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Ed Center to add new learning technology

The Education Center is ramping up for the future.

As part of the successful Department of Local Affairs Beanpole II WiFi grant awarded to the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County, the Education Center will create and showcase the latest in visual communications technology with three new broadcast/receive video/teleconferencing classrooms.

As a new member of the 4-Corners Technology Consortium, the Education Center will be linked with 14 other sites in this region to the College of Eastern Utah — a community college — and the University of Southern Utah for access to their fall 2010 schedule of live broadcast and computer-based classes and programs.

This new community asset will afford local access to a broad menu of classes and programs, certificates and degrees. The new technology will allow the Education Center to serve a single learner without concern for minimum class enrollment numbers, as previously required. It will also allow the business community to communicate in real-time with global markets — customers, vendors and distributors. It will be a powerful tool for economic and workforce development.

Additionally, a grant is pending that would fund a new high-end computing laboratory that would accommodate computer-based, self-instructional programming that displays virtual and simulated job-related physical objects, processes and environments.

If all goes as planned, an open house in late August or early September will be announced so the community can preview and experience these new education, training and enterprise tools.

Summer hours for the Education Center will be limited to allow for installation and testing of this new technology and, if grant applications are successful, will include classroom modifications and upgrades. The Ed Center will be closed the month of July. In August the hours will be Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon, and closed on Friday.

The shorter summer hours will also allow the ACEC staff to take a much-deserved breather, a few days off, and time for reflection of the successes of the Ed Center’s programs and services for 2009-10 school year.

• The GED program graduated 21 students, which is the highest number in the Ed Center’s history, and experienced a 75-percent increase in those headed toward post-secondary education.

• The Archuleta County High School graduated 13 students.

• The Worldwide Interactive Network (WIN) and ACT WorkKeys programs contributed to 15 students earning their ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) and CareerReady Colorado Certificates (CRCC).

• The English Language Learners (ELL) program saw growth requiring the need for a second instructor.

• The tutoring program served 25 percent of the elementary and intermediate student bodies.

• The After-School Constructive Enrichment Activities program, headed up by Stephanie Graveson, brought science and international cultural activities to the elementary and intermediate schools.

• The ninth annual fund-raising luncheon held in April inspired the community by its luncheon theme, “In Times of Crisis, Expand Not Contract,” and benefited the Ed Center with a 43 percent increase in sponsorships.

• The First Aid/CPR classes experienced an increased demand resulting in two to three classes being held per month.

• The Ed Center continued to partner with the Department of Human Services, the Colorado Workforce/Training Advantage, and the United Way.