Thanks to these partners for their continued involvement in our community and education.
Learning continues at AC
Students prepare for collegeBy Brad Newman
When Alicia Spoll decided to pursue a teaching degree, she knew she first had to overcome one obstacle: math.
The Amarilloan avoided math classes when she took classes at Central Connecticut State University in the 1980s. And her high school math instruction was less than sufficient.
"I figured I'd have to go hunting around for a tutor," Spoll said.
But Spoll found arithmetic aid in Amarillo College's developmental education courses.
AC offers developmental education classes - designed to prepare students for college-level course work - in math, reading and writing.
Spoll began with basic math and this spring, she finished intermediate algebra, the highest level of developmental education math offered at AC.
"I'm so grateful this program is here," Spoll said. "They practically make it impossible for you to fail."
Thousands of students each semester enroll in AC's developmental education classes.
"Our mission is to prepare under-prepared students for college," said Judy Johnson, chairwoman of AC's ACcess division, which oversees the developmental education programs.
"All our students have the potential for college, and we are the link for those students who need assistance," she said.
AC offers its developmental education classes in both traditional classroom environments and in an open computer lab, the ACcess Learning Lab.
The ACcess Learning Lab, open 62 hours each week, allows students to take classes at their own pace, but with one-on-one instruction.
Most colleges and universities in Texas have some sort of developmental education program.
But AC's program, which began in 1974, includes one of the broadest and highest-certified curricula in the state.
All AC's developmental education programs this spring received full certification from the National Association for Developmental Education.
AC started the rigorous certification process in 2001.
"This certification award represents tangibly that AC's developmental education programs are top of the line," Johnson said.
Johnson said about 84 percent of students who come to AC need some sort of development course.
"Some people need just a few hours of brushup work and some need several classes," she said. "We work with students at whatever level they're at."
This spring, AC enrolled about 2,190 students in developmental classes, according to data from AC's office institutional research.
"There's so much you need to know before you can take college classes," said Ladelle Riles, 27, of Amarillo.
Riles, a graduate of Tascosa High School, has taken a developmental reading and a developmental math class from AC on her way to becoming a surgical technician.
"I'm proud that I got up and got started," she said. "These classes are paving the way for my future."
AC offers developmental education classes throughout both its summer sessions and during the fall and spring semesters.
Celebrate Education is a yearlong community project to encourage lifelong learning and help raise the education level in the Texas Panhandle.
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