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ESOL, GED programs returning to Mattapan Family Service Center after funding reinstated

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 21, 2012 04:04 PM

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English-language classes and GED programs in Mattapan that were shuttered in late June because of funding cuts will be returning to the neighborhood.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded funding to ABCD’s Mattapan Family Service Center.

"As a result of an unanticipated increase in the state line item for adult basic education programs, the Department was able to provide support to ABCD’s Mattapan Adult Basic Education Program," said JC Considine, spokesman for the education department. "ABCD Mattapan had been the next in line program during the recent competitive application process. We’re pleased to be able to provide ABCD Mattapan with this support."

The $175,000 annually for five years will fund the center’s programs that benefit the neighborhood’s Haitian and immigrant population, allowing them to learn English and earn their high school degrees, said a press release from ABCD.

John J. Drew, who heads ABCD, said in a statement that his agency is grateful for the support.

“Without these classes, the residents of one of Boston poorest neighborhoods are in danger of being lost to America," Drew said in a statement. "Learning English and getting educational credentials are critical steps in building a life in this country.”

In June DESE withdrew funding to the center’s programs, citing poor performance.

DESE said 31 organizations in Boston submitted applications for the department's Adult Basic Education Grant and 22 were funded, not including ABCD Mattapan.

“We have many residents who dropped out of school and now see that they need that GED to get a foothold in the work world or go to college,” Milagros Arbaje-Thomas, executive director of the center, said in a statement. “Mattapan is home to many immigrants...numerous Haitian residents came to Mattapan after the earthquake and are seeking to rebuild their lives. They desperately need basic educational opportunities.”

All programs that applied were evaluated and scored based on criteria that include: attendance, average attended hours, pre and post testing percentage, learner gains, setting and meeting student goals, and Educational Functioning Level completion.

The Mattapan program, according to the state, scored a 60.5.

The lowest score of an ESOL program that was funded in June was the International Institute of Boston that had a score of 63.5.

The highest score obtained by a funded program was by the Catholic Charitable - El Centro that had a score of 95.5.

The program, in the past, has served up to 100 adult-students, according to ABCD.

To read about the program’s recent graduation, click here.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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