, although she does so much more. She is a true mentor, counselor, and friend to our students. Her colleagues describe her as a bright light, a lighthouse, and the heartbeat of Adult Education and they appreciate her warm smile and hospitable nature. She works hard at getting to know each and every student who comes through the door, learns what obstacles they are facing, and then offers a hand up to each and every one (often without others knowing). One of our teachers said, "Ms. Williams has a huge heart. When you walk through the doors and are greeted by her, she puts a piece of you in her heart. She will remember you and you will know that you are important to her." Ms. Williams has been a dedicated and faithful employee of our school district for over 38 years, and 20 of those years have been with the Adult Education program.
A former East End Elementary teacher, Ms. Christa Brumfield has been a part-time instructor for the Adult Learning Center for the last 7 years. She currently serves as the Main Site GED Instructor for the day program. In 2014, she was named as the SC Adult Education Region One Part-Time Teacher of the Year. She is described by several of her colleagues as a "born teacher," who is willing to mentor and assist other teachers whenever needed. Ms. Brumfield is always looking for innovative ways to reach adult learners, and she does this in such a caring and compassionate way that it endears her to students as well as colleagues. Christa currently serves as the Common Planning Team Leader, and is also the Treasurer for the SC Association for Adult & Community Educators. One of Christa's colleagues had this to say, "Ms. Brumfield 's leadership as a friend and colleague serves as a catalyst for all of us as educators to go above and beyond for our students. She leads by example. She is not only eager to help students, but she is also resourceful and helpful as a colleague. She is masterful in problem-solving and better than that, she is never too busy to assist fellow teachers. She often leads in our staff development and incorporates fun and helpful suggestions for classroom teachers."
Partnership and collaboration are an integral part of the Adult Learning Center's success. We value our partnerships with organizations such as TriCounty Technical College, WorkLink, Palmetto Youth Connections, Alliance Pickens, United Way, Department of Employment and Workforce, and the Dream Center, to name a few. To see how we work with our partners to help build better Pickens County futures, please take a few minutes to view this story:
As you can see, we are truly blessed here at the Adult Learning Center; we have a great place to work with wonderful people