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Anderson Valley Adult School

Anderson Valley Adult School is located in a small rural agricultural community in Northern California. In the last twenty-five years the demographics have rapidly and dramatically changed with the grape industry boom. The resident population of Mexican immigrant farm workers has risen from a few families to well over half the population of Anderson Valley. The parents of the elementary school children have an average of a third-grade education before coming to the United States and thus have extremely low literacy rates and need to learn English, basic skills, and to navigate the U.S. culture.

In our ESL classes, the thematic life-skill oriented units lend themselves very effectively to projects that ask the students to choose from the many pressing areas of need in their lives, set/maintain goals, problem-solve, and utilize conflict resolution that take the unit's academic assignments out of the classroom, into the community on fieldtrips, and into the student's daily lives. The units studied in a school year are determined by a needs assessment where the students vote to choose the thematic units. However, in our GED and Citizenship classes, the attainment of the skills needed is already outlined. We try to tailor each student's needs toward success in these more academic pursuits by building on their strengths and bolstering their self-confidence. We make all of the information they have to learn as applicable to real life skills as possible so that they are not learning only to pass the tests. For OED and ESL Citizenship classes the students' budgeting time, integrating studies into daily lives, and tracking of their own progress are integral in the curriculum.

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