The mission of Gardner Pilot Academy is to provide quality learning and social opportunities for our diverse student body, engage families, and offer health and community services through innovative programs and partnerships. In order to achieve its mission, GPA makes a strong effort to involve parents in their children’s education and engage community members in the school environment. Thus, the principle goals of the Adult Education Program at the Gardner are: (1) to promote adult literacy, (2) to connect adults to the workforce and community resources, (3) to empower them in the community to advocate for themselves and their family.
The ESOL program at GPA advocates for learning through investigation while building skills for independence and life-long learning. The program challenges students to set and meet personal educational goals. The emphasis of the GPA ESOL program is to develop students’ oral communication skills (listening and speaking) both inside and outside the classroom. Emphasis is also placed on improving students’ reading and writing skills. In addition, the program explores and honors the experiences and knowledge that every student brings to the program. English language skills are taught using themes and content related to the interests, needs, and experience of the learners, including their educational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Because our program puts a strong emphasis on learner participation, we encourage our students to come to class prepared with ideas for areas of learning that would be useful to them.GPA has been very successful in achieving its goal of offering a quality, well-organized, and academically rich program that meets the needs of its participants. Classes are taught by well-trained teachers, have up-to-date assessment tools, and use theme-based curricula. Our students are hardworking community members aspiring to learn English so that they can succeed in their jobs, provide for their families, participate in their communities, and help their children to succeed.
- Learning through investigation
- Building skills for independence and life-long learning
- Challenging students to set and meet personal educational goals
- Choosing content with students to meet their needs and goals, with special guidance for those new to the U.S.
- Consistently emphasizing the development of students’ oral communication skills, both listening and speaking (in and outside of classes), with a strong secondary emphasis on reading and writing skills
- Differentiating between the program learning levels based primarily on oral communication abilities
- Using authentic assessment activities to monitor students’ English progress
- Learning survival skills, learning about other cultures, learning about oneself, linking classroom learning with real-life needs, participating in activities that are consistent and cohesive
- Evaluating the success of the program based on students’ satisfaction with the program and their perceived progress
- Challenging students to make comparisons between their home language(s) and English in order to strengthen their awareness and understanding of both
- Adapting other ESOL curricula to fit the needs of our students
- Exploring and honoring the experiences and knowledge that every student brings to the program
- Accepting that an adult learner’s educational progress may be hampered by many outside influences, both personal and societal
- Collaborating with other people, agencies, and institutions that can support the goals of our students and the improvement of their life circumstances
- Recognizing that adult learners also want to have fun