State education department recognizes The Literacy Project’s programs as ‘exemplary’

  • ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/15/2021 3:31:21 PM

GREENFIELD — Many aspects of The Literacy Project’s adult education programs received an “exemplary” rating in a recent quality review conducted by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The Literacy Project, which is based out of 15 Bank Row in Greenfield but also has classrooms in Orange, Amherst, Northampton and Ware, serves adult students who need a second chance to earn their high school equivalency diploma. All classes are free and open to the public.

Executive Director Judith Roberts said the program quality review was conducted by DESE’s Adult Community Learning Services, the division that funds adult basic education programs across the state. She said the review is done every five years, and it is “crucial” to funding.

“We are delighted that DESE recognized the dedication to teaching and learning that everyone at The Literacy Project shares,” Roberts said. “The success of our students is at the center of everything we do.”

The four-member review team held a meeting with The Literacy Project’s leadership team and separate meetings with each group, including teachers, advisors and students, querying them about the work of the program. The team visited each of The Literacy Project’s online Zoom classes to observe them, and they reviewed curriculum materials and lesson plans.

The review team will submit a full written report to The Literacy Project in eight to 10 weeks.

“The Literacy Project has made a significant impact in my life,” said Jeremy Masoloski, a recent graduate of The Literacy Project’s Greenfield program. “I have learned so much in just a matter of months, everything from writing skills to algebra. I graduated Jan. 1 and I am now enrolled in Holyoke Community College.”

Masoloski said the teachers and staff are “very dedicated” to helping students reach their educational goals. He said The Literacy Project is a great place for anyone looking to build a solid foundation for their future.

Joshua Freund, The Literacy Project’s Greenfield site director and instructor, said adult education, like all forms of public education, should respond to the will and needs of the community at large.

“These formal review processes are an opportunity to evaluate and ensure that we are serving the communities of Franklin and Hampshire counties to the best of our individual and collective ability,” he said.

“We have spent many hours reflecting on what we teach and how we teach,” added The Literacy Project Program Director Margaret Anderson. “We’ve named and claimed our strengths, and we’ve identified and corrected gaps in our practice. We’ve deepened our understanding of the critical role we each play in helping our students transform their lives through the power of education.”

The Literacy Project has rolling admission and is currently accepting students for its online classes, which it has been holding since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the area. Since then, The Literacy Project has distributed 76 laptops as computer scholarships to allow students to study from home. Students have also been provided with calculators, workbooks, notebooks and novels for classes in which they read together.

“We know that access to education is now more important than ever for our adult students to obtain jobs with a living wage,” Roberts said. “The Literacy Project’s Zoom classes build a learning community among students and teachers.”

Roberts said the nonprofit is funded by DESE, Greenfield’s Community Development Block Grant program, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the United Way of Franklin County, as well as through with individual donations.

For more information, call 413-774-3935 or visit literacyproject.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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