metro south messenger - Metro South Adult Basic Education

Lots of work goes on behind
the scenes at any school, and
Metro South is no exception.
Bloomington Public Schools
has implemented a three
component leadership and
communication framework
that allows for information
flow across the district. The
three components are
Instruction, Management and
Learning Supports.
It can be easy to get caught up
in dealing with the many
individual student and staff
issues that come up during the
day when you work in a school.
Learning supports is structured
to help us step back and
identify through data what the
underlying themes are both
within our buildings and across
the district so that we can
address problems in the most
efficient way. This allows us to
have fewer individual issues
and more energy to deal with
them when they do come up.
Learning Supports focuses on
and this allows us to learn what is
or isn’t working across the school
When the Learning Supports
leads identify themes that
encompass all of our schools, a
district wide workgroup is created
to address those issues.
identifying and addressing
barriers to teaching and
learning. Marylynn
Dvorak and Kristen
Christopherson (pictured
above) are the Learning
Supports Leads for Metro
South ABE. They lead team
meetings at our school and
meet at the district level with
Learning Supports leads
from other Bloomington
schools to report on barriers
we have identified and share
what we are doing to address
them. Marylynn says,
“Sometimes other schools are
dealing with similar barriers
Students from Devin’s
M/W evening class
attendance during
term 2. Left to right,
Graciela Mosso
Tapia, Luz Araujo,
Oscar Umana, and
Leoncio Cortes
Last year Metro South’s Learning
Supports team focused on student
transportation which is a barrier
to learning for many of our
students. “This year the team
decided to identify and address
barriers to teaching. We identified
a need for more technology and as
a result added 6 computer stations
to our main lab allowing teachers
to have a full class of 30 students
all working on computers at the
same time,” says Kristen. We have
also worked on simplifying how
teachers can get the supplies they
A big thanks to Marylynn and
Kristen for their leadership of our
Learning Supports team!
What’s Inside:
Our Collaborative Sites
Hung Phung
Under 21
Learning Exchange &
Metro South Volunteers
Employment Navigator
Skills Tutor
Our Collaborative Sites
Metro South has many great partners in all four cities we
serve. In Richfield, Centennial Elementary, Assumption
Church, and MIRA give us space for our tutors to work
with students. Edina Community Center and Eden
Prairie Senior Center each give us room in their buildings
for classes twice a week.
Students who are unable to come to classes here at our
main Bloomington campus have the opportunity to get
English as a Second Language help at these sites. “These
classes serve as a bridge to regular Metro South classes,”
says Gina Carpenter (pictured in the top left photo), who
coordinates our collaborative sites. Terri Blackburn,
Metro South Outreach Worker, works closely with Gina
to keep these sites staffed and running smoothly.
A few photos from our Richfield collaborative sites. Top left:
Gina Carpenter with a student at our Centennial Elementary
site. Top right: Maribel Escobar, coordinator of the MIRA
program at Central. Bottom: Volunteers and students at
LaMision Latino Resource Center at Assumption Church.
Volunteers complete a Tutor Training at the Minnesota
Literacy Council before becoming tutors and usually work
with a small group at a particular English level. Each site
also provides support through volunteers who help with
intake and testing of new students, coordination of
schedules, and communication with Metro South.
GED Testing Cost Reduced!
by Craig Anderson
At the beginning of 2014, the new GED test began. There are four tests, and students were being charged $30
per test, for a total of $120.
The Minnesota Department of Education is currently allowing all test takers to obtain a $10.00 discount off
the cost of each GED® sub-test. The discount can be used to reduce the cost of a full battery by a total of $40.
This discount is automatic for all tests in Minnesota, and should continue into June of 2015.
In addition, there is another $10.00 discount per test available for those working with an ABE program such
as Metro South. This discount may be ending very soon. With this second discount, a full battery of GED
tests is now just $40.
A second great benefit to those working with Metro South is free practice tests. The official GED Ready
practice tests are available online to anyone for a fee of $6 per sub-test, which is $24 total for taking all 4
subject area tests. Metro South has plenty of vouchers available to allow our students to take them for free.
These tests are great practice, and can guide students to specific topics to study.
All these discounts add up to now being a great time to take the GED tests.
Adult Diploma
Hung Phung - Metro South’s New Adult Diploma Counselor
by Mary Jo Bayliss
Hung Phung, Metro South’s
Adult Diploma Counselor, was
born in south central Vietnam in
the city of Quy Nhon. His father
was enlisted as an Army Ranger
for the Vietnamese. Hung’s family
traveled frequently when he was
young. He has five brothers and
one sister.
