FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- California-based nonprofit dropout recovery program Learn4Life celebrates the inaugural graduating class of its Mobile Learning Center. The classroom on wheels provides a free high school diploma program to students in the rural communities of Fresno County.
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The Mobile Learning Center (MLC) travels throughout agricultural areas in central California, allowing students to benefit from Learn4Life's free high school diploma program that offers flexibility with one-on-one attention and personalized lessons. Since launching at the end of 2015, nearly 40 students have enrolled in the MLC. Its first graduating class of 11 students recently received their high school diplomas.
The MLC visits the cities of San Joaquin and Selma three times a week so students can meet with supervising teachers to review their personalized lessons, get help with assignments and complete tests. Students have the option to complete their assignments at home or at the MLC with the help of a free tutor.
Like many agricultural communities across the country, educational access is challenged in San Joaquin, with only one high school and one continuation school in town. In a population of 4,000, fewer than 21 percent of San Joaquin residents have a high school diploma. One-third of students in the U.S. do not have access to the internet at home.1 In San Joaquin, that number climbs to an even higher percentage. Due to the limited access to jobs and education, many students drop out of school to work in the farm fields to help support their families.
"The Mobile Learning Center is a critical need for many of our students in California's Central Valley," said Rafael Aguilar, MLC principal. "Many students aren't able to travel 25 miles or more one way to school each day, so truancy and dropping out are a natural result of this lack of access to education."
Tweet This: A @Learn4Life traveling classroom is critical for some students in California's Central Valley.
One student named Valarie Haro is a teenage mother of two who struggled to support her family while attending high school. She recently graduated because she was able to complete high school credits at the MLC, and is now pursuing a nursing certificate.
"With two kids there is no way I could go to school for eight hours a day, five days a week so I thought my only option was going to be working in the fields alongside my family," said Haro, Learn4Life graduate.
The average Learn4Life student enrolls between 17 and 18 years of age, but with only enough credits to be considered a freshman. In the City of San Joaquin, the average 17-year-old reads at a fourth-grade reading level. Most Learn4Life students have washed out of traditional high school because of the many obstacles they commonly deal with, such as teen pregnancy, homelessness, no parents and/or the need to work.
Learn4Life's mission is to re-engage dropouts. It does this uniquely by offering a high school diploma program that models a university education. This model allows any student in any phase of life to have an opportunity at earning a high school diploma. Learn4Life operates under California's Alternative Schools Accountability Model program (ASAM) along with over 1,000 other district, county and juvenile programs designed to offer credit recovery to the most disadvantaged students in the state.
Learn4Life plans to add a second traveling classroom later this year to address geographically displaced students throughout the Central Valley.
Founded in 2001, Learn4Life is a nonprofit workforce innovation partner that offers a free high school diploma program and job skills training primarily for at-risk students. Through its workforce innovation partnerships, it makes sure students are prepared for a future beyond high school with job skills training and professional development courses. www.learn4life.com
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