Literacy programs merging

Liliana Castillo

The Curry County Literacy Council is being absorbed by the Adult Basic Education program at Clovis Community College.

The New Mexico Coalition for Literacy’s budget was cut 57 percent by the Legislature. That means the coalition will be providing limited funding to each of the 26 literacy councils in the state. By combining the two programs, CCC will be able to continue providing literacy help through ABE.

The two programs have worked in tandem since the council was created in 2004, Council Director Mona Lee Norman-Armstrong said.

The council tutors people in basic literacy, assists with life skills, workplace literacy, pre-GED preparation, and citizenship test preparation, as well as English as a second language tutoring.

The ABE program provides alternative education services such as GED, English as a second language and basic math, reading and language skills classes.

Through the council, volunteers worked one-on-one with adults whose reading and language abilities were below the third grade level. As part of the ABE program, the same adults will be put into a classroom setting and taught by trained educators.

The ABE program has served adults whose reading, language and math skills are at and above a third grade level and will simply begin to include those below the third grade level in June.

“We realized we could be more productive meeting our students needs through the classroom,” Norman-Armstrong said.

Norman-Armstrong, also the director of ABE’s home, the Center for Student Success, said it will cost $250 per student through the ABE program compared to the $600 per student through the literacy council.

The ABE program will continue to use volunteers in the classrooms, Norman-Armstrong said.

Services provided by the ABE are free and textbooks are provided.

Becky Rowley, CCC’s vice president, said she believes the transition will be smooth.

“The ABE program provides most of those services already. This helps us mainstream those services,” Rowley said.

Rowley said the most important thing is that the services are not cut completely from the community.

“We have to do it, is the bottom line, when there are people in the community that need those services” she said. “Even though it falls a little out of our services.”

Rowley also said that the CCLC was housed with the ABE program previously, so keeping the programs together will make it easier for those receiving the services.

By the numbers

Curry County Literacy Council students since established in 2004:

• 2004-2005 — 11

• 2006-2007 — 57

• 2008-2009 — 29

• 2009-2010 — 29