At the age of 6, Hung remembers
that he and his family were forced
to hide many times in a tunnel
they dug below their home in
Pleiku. Both Vietnam (and its
allies) and the Communist Viet
Cong flew missions over the area
and Hung learned to distinguish
the sounds of the gunshots from
each side so he knew if it was an
enemy attack or their own troops.
In 1970, when Hung was 8 years
old, his father was discharged
from the Rangers and his family
moved to Nha Trang. Hung
describes this area of Vietnam as
very beautiful and peaceful.
Mountains and jungles surround
the city on three sides so it is well
The war ended in 1975 when
Hung was in 6th grade. He had to
go to a much smaller school with
less equipment and opportunity.
Students were required to do
manual labor in the afternoons.
The history they were taught was
largely incorrect as Hung found
out later. Of that time Hung says,
“I had been brainwashed for many
years. They tried to pass it on to
the students.”
When Hung was 14 or 15 years
old, he took his older brother’s
place doing required manual labor
for the government. It was very
difficult work and most of the
workers were much older than
In June 1981 Hung left Vietnam
after 18-20 attempts to leave the
country. Vietnam and Cambodia
were engaged in a war at that time
and many men who went to war
in Cambodia did not return.
Hung’s mother felt the only way
for Hung to survive was to escape.
The journey out of Vietnam was
extremely dangerous and difficult.
His older brother and 10 other
people were told they were being
taken to a larger boat to complete
their journey. They soon found
out this was untrue and that the
small boat they were in was meant
to carry them the entire distance.
The captain and mechanic along
with several passengers soon
became very seasick and only 5
people remained to bail out water
(coming into the boat), steer, and
try to keep the others alive. The
engine broke down on the third
day and they tried to make sails. It
was monsoon season so the wind
kept them moving. From
Hung in 2004
day 4 to day 10, they lived in
constant fear. They could not
steer the boat so just let the wind
take them. They were very, very
hungry and only had rotten rice
to eat. They tried to signal other
boats and even helicopters that
went over but no one stopped.
On the 10th day, Hung saw lights
in the distance but thought they
had floated back to Vietnam.
After floating for another day, the
small boat and all 12 passengers
landed in the Philippines. They
were astonished to find out they
had traveled 1,000 miles with no
engine, a leaky boat, and
handmade sails.
In a refugee camp in the
Philippines, Hung went to work
as a para-professional helping
refugees with mental health
problems. Hung enjoyed working
Continued on page 6
U n d e r 21
Career Exploration in Under 21
by Annie Stroup & Melissa Judd
The Metro South Under 21 team is very excited about
the Career Exploration initiative we are piloting this
year. It is a program where interested students have
been handpicked to research potential future career
interests for themselves. Our first group is just
finishing up and we are gearing up for our second
round. Group one included 13 students. The “class”
consists of three phases. Phase 1 is meeting with Anika
from the Anika Foundation. Anika spent 4 full school
days doing intense work with the students on life skills,
personal branding, and job-readiness and workforce
development. These are all great skills that are essential
to future personal success. They now have a rock solid
foundation to build upon.
Annie Stroup working with an Under 21
student on her Career Plan.
Phase two consisted of college field trips. Students had the option of touring 2-4 local colleges. We visited the
U of MN - Twin Cities, Dunwoody Institute, Hennepin Technical College, and Normandale Community
College. This gave the students the option of seeing a variety of college settings. We had very positive
feedback from the students after each college information session and tour. It was eye opening for students to
see the options that are available to them!
Finally, the third phase concludes with a one-on-one meeting with a counselor. During the one-on-one
meeting, the counselor tries to fine tune a plan for each student. The MCIS website is a terrific resource which
the students are utilizing. They have been doing career interest assessments, setting up portfolios, comparing
occupations, and finding colleges with majors of interest. The goal for each student is to have a clear vision of
their path once they graduate.
We are excited about the journey these students have been on and are looking forward to continuing this
initiative with more students to come.
by Mike Larson
Metro South's daytime ESL program in Eden Prairie has been successfully using Chromebook
computers in the classroom since May of 2014. Their hard work and success has encouraged us
to begin a Chromebook pilot program during the day at our Bloomington site. Thirty-four
Chromebooks will be shared between three high-level ESL classrooms. The goal of the pilot program is to help
us determine the best ways to use the computers in our classrooms. Metro South's Under 21 and Adult
Diploma programs have been using Chromebooks since 2013. We're excited to see how our ESL students and
staff make use of this great new technology. Metro South now has 226 Chromebook computers. Amazing!
Learning Exchange: Skills for the Real World
by Janet Clarke
How to best equip young people to enter the job market is currently a hot topic in education. So what
happens to students with cognitive disabilities in the job market when they leave school at age 18 or leave
Transition programs at age 21? Even with the best school services available, many graduates with disabilities
are still lacking the skills to hold a competitive job. Learners with disabilities often need more skills practice to
become proficient; practice that needs to happen over a longer period of time.
