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Westonka ABE Classes Move to New Location

by Lorrie Ham

School is just around the corner for students interested in taking one of Westonka’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes. After being held at Mound Westonka High School the past two years, classes will be offered in a new computer learning lab in the center of town at the Western Community Action Network (WeCAN).

“We’re excited to kick off this year’s program in our new location,” said Westonka Community Ed Director Joel Dahl. “We’re centrally located so hopefully that will be more convenient for our adult students.”

Two different classes will be offered this year, free of charge, to anyone who is interested. English Language Learners (ELL), which gives students an opportunity to improve their English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, will be held Mondays beginning October 7. Class will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

A combination GED prep and academic skills class will be held Tuesdays beginning October 8. This self-paced program is designed to help students study and prepare for the GED exam and be better prepared for post-secondary education by improving reading, math and writing skills. Class will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Dahl noted that the standards for the GED exam will be changing next year, so anyone who has started the process is encouraged to take the test by the end of 2013.

Classes typically have between five and 10 students, said Dahl, which allows for plenty of one-on-one interaction with the teachers. Since individual plans will be developed for each student, participants can begin class any night they choose. They can also attend for as long as necessary. Classes will be offered throughout the school year.

Westonka Community Ed is now a member of the WEST ABE Consortium. Funding for the brand new computers set up in the new learning lab came from the Consortium. WeCAN provided the build-out of the lab in its current space, which Community Ed will lease. During the day, the lab will be used by WeCAN clients for job searches and research.

“Partnering with Community Ed provides another service for area residents at our one-stop opportunity center,” said WeCAN Executive Director Leah Weycker. “We continue to look for additional resources to offer our community.”

Neighboring districts like Orono, Delano and Wayzata are also in the WEST ABE Consortium, which means that Westonka residents can also attend classes in one of those communities if it works better for their schedule, said Dahl.

“We are so excited about our new partnership with WeCAN,” said Westonka Community Ed Director Joel Dahl. “It’s really a great connection.”

No registration is necessary to attend a class. Students are encouraged to show up at 5:30 p.m. for class on a Monday or Tuesday night. Classes will be held at WeCAN on the east end of the Stonegate Plaza, 5213 Shoreline Drive, in the same building as the Westonka Early Childhood Center (ECC). Although childcare is not offered at this time, the district is looking at the possibility of offering childcare at the ECC during classes, said Dahl.

“There are no qualifications and everything is provided,” said Dahl. “Students should just come to class ready to study and learn.”

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Westonka Community Ed at 952-491-8029 (voice mail) or 952-491-8040.

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