Charlestown Adult Education Program

Stories from students of the Charlestown Adult Education Program housed at Boston Housing Authority's Charlestown Development.

Making a plan, working hard, and striving for success are what the students at the Charlestown Adult Education Program consider the main attributes towards achieving their goals. The Adult Education Program is located in Boston Housing Authority’s Charlestown Development, and currently has about 150 students enrolled.

The program is split up into two sections: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and HiSet Learning. The ESL section of the program is made up of different levels of English classes in which the students progress through as they improve. The HiSet Learning section of the program prepares students for the state HiSet exam, which, if passed, provides high school equivalent credentials. The HiSet exam tests students’ knowledge in five different academic areas: Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. 

Each student enters the program with their own ambitions, but as a team they work to accomplish all of their goals. Here are some of their stories:

Filipe- ESOL


Filipe’s main goal is to improve his English so that he can study in the U.S. and eventually receive his MBA. He moved here from Chile about seven months ago, has been part of the Charlestown Adult Education Program since February of this year, and feels as though his English has already significantly improved. He likes everything about the program, but his favorite part is that it is like family, because everyone is always helping each other out. He is currently learning grammar and vocabulary, and enjoys practicing and improving. He is very strong in mathematics, and when he is not doing his own work in ESL, he is volunteering to help others in their work. He looks forward to his future and is excited to be a part of the business world.

 Shynida- HiSet

Shynidas favorite part of the HiSet program is that you can always look to another classmate or teacher for help if you need it. She enjoys the one-on-one time that the students are able to receive, because she believes that it is extremely helpful to everyone. Shynida has passed all four sections of her HiSet exam except for Mathematics. She is currently focusing and studying so that she can pass that section and graduate in June. Her ultimate goal is to attend Empire Beauty School and become a hairdresser. She is very excited to see where the next step takes her.

No Name –ESOL

This student, who wishes not to be named, is in the second level of the ESL program. She moved from Somalia in 2009, and being at the Charlestown Adult Education Program is her first time ever attending a school. She started learning English in 2013 and realized how important it was to her, so continued to practice and improve. When she got to the program, she started by learning her alphabet, which at the time was difficult, but now says that the ABCs are very simple to her. Learning was very tricky for her at first but now she is at a level of speaking and writing in paragraphs. She says that watching television shows in English, her favorite being the Disney Channel with her children, is a great way to learn and improve. Her goal is to get better at English so that she can better communicate in this country and figure out what her next step is.

Lili- ESOL

Lili moved from China in 1991, where she practiced nursing. She has been part of the Charlestown Adult Education Program for about one and a half years and feels that her English has already improved a great deal. She is currently enrolled in two English classes, which are helping her improve her speaking and writing skills. Being in this country and knowing English is very important to her. Her goal is to be fluent in English so that working will be less difficult. Lili is a big fan of homework, because she loves the practice.

 John- HiSet Teacher

John is one of the teachers in the HiSet Learning section of the program. He teaches the Reading, Writing, Science, and Social Studies classes. One of his favorite thing to teach is essay writing, because the students are usually intimidated by the thought until he shows them how simple it can be.

In his experience, he believes that focusing on one specific subject each day of the week is more effective than splitting the days up. After being enrolled, the students take a placement test and the teachers assess where they are academically and what subjects they need more work on. The students who do well on the test, usually the younger students that are recently out of school, are able to join the Fast Tracked program, which is just a 9 week long preparation for the HiSet Exam. The rest of the students usually use a whole school year to get prepared. John enjoys watching the students learn and succeed. He recognizes that students are sometimes stronger in one subject than another, so he believes that switching classes based on your own specific needs is the best way to engage in the program.  John enjoys everyday of teaching because he is able to see the progression of each student and help them along the way.

Lori D'Alleva- Director of Adult Education

The Charlestown Adult Education Program is run by Lori D'Alleva, a woman who is very passionate about the work that the program does with its students. She loves “watching each student blossom and improve in academics, but also in confidence” and looks forward to going into work every day. She eagerly awaits seeing the next round of students that will follow the path to success that this program brings. She hopes that more people can see what a difference this program can make, and encourages everyone to explore the different opportunities that this can bring them.

The program, along with the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and HiSet Learning classes, offers computer classes, an open computer lab, pronunciation and conversation classes, one-on-one tutoring, career counseling, literacy classes, child care, work placement, and assistance with higher education plans.

The high success rate of this program shows how effective the program is. Enrollment for the fall will begin in July of this year. The graduation for the HiSet students will be held on June 16, and as of now 25 students are expected to be graduating. We wish them all luck!


| 5/25/2016 3:56:43 PM | 0 comments


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