New High School Equivalency Diploma classes are starting soon in Northwest Iowa. The Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program at Northwest Iowa Community College offers courses on campus in Sheldon and online.
“Most people know us as the GED program,” said Rose Postma the AEL Coordinator at NCC. “But GED is just a brand name like Kleenex.” In 2014 Iowa switched from GED to HiSET. One distinction of the HiSET is that test takers must receive instruction before testing. “One of the biggest misconceptions we encounter,” said Postma “is participants assume they can walk in, take a test and be done.” The reality is a little more complicated. It generally takes students a few months to several years to complete all five components of the HiSET. “It may seem daunting,” said Postma “but we are here to help students every step along the way.”
The AEL program also offers English as a second language classes.
Just like HSED classes, ESL classes are offered on campus and online. Additionally, students can attend ESL classes at locations throughout the community. Currently, there are ESL classes at the Sioux Center and Hartley libraries. “We are always looking for new locations and opportunities to partner with libraries, businesses, or other organizations to provide classes within our communities throughout Northwest Iowa,” said Postma. Classes are all free, but students are expected to purchase the books needed for a minimal cost.
Those interested in earning a high school diploma or in taking ESL classes, should email the AEL Program at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up for an orientation during the week of March 29.
Prospective students can also call 712-324-5066 ext.380 to speak with a HSED specialist or 712-324-5066 ext. 124 to speak with a bilingual pathways navigator about ESL classes.
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