PCC receives Family Literacy Grant

The North Carolina Community College System awarded Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Adult Basic Skills program $37,135 for its “Contextualized Family Literacy” grant proposal to expand its modified family literacy program. Called Adults and Children in Education (ACE), the program meets at Earl Bradsher Preschool on Morgan Street in Roxboro. Although Fall classes have begun, enrollment remains open through Oct. 31.

Receipt of the grant made it possible for PCC to extend the class schedule to four days per week; to expand the curriculum to include college and career readiness instruction and computer literacy skills; and to expand its enrollment to 25 participants annually.

“Students who enroll into ACE learn that they are their child’s first and most important teacher. They learn knowledge, skills and strategies to help their child prepare for or be successful in school, to help themselves earn their high school equivalency credential through GED® testing, and develop skills to be career and college ready,” said Debra Harlow, Dean of the Adult Basic Skills program at PCC.

PCC employed Ronat Troy as the full-time Family Literacy Instructor/Assistant Coordinator and Adult Basic Skills Instructor, using grant funds and adult education funds. Troy is responsible for delivering the family-centered instruction to participants. To enroll or for more information, contact Troy at Earl Bradsher Preschool, Monday-Thursday at 599-7585 or Sylvia Gault at Piedmont Community College, (336) 322-2155.

Started during fall semester 2007, the class originally met two days per week providing instruction for GED® testing and family-focused sessions. Funding for ACE from that time through spring semester 2013 was provided through a partnership between PCC’s Adult Basic Skills program and Person County Partnership for Children.

The Person County Department of Social Services, Work First, provided referrals and assisted with lunch costs for parents enrolled. Motheread® provided early childhood reading instruction to parents about reading with children. In addition, Motheread® gave each parent a copy of the children’s book that was the topic of each family-focused session so the parent was able to begin or add to their children’s library of books in their home.

Family Literacy’s national models include adult education instruction for those seeking a high school equivalency credential, early childhood instruction, parent and child interaction time, and parenting. ACE does not provide the parent and child interaction time because not all of the students/adults have children enrolled at Earl Bradsher Preschool and because ACE was funded with local adult education funds. Because of this model, state level adult education leaders were inspired to consider a second model of family literacy for funding which became known as “Contextualized Family Literacy.”

This model includes contextually appropriate adult literacy instruction with a dual focus on the contexts of the family and career education. Family-centered programs include these elements:
• family-centered content that includes training for parents regarding how to be the primary teachers for their children and more involved partners in their education;
• family-centered content that includes adult education instruction that strengthens the transition of adults into career pathways and/or postsecondary education;
• integration of occupational exploration and career planning ; and
• a sufficient number of hours to show progress, with at least ten 10 contact hours per week in contextually appropriate adult education instruction focusing on family and career education.

In addition to grant funds and PCC’s Adult Basic Skills funding, ACE is offered in collaboration with the following partners who have representatives on its Advisory Committee: Earl Bradsher Pre-School, Person County Partnership for Children, Person County Department of Social Services, Motheread®, PCC’s Student Development, and PCC’s Educational Opportunity Center/TRIO Program.

“Both the national family literacy model and the contextualized family literacy model have the same common purpose: to provide education and training for parents about how to be the primary educator/teacher of their children and to be full partners in their child’s education,” said Harlow, who developed and supervises the ACE family literacy class and the grant project. 

Photo information

Photo 1: Ronat Troy is the instructor for the ACE program at Earl Bradsher School.
Photo 2: Ronat Troy and ACE students at work