Beaufort Adult Education program earns state honors

From staff reports

The Beaufort County School District’s adult education program has been recognized with a statewide award from the South Carolina Department of Education for developing innovative solutions during the pandemic.

The Stepped Up to the Plate award recognized the district’s adult education program for increasing English as a Second Language (ESOL) enrollment and educational gains, culminating in a new U.S. Citizenship class.

The successes were made by implementing a new platform, Burlington English, which served to foster an online community of students grouped with others having similar proficiency levels, as well as improved online testing opportunities.

Additionally, adult education teacher Catherine Porto built a cohesive ESOL student community during the pandemic by scheduling various virtual group events to include conversation practice hour, American movie nights, and group-chosen reading. These efforts ultimately led to the decision to develop a U.S. Citizenship class.

After receiving U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) training, adult education teacher Susanna Theo built student focused courseware directly aligned with USCIS’s requirements and mission. The resulting U.S. Citizenship class is focused on building knowledge and awareness in U.S. History, English grammar, and American cultural nuances.

When describing the U.S. Citizenship class, Adult Education Director Juanita Murrell said, “It is a thriving course where our students feel welcome.”

Murrell credits receiving the Stepped Up to the Plate award to the work of her staff. “We are honored to have received this recognition,” she said. “Our team works collaboratively to create opportunities for all students which is really what this award stands for.”

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