Learning Exchange is looking at its role in supporting learners with cognitive and social disabilities in gaining
‘soft skills’ for the workplace. While our focus has been on supporting adults with developmental disabilities,
we are expanding to reach young adults with learning disabilities and social disabilities, such as those with
Asperger’s Syndrome on the autism spectrum.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, soft skills for the
workplace include: communication skills, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving
and critical thinking, and professionalism. For many young adults with disabilities, the following tasks still
need to be practiced:
Interacting comfortably with new people
Controlling anxiety when entering a new situation
Listening to and following directions
Completing a task in the allotted amount of time
Making choices independently
Taking initiative to formulate and ask questions
Contributing to a discussion on a specific topic
Learning Exchange classes provide a structured and supportive environment for young adults to practice these
skills. Do you have suggestions on specific classes that you would like to see Learning Exchange provide or
know learners who might benefit? Contact Janet at [email protected] or call 952-681-6121 with your
Metro South Volunteers in Reading Lab
Reading Lab at Metro South is a great place for students to spend
time improving their English listening, speaking, reading, and
writing skills. Monday through Thursday students can use the lab
from 12:30pm -2pm and 5:00pm -6:00 pm. Teachers Ruth and
Beth and staff member Barb keep Reading Lab running smoothly.
In addition, over 20 volunteers listen to students read each week,
help with pronunciation, and go over questions students have
Volunteers Judy (left) and Roz (right) work with
students 1-1 in Reading Lab on Thursdays.
During Term 2 Reading Lab was offered to students a bit differently.
We asked new students to spend several sessions with Ruth in room
308 learning how to get the most out of Reading Lab by acquiring some necessary skills. We also moved the
main Reading Lab down to room 310. In term 3 we will continue this format although students can begin
their sessions with Ruth in the second week of the term. We hope to see you there!
February is Entrepreneurial Month!
by Michael Golling, Metro South’s Employment Navigator
Many of you have probably thought about starting your own business. You have a great idea but do not know
where to start. This February Metro South presents its entrepreneurial month to help inform you about some
of the aspects of opening a business. There will be 4 presenters starting the first Monday in February. All the
presentations will be at 12:30 on the second floor. The speakers and dates are as follows:
➡Monday February 2nd Julia Miller from Goodwill Easter Seals will be in room 234 speaking about the
benefits of getting a business degree. Julia is an education counselor at Inver Hills Community College and
deals in working with students to ensure their success.
➡Monday February 9th Yasameen Sajady will present on how to get ready to open a business. Yasameen is one
of the founders of Sisterhood Boutique and has been through the process of opening her own store. She will
be presenting in room 230 at 12:30.
➡Tuesday February 17th in room 234, Jason Sisk a manager at Freehouse will discuss the hiring process and
how to choose a staff that will work well together. Jason has been managing stores for the past 8 years and
deals with the hiring process constantly.
➡Monday February 23rd will focus on how to market your business. The presenter is Asad Aliweyd from the
New American Academy. Asad will be presenting at 12:30 in room 234.
If you have ever thought about opening your own business or are interested in learning more about starting
and running a business come listen to one or all of these speakers.
continued from
page 2
in social
service and
when he came
to the U.S. in
1982 he
earned a Human Relationships
and Social Work double major.
During the Amerasian
Homecoming Act of 1988, Hung
helped the first 100 immigrants
settle in the United States. Hung
then went to Hong Kong to work
for 3 more years with refugees
there. After returning to the
United States, Hung worked for
the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees
developing vocational training for
In 1994 Hung’s mother and 2
younger brothers came to
Minnesota and Hung returned
from Hong Kong to help them
adjust to living in the United
States. Although he had a
Bachelor’s Degree, he could not
find work in his area of expertise.
Hung worked as a janitor until
1995 when Bloomington Public
Schools hired Hung to work as a
student advocate. He decided to
return to school during that time
to earn his Masters in Guidance
Counseling. This was very difficult
to do while working but he
finished in 2001.
Hung has worked at Metro South
as an evening Adult Diploma
Counselor for many years and was
hired last fall to cover the daytime
program as well. Hung lives with
his wife and 2 daughters and
continues to enjoy seeing his
students succeed in their
educational goals. There is a
saying in Vietnam that says,
“When eating the fruit, remember
who planted the tree.”
“That’s my motto for living,”
Hung says, “giving back to the
community because you have been
blessed with so many things.”
Hung Phung with 3 of his Adult Diploma
students working on their portfolios.
