Patti RasmussenThe SignalPauline HarteRichard RiouxTim WhyteLeon Worden

Adult education: A 'golden' opportunity

Patti Rasmussen · September 13, 1997

My husband, Charlie, is a great guy and pretty darned smart. He can fix just about anything that breaks around the house ("No need to buy a new one when we can just fix this one!"). When it comes to helping the boys with any and all math homework, it waits 'til Dad gets home.

My husband can do just about anything but turn on a computer. Doesn't like them, doesn't understand them, but knows that in 1997 computers are essential pieces of equipment, whether for school or work. According to Dr. Gary Wexler of the William S. Hart High School District, that makes Charlie a perfect candidate for Golden Oak Adult School.

Golden Oak Adult School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It was designed to meet the needs of adults who are pursuing their high school diplomas, would like to learn English, become citizens or just want to expand their hobbies and learn new concepts.

The popularity of adult education classes has grown over the years. Approximately 3,000 individuals took advantage of the school last year. Although the main office is located near Placerita Junior High in Newhall, Golden Oak classrooms are spread throughout the valley and are not limited to high school and junior high school campuses. The Senior Center, city parks and the Valencia Industrial Center have classes on a regular basis.

There are two basic areas of adult education. Community Education classes cover business, health and fitness, language arts, home arts, trades and industry, and computers. The other segment is Adult Basic Education. These classes cover citizenship, English as a Second Language, high school diploma and GED (General Education Development) requirements. The state funds these classes, while the community service classes require a fee.

One company in Valencia that has taken advantage of the classes is Acoustic Authority. Mr. Tim Norris, production manager, reports that approximately 107 employees tested and enrolled in English as a Second Language. At the same time, Acoustic Authority has twelve to fourteen members of the management team learning conversational Spanish. These programs started in the spring, and Norris reports that employees are anxiously awaiting the new semester.

The convenience of Golden Oak was an asset to Acoustic Authority because instruction was held at the company's site in the Industrial Center. While the state covered the cost of English as a Second Language, Acoustic Authority picked up the cost of the management team's conversational Spanish instructor and materials. The instructor had an objective in mind while teaching the class but managed to tailor it to include technical terms used in the industry. Norris said the results have been tremendous and finds himself already putting his new knowledge of Spanish to use at work.

The mission of the Golden Oak Adult School program is to provide a nurturing environment that enables students to achieve their fullest potential while developing both a strong sense of community and a love of lifelong learning. It's a good goal and one that seems to be working as the popularity of these classes grows stronger every year.

If you would like to learn a new language, the art of clay pottery, calligraphy, photo albums, first aid or, as in my husband's case, how to surf the 'Net, be sure to give Golden Oak Adult School a call at 253-0583. Many classes start next week, and the fee-based classes are relatively inexpensive. It's a great way to catch up with the times.

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And speaking of catching up with the times, the City of Santa Clarita's parks and community services departments and the Arts Alliance have engaged consultant David Plettner to conduct the first phase of a cultural arts plan. They invite you to meet with him, discuss your thoughts about arts needs, and learn about the cultural planning process. This meeting is open to everyone with an interest in the arts in Santa Clarita -- and aren't we all?

The Community Arts public Meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Valencia Glen Park. If you need more information, please call Sean Morgan, Cultural Arts Coordinator at 255-4910.

There are a lot of needs. Make sure the City hears from you.

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Patti Rasmussen's commentaries appear in The Signal on Saturdays.

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