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July 20, 2010 > Learning - a lifelong adventure

Learning - a lifelong adventure

By Suzanne Ortt

Remember ABCs, 2 + 2 = 4, reading and writing, memorizing multiplication tables. "Book learning" began then but it need not ever stop. Adult schools provide diverse educational offerings as do our communities. Libraries offer a variety of programs; two are adult literacy and language help. Watch for special events at all library branches.

Explore our communities for other riches. Local museums and historic buildings are first-rate ways to spend an hour or two, or even a day or perhaps a week. Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum History is an intriguing example. Coyote Hills and Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge is perfect for hikers and Ardenwood Historic Farm for history buffs. History and travel shows, although not hands-on, are enlightening television fare.

Adult schools are open for all, cover the basics: English as a second language (ESL), General Education Development training (GED), citizenship classes and literacy. Of course, this includes traffic schools. Add career training, health and safety and computer training to core classes and a picture emerges of adult schools. In addition to onsite courses, some online courses are available.

Hayward's Adult School principal, Ana W. Solomon, addressed the current budget crisis recently on the school's website. She stated adult schools are "a guiding light amidst economic and political storms." These schools are a significant opportunity in this economic downturn. If you want to change careers and retrain, check out adult schools. Vocational choices are plentiful. Computer classes, business courses, legal secretary or transcriber training, custodian, and web page designer are among the options. The medical field has a significant number of choices: nursing assistant, medical transcriber, medical clerk, and medical billing. Take your pick.

If you have time on your hands, broaden your horizons. Learn Vietnamese, practice watercolor painting, and cook international cuisine. To be healthier, consider karate, yoga, and kickboxing. Music lovers can liven up with Taiko drumming. Belly dancing is another energizing activity. For more relaxation, try your hand at tole painting.

Diversity and innovation continue at all campuses. Fremont Unified School District's Native American Studies Program will be re-opening after its relocation from Irvington High School to Fremont's Adult School, campus. New Haven will offer Parent Education beginning in the fall semester and hosted the summer meal program for qualified students under the age of 18. One of Hayward's unique offerings is a forklift operator training (classroom only). Several schools welcome student input for potential class subjects.

This summer, courses have been limited, in variety and in length of the terms, due to the economic downturn. Fremont, offering a summer program this year, has 711 students, down 2,817 from summer 2009. Class choices were significantly cut which accounts for the decline. New Haven has limited classes this summer and the enrollment is 173, compared to last summer's 804. During the regular 2009 school years, students numbered from approximately 2,600 (New Haven) to 9,300 (Fremont).

Adult schools have financial problems but are adapting by limiting classes and instituting registration fees.

In conclusion, consider this quote from New Haven's website. "You can continue learning and studying using resources such as the local library, educational activities, you tube videos and podcasts on the internet, by watching educational programs on TV, visiting the museum, and much more. No matter what you do, just keep learning!"

Fremont Adult School
4700 Calaveras Avenue, Fremont
(510) 791-5841

Hayward Adult School
22100 Princeton Street, Hayward
(510) 293-8595

Milpitas Adult School
1331 E. Calaveras Boulevard, Milpitas
(408) 945-2392

New Haven Adult School
600 G Street, Union City
(510) 489-2185

Newark Adult School
35777 Cedar Boulevard, Newark
(510) 818-3700

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