Pe n n L a k e L i b r a r y
by Mary Jo Bayliss
Many Metro South students and teachers at our main campus were
visited by two of the librarians from the Penn Lake Library over the last
two weeks. Dawn and Jan (pictured at right) brought books from the
library to show, demonstrated great resources to be found on the
library’s website, and took applications from students who wished to
get a library card. Dawns says, “So far, our Support Staff have
processed 75 new library cards, which is really amazing. It'll be really
nice to welcome students from Metro South Adult Basic Education as
new patrons with the Hennepin County Libraries.”
Who can
sign up?
What will
Term 3
Term 4
Term 5
Mon 2/9
Tues 2/10
Sat 2/14
Thurs 2/12
Tues 4/21
Wed 4/22
Sat 4/25
Tues 4/21
Mon 6/15
Tues 6/16
Sat 6/20
Thurs 6/18
Students in Level 5-ABE for ESL 2 with the ability to work independently on the
computer can take advantage of Skills Tutor.
Students can work on three types of skills.
L Reading Comprehension will help students improve their reading and focuses on
the same skills taught in class that will help them improve their test scores.
L Language Arts helps students with some of the rules of the English language (like
spelling, capitalization, and punctuation) that can help them be better writers.
L Math is available at many different levels for students who are interested in
reviewing or learning something new.
When are
Students can choose an orientation to attend from the 4 available each term. After
the orientation ( see schedule above), students work when they have time, either at
home, at the library, or in the computer labs here at Metro South. Students do not
have to come to a class each week, but they must complete 4 lessons every week.
Students are expected to get their work done independently, but are encouraged to
ask for help when they need it!
Skills Tutor will teach a student something new, then has the student practice that
skill before testing them on it. Students who work on Skills Tutor often see
improvements in their class work and test scores!
Our Amazing Substitute Teachers!
by Carrie Harju, our newest teacher at Metro
South who is substitute teaching for Mary Mornes
in our Adult Diploma Language Arts classes.
Minnesota has been my home, except for a
few years in Phoenix. My father, mother, and
two sisters also live in the Twin Cities area. I
have a four-year-old daughter named Mia
Angel. She keeps me blissfully busy. In my spare time, I
read (I’ve been in a book club with former teacher
colleagues for ten years!), work out, knit, paint, and
I have done a bit of traveling: Brazil, Mexico, Canada,
Hawaii, and all over the United States. England and Italy
are on my wish list.
My Bachelor’s degree in English is from the University of
Minnesota, and I completed their post-secondary program
in English Education. I am short a few Master’s degree
credits and hope to finish it soon, perhaps a thesis on adult
basic education?
For ten years, I was an English teacher at Washburn High
School in Minneapolis. I also taught one semester in
Surprise, Arizona. I’ve taught a variety of courses: American
Literature, World Literature, Creative Writing, and
Freshman Foundation. I advised the school newspaper and
yearbook and taught in the American Studies and
International Studies programs. As part of student and staff
field trips, I visited New York City, Chicago and Yellowstone
National Park (as well as other historical landmarks along
the way).
I am glad to be at Metro South and am excited to expand
my experience through adult basic education!
Greetings ... My name is Dennis Searle. In my
experiences with the Metro South community
I have experienced laughter, thoughtfulness,
appreciation and reflection. I am trained in
the sciences and teaching. My main
educational interests are in biology,
archeology, anthropology and DNA studies. I
also bring experiences in sports (football,
basketball, baseball, soccer), leadership, travel,
spirituality, medicine and classroom learning
in Spanish, as well as, doing my family
Early in my life I felt that I had a world view. I
have been in contact with people of the world.
I played club soccer in college with men from
Ghana, Iran, Germany, and Jamaica. We have
hosted foreign exchange students, both adult
and high school students, from Belgium,
Japan, Uruguay, and China. I have traveled in
Europe, Peru, and Canada.
In a recent class I had a conversation with a
woman from Somalia. I was asked if I knew
another language. I answered yes. But I
qualified my answer. I have never experienced
living in a different country where I had to
learn a new language
and experience a new
I have appreciated
the students writing
and sharing of life
Metro South Adult Basic Education is a consortium
of the school districts of Bloomington, Eden
Prairie, Edina, and Richfield.
We provide Adult ESL, GED, Adult Diploma,
College Prep, and Under 21 Diploma classes in
Bloomington as well as ESL classes at Hennepin
Technical College in Eden Prairie.
For more information about all programs at Metro
South, call 952-681-6170 or visit our website at:
For ESL Registration in
Bloomington call 952-681-6170
Eden Prairie call 612-247-6398
Metro South Adult Basic Education
2575 West 88th Street
Bloomington, MN 55431